Monday, November 27, 2006
After a couple weeks of brainstorming and extensive research, we are proud to bring you our top 10 goals in Penguins history.
And let's hope Dan Kesa's goal against the Maple Leafs in 99 gets a vote in the comments section.
We tried to go into insane detail for these. Don't ask me how I've retained all of the details over the years; I just have.
We've hooked you up with links to videos and audio clips.
So here we go...
Our numbers 1, 2, and 3 are set in stone, but it's impossible to sit here and try to rank the rest.
11. 1995 Stanley Cup Finals: Chicago Blackhawks - Game 7
Luc Robitaille Sends The Game Into Sudden Death Overtime
The biggest highlight of this game, besides a helicopter crashing onto the ice, was the story of Penguin goaltender Brad Tolliver. He was questionable coming into the game because he had the flu. He had to leave the game in the third period but came back a little while later to an immense roar from the crowd. He later made a save on a breakaway and proceeded to punch a Blackhawks player. He was given a game misconduct, and the Pens seemingly had no chance.
With ten seconds remaining and the Pens down by one, Luc Robitaille is sprung on a breakaway. He releases the puck with 0.3 seconds left, and it goes in just before the buzzer.
After a few minutes of overtime play, the game was suspended due to a terrorist threat. A victory in this game would have assured the Pens place as the dominant team in the 90's.
10. 1991 Stanley Cup Finals: Minnesota North Stars - Game 2
Mario Lemieux Goes Coast-to-Coast
Video: (1:45 mark) Look at Lemieux turn on the jets at his own blue line. Sickening speed.
Ron Francis Saves The Penguins
The Rangers came to Pittsburgh and won Game 3 (which was also the last game the Pens would lose in the playoffs that year).
I remember watching Game 4 and thinking that the 1992 Penguins just didn't have enough to beat the Rangers. The Penguins were down 4-2 with 15 minutes left in regulation when they took a 5-minute major penalty. The vaunted Rangers powerplay took the ice, and everyone knew they were going to score and almost assuredly take a three games to one series lead.
I remember the crowd cheering on the Penguin penalty killers for the entire five minutes and the wave of emotion that swept through the Arena every time we cleared the puck out of the zone. And right after the finals seconds ticked off the penalty, Ron Francis showed up. He blasted a slapshot from the blue line that got past Mike Richter and later scored in overtime to tie the series up at 2.
[ Video ]
8. 1992 Patrick Division Semifinals: Washington Capitals - Game 7
Jaromir Jagr Begins His 1992 Playoff Romp
Audio: Our recap of the moment does not do it justice. Listen to the Pens fans in attendance.
7. 1996 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Washington Capitals - Game 4
Petr Nedved Scores at 2:22 in the Morning
Anyway, the Capitals came into Pittsburgh and won the first two games of the series. Very interesting. The Penguins managed to win Game 3, which brings us to an emotional Game 4.
The highlight of this game could have been a bunch of things. It could've been Lemeiux receiving a game misconduct for slashing Todd Krygier. It could've been Chris Tamer solidifying his spot in Penguins history as a goat for intentionally dislodging the net in the second overtime which led to a Joe Juneau penalty shot.
The real goat turned out to be some guy who threw a beer onto the ice earlier in the game...on the exact spot where the puck bounced off Joe Juneau's stick on said penalty shot.
Ken Wregget's performance in this game is the thing of legends.
The Pens went on to beat the Caps in six, the Rangers in five, losing to Florida in 7.
Video: One of the first videos I looked for when I discovered YouTube.
Mario Lemieux Goes Out In Style
I remember a few things about this game. Dan Marino was in attendance, Petr Nedved scored, and oh yeah, by the way, it was Joe Mullen's last game, too.
We were all standing on our feet during the last three minutes of the game, chanting MARIO MARIO. You can feel it when you check out the video link below.
What I remember most about this game was watching Lemieux on that final shift and suddenly, Ian Moran springs him on a breakaway. Being only 12 years old, and still tiny, I was getting ready to time my jump to see Lemieux's goal. But before I could, my dad sacrifices himself by lifting me up in front of him so I could see the entire breakaway while he maybe saw the footage on the JumboTron. It still gives me chills.
Video: Mario Lemieux Delivers
Jaromir Jagr Forces Game 7 On One Leg
In overtime, Straka works his way into the Devils' zone and dishes a cross-ice pass to Jagr, who one-times it over Brodeur's extended left pad. Unbelievable. The goal catapulted the Pens to New Jersey for Game 7.
The Pens managed only 13 shots in Game 7, but 4 went in. The biggest goal came with about 5 minutes left, and the Pens leading 3-2. Straka put in a Jagr rebound and proceeded to slide all the way to the Penguins bench. Straka always had the best OT-goal celebrations.
NO AUDIO OR VIDEO
4. 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Buffalo Sabres - Game 7
Darius Kasparaitis Owns Hasek
Game 7 was a very timid affair. I remember Johan Hedberg standing on his head to keep the Pens in the game. I can't recall the Pens' first goal, but their second goal was scored by Robert Lang with about 8 minutes left, tying the game at 2. Overtime was next...where the great players step up.
