Crosby, Pens cap awesome year with 2nd straight Stanley Cup

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Last year, the Penguins also clinched the Cup on a Sunday, and the parade was held the following Wednesday. Much will be said about the Penguins' patchwork defense in the playoffs and in the series; however, when your core is Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel, you don't have to worry quite as much about defense.

Like in the past season, the series was finished after the sixth game, but we have to add that the encounter at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville was exciting and thrilling up to its end.

Penguins forward Chris Kunitz (KOO'-nihts) now leads all active players with four career championships. But while Fleury stepped in while Matt Murray was recovering from an injury, it was once again Murray who pushed a team that was routinely outshot and out-chanced over the hump. When he was needed the most, when the finals were at the critical stage, Murray displayed some fantastic performances.

Those numbers aren't direct comparisons, though, because the two played in different eras when the game was played differently.

Here's the most ludicrous thing of all: Murray led Pittsburgh to not one, but two titles as a rookie. After backstopping the Pens to the title last season, he still qualified as a rookie for 2016-17 because of the way the National Hockey League judges rookie status. Then he learned how to win, celebrating a Canada Cup, back-to-back Stanley Cups and Conn Smythe Trophies, a World Cup title and Olympic gold. This playoff year, they didn't have Kris Letang, their only all-star on defence, in the lineup.

"Going up last year with the group of guys to win the first Cup, they came up last year and he wasn't afraid to use them", Donatelli said.

After Guentzel's spectacular start to this season (21 goals in 33 AHL games) and his quick transition out of college previous year, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Clark Donatelli was not surprised to see the University of Nebraska-Omaha alum prove he belonged with Pittsburgh. He is arguably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, player of his generation.

"The sky is the limit when he gets on a line with (Crosby) and they have chemistry". "They traded their first-round pick from the year before, they traded their first-round pick for this year and now they've traded their first-round pick for next year".

All that panic feels like a dream now.

Despite neither Nashville (No. 29) nor Pittsburgh (No. 23) being a Top 20 TV market, the 2017 Stanley Cup Final on NBC/NBCSN averaged 4.762 million viewers, making it the most-watched final on record without an Original Six team (Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York Rangers and Toronto).

However, these will always be Crosby's Penguins.

The Pittsburgh power play is 2 of 22 this series and has scored once in its past 19 chances.

Crosby becomes just the third back-to-back victor of the award, which was first handed out in 1965, after former Penguins captain Mario Lemieux (1991, 1992) and Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent (1974, 1975). It's hard to argue with all that silverware.