The Pittsburgh Penguins have been named the 2015-16 Stanley Cup champions following a match against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Arena which was played with nothing but heart and effort from start to end behind a stellar effort from goalie Matt Murray.
Looking towards the game's dying minutes, Patric Hornqvist scored the empty-netter with just 62 seconds left to go after Martin Jones was removed from the crease as it became fairly obvious that a comeback would not be enough, resulting in the club's fourth title in franchise history.
Sidney Crosby, who was handed the Conn Smythe trophy following a fantastic performance, was first to hoist the cup as it was immediately passed onwards to him from a past legend in Mario Lemieux.
How did things get started?
It did not take long for the game to get going as Brian Dumoulin opened the scoring just 37 seconds into the first period which stood as the lone point heading late into the second period when Kris Letang followed it up by one of his own.
Just minutes later, Logan Couture put the Sharks on the scoreboard as he banked one in behind the 22-year-old phenom who has been outstanding since having come up for the first time back in December as the replacement for Marc Andre-Fleury.
A walk down memory lane
This would end up being quite the memorable day as they last clinched the cup seven years to the day which would be a long while back in 2009.
What was the biggest impact on their success?
After head coach Mike Johnston was fired in Mid-December, the Penguins knew something had to be done as the team was headed towards the bottom of the standings. Mike Sullivan really made quite the difference as the main objective was to turn towards scoring as puck control was a skill that was constantly practiced upon his arrival.
Kessel on the right path in Pittsburgh
After what some Canadians would call the worst performance they may ever see at the Air Canada Centre, it was only a matter of time before Phil Kessel was ultimately let go of as he was traded to the Penguins in June of 2015 which sent draft picks the other way as the exchange piece of the six-player deal.
Taking a look at his performance throughout the playoffs, the numbers he put up were rather unpredictable given the year-old winger scored ten goals to go alongside 22 points which led the team en route to their victory.
After the game, Kessel spoke with Scott Oake of Hockey Night In Canada where he said, "It's a long year, but it's the best year I ever had."
Was this an important move for both ends?
As celebrations were going on amongst one another in the club house, general manager Jim Crawford had a chance to speak about the year it has been where he reflected upon several moves including the addition of Kessel. While on this subject he acknowledged the fact of which his character was a big part of who he was both on and off the ice as well as his demeanor towards the local media and fan base around him. While looking at his skills, Rutherford described Kessel as his No. 1 target as the team was looking to add on an underrated veteran who's speed and scoring ability were focused on as key factors towards bringing him in for what could not have ended up being any better of a first season in a Penguins uniform.