NASHVILLE: Patric Hornqvist’s late goal followed by an empty-netter from Carl Hagelin lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a thrilling 2-0 Stanley Cup-clinching victory over the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
With the victory, the Penguins clinched the best-of-seven championship 4-2 to win the franchise’s fifth Stanley Cup. They also became the NHL’s first repeat champion since Detroit did it 19 years ago.
Hornqvist scored the game-winning goal with only 95 seconds left when he batted a puck that had bounced off the end boards out of mid air, off the net and off goaltender Pekka Rinne’s back and into the goal.
Hagelin iced the game with 14 seconds left when, with Rinne out of the goal in favor of an extra attacker, he scored into the empty net.
The two late goals followed what had been a very tightly-contest game filled with chances for both teams.
The Penguins caught a huge break early in the second period when the referee lost sight of the puck and mistakenly blew his whistle to stop play moments before Predators forward Colton Sissons poked home a rebound.
The referee thought Penguins goalie Matt Murray had the puck but it had actually trickled just behind him and into the crease where Sissons had what should have been the opening goal.
Sissons had another chance to put his team in front at the midway mark of the period when Pittsburgh got caught on a bad line change but he was denied by Murray on the breakaway chance.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both/Peter Rutherford)