Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Penguins win Stanley Cup

SAN JOSE, Calif. — These Penguins rarely did anything the easy way.

They needed a coaching change and series of personnel moves to lift them out of an early season sputter, then had to go on a late surge just to secure a spot in the playoffs.

It seemed only fitting, then, that they had to fight hard to earn the victory that made them champions.

But the Penguins got it done Sunday night, beating the Sharks 3-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final to secure the franchise's fourth championship.

Brian Dumoulin, Kris Letang and Patric Hornqvist scored, Sidney Crosby got assists on each of the first two goals, and rookie goalie Matt Murray made 18 saves for Pittsburgh.

Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, posting 19 points (six goals) in the playoffs and dominating with his play at both ends of the ice.

Mike Sullivan — hired in December after the Penguins, then out of a playoff spot, fired Mike Johnston — became the sixth coach to win the Cup when joining a team mid­season and the second such coach to win one with Pittsburgh. Dan Bylsma replaced fired Michel Therrien in February 2009 and led the Penguins to the Cup.

"It wasn't easy getting here, especially the way things started out," Crosby said. "The first half (of the season) wasn't easy, and I think everyone just stuck together, kept going and found some momentum there in March and continued to keep it going.

"We tried to keep fighting and slowly started to turn things around. Everyone has a part in this. It feels really good to win your last game of the season."

The Penguins — who advanced to the Cup final with a seven-game win over the Lightning in the Eastern Conference final — were in control for almost the entire Cup final. They did not trail until Game 5 at home and responded to a strong push from San Jose in the clincher to avoid a decisive seventh game. Pittsburgh held San Jose to just one shot on goal in the first 19 minutes of the third period to preserve the one-goal lead.

The Penguins sealed it when Crosby blocked a shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic that set up Hornqvist's empty-netter.

Murray tied the NHL record for playoff victories by a rookie goalie with his 15th, pulling him even with Patrick Roy, Ron Hextall and Cam Ward.

Logan Couture scored the lone goal for the Sharks, whose first trip to the final in their 25-year history ended two wins short of a title. Martin Jones made 24 saves and was San Jose's best player in the series.

The Penguins' Cup-winning coaching staff includes two assistants kept on after Johnston's firing: former Lightning coach Rick Tocchet and Jacques Martin, whose NHL coaching career began in 1986 and who won his first Cup.

Penguins1113
Sharks0101

First Period1, Pittsburgh, Dumoulin 2 (Schultz, Kunitz), 8:16 (pp). PenaltiesZubrus, SJ (tripping), 7:50.

Second Period2, San Jose, Couture 10 (Karlsson, Burns), 6:27. 3, Pittsburgh, Letang 3 (Crosby, Sheary), 7:46. PenaltiesNone.

Third Period4, Pittsburgh, Hornqvist 9 (Crosby), 18:58 (en). PenaltiesSheary, Pit (hooking), 5:26; Burns, SJ (slashing), 11:02; Fehr, Pit (high-sticking), 19:50. Shots on GoalPittsburgh 9-11-7—27. San Jose 4-13-2—19. Power-play opportunitiesPittsburgh 1 of 2; San Jose 0 of 2. GoaliesPittsburgh, Murray 14-6 (19 shots-18 saves). San Jose, Jones 14-9 (26-24).

Comments
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch had won nine straight heading into Friday’s game against Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental lea...
Published: 12/16/17
Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

When Lightning wing Ryan Callahan took a nasty spill into the boards Thursday night, it didn't look good.Turns out, it wasn't. Callahan will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper body injury, evaluated after three to four weeks, per GM Steve Yzerma...
Updated: 10 hours ago
When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Center Brayden Point is the Lightning’s calmest player, both on the ice and off, according to Victor Hedman.Point’s soft-spoken nature belies his baby face and 5-foot-10 frame. "I’ve never seen him angry before," Hedman said.That ma...
Published: 12/15/17
Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

The Lightning's 4-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday night still featured the usual post-game music in the dressing room.But there was more of a somber tone with veteran right wing Ryan Callahan's right arm in a sling. Callahan, who got hurt on a na...
Published: 12/15/17
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the dynamic Lightning defenseman. They both were top 10 picks in 2016, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in th...
Published: 12/14/17
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

GLENDALE, Ariz — Nikita Kucherov’s toughest challenge isn’t facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, or Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.It comes in practice against Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top goalie in the leag...
Published: 12/13/17
Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

ST. LOUIS — Tyler Johnson hasn’t played very much wing in his career, primarily sticking to his natural center position. But lately, Johnson has been stellar on the right side.Johnson’s assist in Tuesday’s win over the Blues extended his point streak...
Published: 12/13/17