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The Pittsburgh Penguins came into Game 6 with a second straight chance to finish off the San Jose Sharks, and 60 minutes later, they were raising Lord Stanley’s Cup as the 2016 NHL champions.
Here's who stood out to us on Sunday:
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
He failed to score a single goal in the six-game Final, but there was no more important player for the Penguins than Crosby—witness his Conn Smythe trophy. This game he just delivered is one that coaches will draw on for a decade to show their players the level of commitment it takes to be a champion. The numbers don't properly capture the subtle nuances of his game, but they give a pretty good account of his dominance: two assists four shots, 10 attempts, a 76% success rate in the faceoff circle (13/17) and four blocks, including one that led to Patric Hornqvist's empty-net insurance goal.
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks
Jones was breathtaking in defeat, denying the Penguins on at least half a dozen Grade-A opportunities while facing down a whopping 19 high-danger scoring chances according to the War On Ice statisticians. He deserved a better fate in this game. His teammates let him down.
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
He may have been snubbed for the Norris Trophy and a spot on Team Canada, but this Stanley Cup ensures Letang's place among the league's top defenders. The 29-year-old played a game-high 29:23 and stared down San Jose's top two lines, but he'll be forever remembered in Pittsburgh for scoring the goal that clinched the fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history.