The Pittsburgh Penguins capped a six-month sprint with a six-game Stanley Cup-clinching victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday and will celebrate with a spirited parade in the Steel City on Wednesday.
As for the long term, co-owner Mario Lemieux told reporters that he believes many teams will adopt the style of play that enabled the Penguins to secure their fourth title in franchise history.
"We play a fast game," Lemieux said after Pittsburgh posted a 3-1 victory over San Jose on Sunday. "We play with a lot of pressure. Now that we've won with speed, I think you'll see a lot of teams changing the way they play."
Of course, it helps when a club features two-time Hart Trophy winner Sidney Crosby.
Crosby, who was named the Conn Smythe Trophy recipient to boot, overcame a learning curve with Phil Kessel and the duo jelled quite nicely before coach Mike Sullivan paired the former Toronto Maple Leafs star with Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino on the vaunted "HBK Line."
Former Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin picked up where he left off after missing a month because of to an upper-body injury and provided a jolt to the high-octant offense.
"I loved our balance, and that's why I think we had the ability to sustain the pace of play that we were able to play at," Sullivan said. "I thought it was our ultimate competitive advantage on our opponents."
Stud defenseman Kris Letang made a strong case for Conn Smythe consideration and 22-year-old goaltender Matt Murray tied a rookie record with 15 playoff wins.
With Murray's emergence, questions abound about Marc-Andre Fleury, as the franchise netminder was reduced to the role of a spectator -- save for one start against Tampa Bay in the Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.
The 31-year-old Fleury sustained two concussions during the season, the latter of which led to a regular seat on the bench.
"We'll wait and see what happens," Fleury said.
For now, a parade awaits in Pittsburgh.