1967/68: More than 30 years after their first team known as the Pirates was forced to fold during The Great Depression the NHL return to Pittsburgh, as the Penguins are one of six new teams added to the league. Playing in the all-expansion Western Division the Penguins make their debut on October 11th at the Civic Arena, which is better known as the Igloo because of its unique shape losing to the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Two nights later the Penguins would get their first win when they beat the Blues 3-1 in St. Louis. The Penguins would go on to finish in fifth place with a 27-34-13 record missing the playoffs by two points despite losing just one of their final seven games.
1968/69: In their second season the Penguins continued to struggle as they finished in fifth place with a 20-45-11, becoming the only team of the six expansion teams not to make the playoffs in either of their first two seasons.
1969/70: The Penguins finally break through and make it into the playoffs during their third season finishing in second place with a 26-38-12 record. In the playoffs the Penguins would win the first two games against the California Golden Seals 2-1 before going out to Oakland and completing the sweep with an overtime goal by Michel Briere. In the Western Finals the Penguins would find themselves looking at a 0-2 deficit right away as they lost the first two games on the road to the St. Louis Blues. However, the Penguins would recover to win the next two games at home, but eventually the Blues proved to be too strong winning the series in six games. Tragedy would strike the Penguins following the season as Michel Briere woo had an outstanding rookie season is critically injured in a car accident after returning home to Malartic, Quebec leaving the rising star in a coma.
1970/71: With Michel Briere laying in a coma the Penguins would struggle falling to sixth place, missing the playoff for the third time in four years with a woeful 21-37-20. Shortly after the season Briere would pass away, never awaking from his coma which lingered for 11-months.
1971/72: The Penguins would rebound to make the playoffs for the second time in three seasons with a 26-38-14 record, beating out the Philadelphia Flyers by a tiebreaker for the final playoff spot. However, in the playoffs the Penguins would be swept by the Chicago Black Hawks in four straight games.
1972/73: The Penguins are unable to make it back to the playoffs despite topping 30 wins for the first time in franchise history with a record of 32-37-9. The highlight of the season would come during the All-Star Game as Greg Polis wins All-Star Game MVP honors at Madison Square Garden in New York, despite the West losing 5-4.
1973/74: The Penguins continue to struggle missing the playoffs for the second straight season with a disappointing record of 28-41-9 that saw them land in fifth place in the Western Division nine points out of the final playoff spot.
1974/75: The NHL realigns to add divisional play with the Penguins being placed in the Norris Division in the Prince of Wales Conference. The new alignment would fit the Penguins well as the engineered their first winning season at 37-28-15 finishing in third place, and making the playoffs for the third time in franchise history. In the playoffs the Penguins would get off to a quick start beating the St. Louis Blues in two straight games, before jumping out to a 3-0 series lead against the New York Islanders. However, just one game away from the semifinals the Penguins would collapse becoming just the 2nd team to lose a series after grabbing a 3-0 lead as the Islanders won the final four games topped by a 1-0 win in Game 7 at The Igloo.
1975/76: Following their playoff collapse the Penguins suffered financial collapse as they were forced to declare bankruptcy with the doors to their offices being padlocked. However, before the team was forced to fold Albert Savill, Otto Frenzel and Wren Blair rescued the club from the clutches of bankruptcy court in time for the start of the season. The Pens would not be affected as they made the playoffs for the second straight season with a record of 35-33-12. In the playoffs the Penguins would be knocked off by the Toronto Maple Leafs in a three-game series.
1976/77: The Penguins would make the playoffs for the third year in a row with a record of 34-33-13, finishing third in the Norris Division for the third straight year. In the playoffs the Penguins would be beaten by the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second straight year in a three-game series.
1977/78: After making the playoffs for three straight seasons the Penguins would struggle finishing in fourth place with a record of 25-37-18. Following the season, the Penguins would be sold to Edward J. DeBartolo.
1978/79: The Penguins would rebound off their disappointing season to finish in second place with a respectable record of 36-31-13. In the playoffs the Penguins would stun the Buffalo Sabres in a three-game series, winning Game 3 in overtime 4-3 on a goal by George Ferguson. However, in the second round the Penguins would be swept by the Boston Bruins in four straight games.
