It seems like the perfect Hollywood ending: Going out as a champion.
It’s not in the script for every professional athlete, but it certainly could be for Matt Cullen.
Cullen and the Pittsburgh Penguins are one win away from another Stanley Cup championship, which would make them the first NHL team to accomplish the feat in the salary cap era.
That speaks to the difficulty of winning the Stanley Cup. Cullen, in his second year with the Penguins, is 40 years old and this may be his last chance at another championship ring — a fact he acknowledged before this series got underway.
Based on a recent conversation with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he may just call it a career after this series.
“It’s pretty likely that this will be the end, and if it is, I’d love it to be holding that sucker again,” he said, adding he will still take time this offseason to make a decision.
Cullen is already a two-time Stanley Cup winner, with his first championship coming as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. He had 18 points during that run.
This year, the Penguins have struggled through a host of injuries, yet they’ve managed to outlast the Capitals in the second round and the Senators in the third round, both in seven games. Cullen has averaged a little more than 14 minutes per game, including being utilized on the penalty kill, while adding two goals and nine points.
The next challenge for Cullen and the Penguins will be to win in Nashville.
This series has been dominated by the home team, which has gone 5-0 following Pittsburgh’s blowout victory Thursday.
Game 6 goes Sunday in Nashville.