After an incredible postseason, we finally now have our Stanley Cup champions!
After a mediocre start in the first two months of the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins had realized that they were out of playoff position. They were ranked tenth in the Eastern Conference standings during that time, and as a result, on December 12, 2015, they fired head coach Mike Johnston and promoted Mike Sullivan to head coach. The Penguins were not even predicted to make the playoffs at that point in time, but they did something that only very few teams done before in NHL history. They would eventually finish second in the Metropolitan Division and would face the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.
After losing in 5 games to the Rangers in the first round in 2015, they would avenge that series loss by defeating the Rangers in 5 games. The Penguins then faced the top-seeded Washington Capitals in the second round. Despite losing their first game against the Capitals in overtime, the Penguins would eliminate them in six games. In the third round of the playoffs, the Penguins would face the Tampa Bay Lightning, who defeated the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015; both teams traded back-and-forth wins in the first six games to force a seventh game in Pittsburgh. In that game, Bryan Rust scored two of the game's three goals in a 2-1 Penguins victory to send them to the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals.
In the championship series, the Penguins won the first two games at home before taking a 1-goal lead into the third period of Game 3 in San Jose. However, Joel Ward tied the game in the third period and the Sharks would win that game in overtime. The Penguins would take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a win in Game 4, and had a chance to win the series at home in Pittsburgh in Game 5. San Jose, however, realized that the Sharks would have to win the next three games to win a title, and they extended the series with a 4-2 win in Pittsburgh, sending the series back to San Jose for Game 6. The Penguins then defeated the Sharks 3-1 in Game 6 in San Jose to win their fourth Stanley Cup title (in fact, they won all 4 of their titles on the road).
Sidney Crosby, who scored 6 goals and had 13 assists during the postseason, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs. The most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Finals alone, however, went to Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, who posted a higher save percentage than Penguins goaltender Matt Murray during the series. Despite Jones having a higher save percentage, the Sharks did not score enough goals to force a seventh game.
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