It was the second period and Logan Couture and the San Jose Sharks had just tied the game at 1-1. The Sharks were bringing it, and we all had fears and visions of a Game 7 playing out in the Stanley Cup Final.
Then Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby went off. They dominated a shift and they took the lead.
Here's a breakdown of what Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, and the Penguins did to score the goal that won them the Cup.
The play started off of a long offensive cycle where the Penguins maintained a decent about of zone time. I'm not going to cover the whole thing, because it would take forever. Eventually, the Sharks work on clearing the puck (and fail), and it comes to the half-wall where Sidney Crosby makes a play to keep the puck deep.
After pinballing around off of a few Penguins and Sharks, the puck comes to Conor Sheary, who looks to make the play to Kris Letang out at the point.
Here is one of Letang's pivotal decisions. When it appears that he is loading up for a shot, he realizes that his shooting lanes aren't very open. He pivots hard to the inside, turning to the outside, and shakes Joe Pavelski from his trail.
He then heads up the ice towards the corner.
He then immediately starts looking to pass the puck. Again, he has the presence of mind to realize the passing lanes aren't there.
He then moves behind the net, still weighing his options of what he wants to do with the puck.
As he moves towards the net, he puts the puck on net, where there is a gigantic cluster of Penguins and Sharks, including Patric Hornqvist, Sidney Crosby, Roman Polak, and Joe Thornton. It almost feels like a "throw the puck towards the chaos, and see what the hell happens."
As the puck starts to come out of this scrum, Letang circles the net to turn back towards the play.
The puck comes loose to Sidney Crosby and you can feel the play building. Crosby alone with the puck behind the net is a death sentence. To add insult to injury, Martin Jones had not a clue what was about t happen to him.
Bold strategy, Martin Jones. Let's see how this one works out for you.
Crosby feeds Letang with a fantastic pass, and Letang makes no hesitation to put it on net. He gets a favorable bounce off of Jones' blocker, and we've got a 2-1 game, just over one minute after the Sharks had tied the game.
What a blowback.
And more than anything, what a remarkable shift for Kris Letang. These are the types of shifts we remember for decades to come.
Holy Jesus, Letang with the greatest shift by a Pens defenseman since Orpik's "The Shift." Bar none— Rock Strongo (@GoodOpinionMan) June 13, 2016
Several plays using his skating skill, several plays that were so smart and so patient. A little bit of luck. If that's not a formula for success, I don't know what is.
The Penguins held onto this 2-1 lead through the remainder of the second period. And then they suffocated the life out of and trapped the hell out of the Sharks in the ensuing third period and they took home Lord Stanley's Cup shortly afterwards.
Regardless of how it all came together, Kris Letang's name will be etched in the history books, as a player who has scored a Stanley Cup winning goal. How cool.