The Hockey News - - Thn Awards -

Though Nashville gave them all they could han­dle, the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins emerged vic­to­ri­ous in the Stan­ley Cup fi­nal with a six-game con­quest over the Preda­tors.

The Pen­guins have won back-to-back ti­tles, some­thing that had never been done in the NHL’s salary cap era. The fact GM Jim Ruther­ford was able to build a win­ner around high-priced stars Sid­ney Crosby and Ev­geni Malkin with­out mak­ing qual­ity-killing sac­ri­fices speaks to the veteran hockey man’s ex­cel­lence, though the players them­selves de­serve full marks, too. Con­sider that this was a Pitts­burgh squad that played its en­tire post-sea­son with­out No. 1 de­fense­man Kris Le­tang, lost all the way back in Fe­bru­ary to a neck in­jury.

Marc-An­dre Fleury also brought hero­ics, tak­ing over for start­ing net­min­der Matt Mur­ray in Game 1 of the play­offs against Colum­bus when Mur­ray got hurt dur­ing warmups. Fleury then went on to have his best post-sea­son in years be­fore Mur­ray re­turned mid­way through Round 3 to seal the deal.

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