By Rachel Jones | Photograph from ©2017 Pittsburgh Penguins

With prophetic signs of upcoming success everywhere, Pittsburgh Penguin fans  awaited the homecoming of Lord Stanley. And in the 66th Playoff series in Penguins history, and the 87th game of the 2017 Playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row, setting off a jubilant celebration across the city and beyond.

And the victory is just as sweet as it was in 2016. Maybe even sweeter, as the team finished its 50th season with a 5th Stanley Cup.

As the players erupted in cheers at the end of Game 6 versus the Nashville Predators, one of the most common words spoken by the awe-struck Stanley Cup hoisters was, “Unbelievable.”

How else can you describe a playoff run that included Captain Sidney Crosby enduring and coming back from a concussion, younger players like forward Jake Guentzel stepping up when needed, and right wing Patric Hornqvist scoring the game-winning, Cup-clinching goal with 1:35 left in the third period.

During WHIRL’s interview with Hornqvist in January 2017, he said, “Obviously, [the 2017 season is] a long road to go through — all of those ups and downs, and it’s a long season — but I feel like we have a great team. We know what we need to do to be successful. I think everybody feels the same way: It’s our Cup. We want to defend it and win it again.”

Mission accomplished.

Pittsburgh Penguins,

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Columbus Blue Jackets

By Jason Solak | Photographs from ©2017 Pittsburgh Penguins

Series 1
4.12.17 – 4.20.17

Game 1 (W, 3-1)

  • After starting goalie Matt Murray was injured in warmups before Game 1,  Marc-André Fleury started in his place.
  • Evgeni Malkin, after missing the last 13 games of the regular season, had two assists in Game 1.
  • After playing 907 regular-season games, Ron Hainsey made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut.

Game 2 (W, 4-1)

  • Fleury made 39 saves.
  • Sidney Crosby scored his 50th Stanley Cup Playoff goal in the first period of Game 2. The Blue Jackets were outshooting the Penguins 8-0 before that.

Game 3 (W, 5-4)

  • Down 3-1 going into the third period, Bryan Rust and Malkin both scored to send the game into overtime.
  • Jake Guentzel scored an overtime goal, his third of the game, giving him a hat-trick and the Penguins a victory. This made Guentzel the first Pittsburgh rookie to score a hat-trick in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the second rookie ever to have a hat-trick that included an overtime goal.

Game 4 (L, 5-4)

  • Guentzel scored a shorthanded goal, while Hainsey scored his first playoff goal.
  • This was just the first time in franchise history that Columbus won a playoff game in regulation time.

Game 5 (W, 5-2)

  • Fleury made 49 saves as the Penguins eliminated the Blue Jackets. In the series, Fleury let up only four goals on home ice against 123 shots.
  • Rust scored twice in the second period
  • A power-play goal by Crosby put the Penguins up 4-2 in the third.
  • Scott Wilson scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal to make it 5-2, the final score of the game.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals

By Jason Solak | Photographs from ©2017 Pittsburgh Penguins

Series 2
4.27.17 – 5.10.17

Game 1 (W, 3-2)

  • Crosby scored twice in the first 1:04 of the second period to make it 2-0.
  • After losing the two-goal lead, Nick Bonino scored in the third, eventually leading the Pens to a 3-2 victory.
  • Fleury made four consecutive saves while scrambling with less than 3:00 left in the game.

Game 2 (W, 6-2)

  • Fleury stopped all 16 shots he faced in the first period.
  • Matt Cullen scored shorthanded to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead 1:15 into the second.
  • Guentzel and Phil Kessel each had two goals and one assist.

Game 3 (L, 3-2)

  • Crosby was injured by a cross-check from former Penguin Matt Niskanen. He left the game 5:24 into the first and did not return.
  • Malkin and Justin Schultz both scored 48 seconds apart to force overtime.

Game 4 (W, 3-2)

  • Crosby did not play due to injury.
  • Patric Hornqvist scored on a breakaway in the first to make it 1-0.
  • Schultz scored a power-play goal in the second period.
  • Fleury made 36 saves.

Game 5 (L, 4-2)

  • Crosby returned after missing two games.
  • The Capitals scored twice in the third period to take a two-goal lead.

Game 6 (L, 5-2)

  • Andre Burakovsky of the Capitals scored twice on the way to a win for Washington.

