The 2016 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League (NHL)'s 2015–16 season, and the culmination of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. This was the 123rd year of the Stanley Cup's presentation. The Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks four games to two to win their fourth championship in franchise history (all of them on the road). The Penguins had home ice advantage in the series, being the club with the better regular season record. The series began on May 30, 2016 and concluded on June 12, 2016. This was the first Stanley Cup Final since 2007 to feature a team making their first appearance in the Finals in their club history.
The Eastern Conference team had home-ice advantage in the Final in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 2004 and 2006 Finals.
For the first time since 2011, an Eastern Conference team won the Stanley Cup and that neither the Chicago Blackhawks nor the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup.
This was Pittsburgh's fifth Finals appearance, the first since winning the Cup in 2009, and 25 years after their first Stanley Cup winning season in 1991. Since their win in 2009, the Penguins lost in the Conference Finals in 2013 in four games to the Boston Bruins and were eliminated twice by the New York Rangers in 2014 and 2015.
The Penguins made major trades during the off-season, receiving forwards Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino to improve their offense. Pittsburgh entered the 2015–16 season re-signing defenceman Olli Maatta and forward Bryan Rust. In free agency, the Penguins were able to sign centres Matt Cullen and Eric Fehr. During the season, the Penguins fired their coach Mike Johnston on December 12, 2015 after compiling a 15–10–3 record. Pittsburgh replaced him with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach Mike Sullivan who went 33–16–5. The Penguins made two major trades before the trade deadline, receiving defenceman Trevor Daley and forward Carl Hagelin. After goalie Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion on April 2, the team turned to rookie Matt Murray for the final week of the regular season and throughout the playoffs.
Pittsburgh earned 104 points (48 wins, 26 losses, and eight overtime losses) during the regular season to finish second in the Metropolitan Division. Centre and team captain Sidney Crosby led the club in scoring during the regular season and finished third in the league with 85 points.
In the playoffs, the Penguins eliminated the New York Rangers in five games, after being defeated consecutively by them in 2014 and 2015, defeated the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in six games, and extinguished the defending Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the Conference Final in seven games.
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