Nick Spaling

NHL Royalty Vs. Rowdy Neighbors In Stanley Cup Final

The Pittsburgh Penguins kept getting by even as their star players kept skating off the ice in pain. Even as the targets on their backs as Stanley Cup champions kept getting bigger. Even as Columbus and Washington and Ottawa kept pushing and prodding, poking and pinching.

"Just play," coach Mike Sullivan kept telling his players. Over and over and over again.

So the Penguins did. And the team that found itself uncharacteristically on its heels for long stretches as it fended off the Blue Jackets in the first round, shut down the Capitals in the second and outlasted the blue-collar Senators in the third is back where it was a year ago: heading to the Stanley Cup...