13:01 into the only overtime period, Darius Kasparaitis jumps into the rush, Lang hits him with a pass, and the lights go out on the Sabres' season.
Video: There is nothing better than an away team scoring a playoff OT goal, as is proven with the exclamatory "Mmmeeeyyyaaahhh!!!!" (Pensblog friend Bryan Bell confirmed the spelling.)
Rick Tocchet Delivers
After an Ulf Samuelsson goal, the Islanders scored 3 times (once on a Benoit Hogue slapper from the parking lot). Trailing 3-1 with about 7 minutes left, Ron Francis shows that he has a penchant for sparking comebacks against teams from the Empire State. He scores a goal on a quick tip-in on a nice feed from Larry Murphy.
Later, with about 1:20 left, the Penguins pull Barrasso. Murphy deftly keeps the puck in the zone and sends a floating wrister to the net...a wrister just waiting to be deflected. Ron Francis gets his stick on it, and as it flutters toward goaltender Glenn Healy, Rick Tocchet makes a miraculous play by bring his stick down to redirect Francis' deflection into the net with exactly 1:00 remaining.
Few goals have made the Mellon Arena erupt like that.
The Penguins on the ice for this goal: Lemieux, Francis, Jagr, Mullen, Tocchet, Murphy.
Video: Hate to kill you, but the only footage we have is the entire game highlights.
Mark Recchi Puts The Pens One Step Closer To Lord Stanley
After Uwe Krupp broke my life the year before, the 1990-91 Penguins were the reason I existed. I watched and/or listened to every game as intently as a 6 year-old could. I didn't realize what was happening back then, but now I know that Stanley Cup runs are to be cherished. Looking back, this Recchi goal was huge.
After losing the first two games in Boston, Kevin Stevens came out in the Boston papers and said the Pens would win 4 straight. No one gave the Penguins a chance going into the series, let alone being down two-nil. After the Pens dominated games three and four, the emotional game 5 took place in Bean Town. Barrasso was stellar, and the Pens cruised to a 7-2 win.
Game 6: I don't even think I went to school on the day of this game because I kept throwing up on myself with excitement.
The Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Pens fought back and tied the game at 2 before the third period.
The third period was insane. I might catch some hell for putting Recchi's goal on this list, so I know for a fact that I would be tarred and feathered if I put Gordie Roberts' goal on here. It was early in the third period, and gave the Pens a 3-2 lead. The Arena erupted.
Boston tied it up shortly thereafter...setting the stage.
With not much time left in the game, the aforementioned Gordie Roberts gets the puck just past his own blue line to negate a two-line pass and hits Recchi with a pass off the boards. Recchi flies into the Bruins zone and executes his patented one-legged wrist shot. It gets past goalie Andy Moog.
If you've ever heard Lange's call of this goal, you can tell by his voice how big it was.
Mario Lemieux Does It Again
Towards the end of the first period, Phil Bourque came up with a huge powerplay goal.
Early in the second, Chicago scored another goal to make it 4-1. It wasn't looking good.
Watching the ebb and flow of this game, I doubt anyone expected what happened next...
Paul Stanton directed a shot towards the net that Rick Tocchet deflected past the seemingly invincible Ed Belfour. Less than a minute later, Mario Lemieux performs the behind-the-goal-line, bank-it-off-the-goaltender's-leg goal to make it 4-3. Every person in Pittsburgh believed.
The one thing sometimes lost in talking about this game is Tom Barrasso's performance in the third period, keeping this a one-goal game. He was making saves that he had no right making.
With about 5 minutes left, Jagr scored the biggest goal of his young career. He maneuvered around 4 Blackhawks players before getting a backhand past Ed Belfour. The Arena was going nuts, and no one anywhere expected what we were soon about to witness.
The Penguins had to kill a late penalty, which they did. After the penalty expired, a loose puck at center ice sparked Lemieux racing for the puck against Blackhawks defenseman Steve Smith. Smith, who was out for most of the powerplay, was dead tired and had to take down Lemieux to avoid a breakaway chance, giving the Penguins a powerplay.
Everyone was already thinking about overtime when the Pens and Blackhawks lined up for a faceoff in the Chicago zone. And, of course, everyone in the place was standing...almost knowing something was about to happen.
Ron Francis won the face-off and got it back to Larry Murphy. Murphy gets a quick shot off, Belfour uses his stick and right pad to kick the puck away...right onto Mario Lemieux's tape. Belfour lunges to the make the save, but Lemieux would not be denied.
This goal essentially won the series for the Pens, who went on to sweep the Blackhawks.
Jaromir Jagr Scores Electrifying OT Goal (Video)
1992 Wales Conference Final: Boston Bruins - Game 3
Mario Lemieux Beats Ray Bourque, Adam Oates, and Andy Moog (Video)
1992 Patrick Division Semifinals: Washington Capitals - Game 6
Mario Lemieux Stickhandles In A Port-o-John To Beat Don Beaupre
1992 Stanley Cup Final: Chicago Blackhawks - Game 1
Jaromir Jagr Ties It
2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals: Buffalo Sabres - Game 6
Marty Straka Forces Game 7
2000 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Washington Capitals - Game 2
Jagr Wins It in Overtime On Sick Wrister
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