Game 7 (W, 2-0)

  • Rust and Hornqvist each scored.
  • This marked the Penguins’ sixth consecutive Game 7 win on the road.
  • Fleury made 29 saves in a 2-0 shutout, the ninth playoff shutout of his career.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators

By Jason Solak | Photographs from ©2017 Pittsburgh Penguins

Series 3
5.13.17 – 5.25.17

Game 1 (L, 2-1)

  • While trailing 1-0, Malkin scored with 5:35 remaining in the third to send the game into overtime.
  • Bobby Ryan scored an overtime goal for the Ottawa Senators.
  • Fleury made 33 saves.

Game 2 (W, 1-0)

  • Kessel scored the only goal of the game on his only shot.
  • Fleury made 23 saves for the 10th playoff shutout of his career.
  • Both Rust and Schultz were injured during the game.

Game 3 (L, 5-1)

  • The Senators scored four goals in the first period.
  • Fleury was replaced by Matt Murray, making his 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff debut.

Game 4 (W, 3-2)

  • Olli Maatta scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal.
  • Crosby and Brian Dumoulin each scored to make it 3-0.
  • Murray made 24 saves and got his first win of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game 5 (W, 7-0)

  • The Penguins scored four goals in the first period.
  • Murray had 24 saves and the second Playoff shutout of his career.

Game 6 (L, 2-1)

  • Malkin scored a hard-fought goal to take a 1-0 lead in the second.
  • After being pulled the previous game, Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson made 45 saves.

Game 7 (W, 3-2)

  • Chris Kunitz scored twice, one of which was the double-overtime goal that sent the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive year.
  • This was only the seventh time a Conference Final Game 7 reached overtime.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Nashville Predators

By Jason Solak |Photographs from ©2017 Pittsburgh Penguins

Series 4
5.29.17 – 6.11.17

Game 1 (W, 5-3)

  • Guentzel, who was almost a healthy scratch for the game, scored with only 3:17 left to take a 4-3 lead.
  • The Nashville Predators had come back from being down 3-0 to tie it in the third.
  • Before their fourth goal, the Penguins had gone without a shot for 37 minutes.

Game 2 (W, 4-1)

  • The Penguins scored three goals in a span of 3:18 in the third, with Guentzel scoring two of those goals.
  • Murray made 37 saves.
  • Bonino left the game after blocking a shot by Predator P.K. Subban.

Game 3 (L, 5-1)

  • Guentzel scored to give the Pens an initial 1-0 lead.
  • The Predators scored five unanswered goals, including the game-winner by Frederick Gaudreau.

Game 4 (L, 4-1)

  • Crosby tied the game 1-1 with a breakaway goal.
  • Gaudreau scored his second consecutive game-winning goal for the Predators.

Game 5 (W, 6-0)

  • The Penguins scored three goals in the first period.
  • Murray made 24 saves and got his second shutout of the 2017 Playoffs.
  • Crosby had three assists.

Game 6 (W, 2-0)

  • Murray made 27 saves for his second-consecutive shutout.
  • Hornqvist scored with only 1:35 left in the third period to take a 1-0 lead against his former team.
  • The Penguins, for the second year in a row, won the Stanley Cup.

2017 Stanley Cup Champions

By Maggie McCauley | Photographs from ©2017 Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup

  • The Pittsburgh Penguins are the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups during the salary cap era.
  • The last team to win back-to-back was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.
  • Chris Kunitz is the only active player in the NHL with four Stanley Cups.
  • Mario Lemieux is the only Pittsburgh Penguin to lift the Stanley Cup all five times.
  • Mario Lemieux’s name is now on the cup five times, which is more than Wayne Gretzky’s four-time appearance.
  • Jake Guentzel ties Dino Ciccarelli (1981) and Ville Leino (2010) for most points in a single post-season by a rookie in NHL history (21).
  • Sidney Crosby is the first player to win the Conn Smythe trophy in back-to-back years since Mario Lemieux in 1991 and 1992.
  • Matt Murray becomes the first goalie with a shutout in each of his last two games of the Stanley Cup Final since Terry Sawchuk (1952).
  • Mike Sullivan is the third head coach in NHL history to win back-to-back Stanley Cups in the first two seasons with his team.
  • Sidney Crosby is the first player to win the Stanley Cup and the regular season goal-scoring title in the same season since Wayne Gretzky (1986 and 1987).
  • Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final was in the 66th playoff series in Pittsburgh Penguins’ history and the 87th game of the 2017 Playoffs.
  • Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup Champion again.

2017 Penguins Parade

Photographs by Michael Fornataro

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