Pittsburgh Penguins Details
For the second straight season, the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisted the Stanley Cup, marking the first time in the salary cap era that a team won back-to-back championships. After firing Mike Johnston part way through the 2015-16 season, Mike Sullivan took over and helped the team improve and win the Stanley Cup Final against the San Jose Sharks. In his first full season behind the bench, Sullivan helped the team continue its run of wonderful play. In 2016-17, the Penguins finished with 111 points in the Metropolitan Division, good enough for 2nd in the division. After an easy first round win against Columbus, Pittsburgh went to seven games with both the Washington Capitals and then the Ottawa Senators in the conference finals. Against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Penguins won 4-2 and solidified a second straight title.
Once again led by captain and future Hall-of-Famer Sidney Crosby, the Penguins put out the NHL’s top offense. Crosby finished the 2016-17 season with 44 goals and 45 assists. His second in command Evgeni Malkin finished the year with 33 goals and 39 assists. Both players will obviously be back in the yellow and black for the 2017-18 season and, with those two on the ice, there is certainly a chance for a three-peat. The fans of PPG Paints Arena will be in for an offensive show without a doubt but the Pens will look to improve on defensive. Pittsburgh was 17th in the league in goals against despite having a goaltending duo of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury is in Vegas now and that means the one-two punch that helped win two Stanley Cups is no more. Murray will still be the starter and he’ll need to have another year like 16-17 when he finished with a 32-10-4 record.