As hockey season comes to a close, the Pittsburgh Penguins deserve a moment of respect for their commendable season and wonderful comeback journey.
They almost completely regenerated the team we all knew and loved, but created an even better group, which was stronger than ever. Coach Mike Sullivan’s decision to recruit the many players from Wilkes-Barre crew, proved to be very smart and gave many key players their time to shine and contribute to the team’s success as a whole.
The 2015-16 season has had many highlights, including: a stick in Capital’s player Jay Beagle’s helmet; Sidney Crosby unintentionally falling into San Jose’s bench; many (many) overtime goals; and, of course, winning the Stanley Cup.
Here are a few of the team’s best moments of the 2015-16 season.
Oct. 10, 2015: Phil Kessel’s first goal as a Pittsburgh Penguin
After being traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kessel did not wait a second to score his first goal against the Arizona Coyotes. The Penguins can accredited numerous, crucial goals to this player, this was just the first of many. He has become a key player on all of the plays as a forward and has earned his place as one-third of the noble HBK (Hagelin-Bonino-Kessel) line.
Dec. 18, 2016: Conor Sheary and Trevor Daley’s First Game as Pittsburgh Penguins
Although this particular game did not end in victory, the rookie and former Chicago Blackhawk's defenseman made their presences known. Their first game as Pittsburgh Penguins, will go down in history as they have become two crucial elements to the Penguin's lineup.
Dec. 21, 2015: Sullivan’s first win as the official NHL head coach for the Penguins
After a number of losses for the Pittsburgh Penguins during their mid-season slump with Sullivan, the team managed to pull together a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The game featured rookie goalie Matt Murray, as well as, two goals each for both Evgeni Malkin and Kessel.
April 2, 2016: Matt Murray’s first shutout as NHL goalie, clinches playoff spot against New York Islanders
Murray's first ever shutout gave confidence to Sullivan, his team, and the fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Wilkes-Barre call-up became a solid and trustworthy goalie for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the regular and playoff season.
May 10, 2016: Nick Bonino’s Game 6 OT goal against the Capitals
The great chant BONINO! BONINO! BONINO! is heard as he helped the Penguins in OT to defeat the Caps to go to the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay. If Pittsburgh didn't know him, they now know him as lucky number 13.
May 26, 2016: Bryan Rust’s two-goal game against the Tampa Bay Lightning
Another rookie for the Penguins continue to score goals and push the puck to the offensive zone. Lightning couldn't strike Rust.
June 1, 2016: Sheary’s OT game-winner from Sidney Crosby
The coveted veteran and the talented rookie came together to make magic and to pull-off an OT win against the Sharks in the Stanley Cup Final. Crosby makes a Shark a turnstile, passes to Sheary and Sheary scores on goalie Martin Jones.
June 12, 2016: The Pittsburgh Penguins WIN the Stanley Cup 3-1
Need I say more?
Throughout the entire season the Penguins have given their fans a show and a journey to follow. Through thick and thin they have mastered their unique playing style and have developed strong chemistry.
Without the chemistry and work ethic from the veterans and the rookies, the team would not have achieved what they have achieved this season. They all deserve the warrior helmet this time.