1979/80: Despite a poor record of 30-37-13 the Penguins would make the newly expanded playoffs by finishing in third place. In the playoffs the Penguins would let a 2-1 lead slip away as they lose to the Boston Bruins in five games.
1980/81: The Penguins post a 30-37-13 record for the 2nd straight season finishing in 3rd place, and making it back into the playoffs. However, once again the Penguins would be knocked off in the first round losing a 5-game series to the St. Louis Blues in overtime.
1981/82: Under realignment the Penguins are moved into the Patrick Division as they continue to play below .500 with a record of 31-36-13. However, by finishing in fourth place they would make it into the playoffs. After being blown out by the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion New York Islanders in the first two games by a combined score of 15-3, the Penguins would redound winning the next two games at the Igloo sparked by Rick Kehoe’s overtime goal in Game 3 to force a decisive fifth game in New York. The Penguins appeared on the verge of an upset leading 3-1 with less than six minutes to go. However, the Isles would rally to tie the game before winning in overtime on the way to their third straight Stanley Cup Championship.
1982/83: After nearly pulling off one of the biggest upsets in Stanley Cup Playoff history the Penguins would suddenly bottom out finishing in last place with a pathetic 18-53-9 record that was the worst in the NHL. The seasons would also be marred by tragedy as General Manager Baz Bastien was killed in a car accident, returning from a dinner honoring him in March.
1983/84: The Penguins struggles continue as they finish in last place for the second year in a row with a franchise worse record of 16-58-6. Finishing with the worst record in the NHL would have a reward for the Penguins as they landed the top pick in the draft enabling them to select QMJHL star Mario Lemieux.
1984/85: On the 17th anniversary of their first game the Penguins who had been franchise barley keeping their head above water finally got something to cheer about as Mario Lemieux made his NHL debut scoring a goal on his very first shift against the Bruins in Boston. At the age of 19 Mario Lemieux would become an All-Star right away as he won the All-Star Game MVP during a 100-point season that would see him take home the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL. However, the Penguins would still finish in last place with a 24-51-5 record.
1985/86: Mario Lemieux continues to establish himself as a rising star in the NHL by finishing second in the league in scoring with 48 goals and 93 assists. However, the Penguins would fall two points short of a return trip to the playoffs with a record of 34-38-8.
1986/87: Mario Lemieux tops the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career as he finishes third in scoring with 54 goals and 53 assists. However, once again the Penguins would just miss out on the playoffs falling four points short despite a respectable record of 36-34-10.
1987/88: Mario Lemieux breaks Wayne Gretzky’s seven year strangle hold on the point scoring title by notching 70 goals and 98 assists. However, the Penguins would continue to miss out on the playoffs finishing in last place just one game out of the last playoff spot and seven points out of first place with a 36-35-9 record. Despite not making it into the playoffs Lemieux would end another Gretzky run as he won the Hart Trophy ending The Great One’s eight-year MVP reign.
1988/89: With Mario Lemieux winning the scoring title for the second straight year with 199 points the Penguins finally make it into the playoffs as they post a record of 40-33-7 good enough for second place. The highlight of the season would come on New Year’s Eve when Mario Lemieux became the first player in NHL history to score a goal at even strength, on the power play, shorthanded, on a penalty shot and into an empty net in the same game. In the playoff the Penguins would get off to a flying start as they swept the New York Rangers in four straight games to reach the Patrick Division Finals. However, the Penguins would be beaten by their cross-state rival Philadelphia Flyers in seven games as they lost the last two games by a combined score of 10-3.
1989/90: Pittsburgh plays host to the All-Star Game as Mario Lemieux wins the All-Star MVP for the third time by scoring a record tying four goals in front of a frenzied crowd at The Igloo. However, the rest of the season would be a major disappointment for Penguins fans the Pens miss the playoffs again by finishing in 5th place with a record of 32-40-8, as General Manager Phil Esposito is fired just three months into his first season. Replacing Esposito would be Craig Patrick who would hire legendary college Coach Bob Johnson to run the team from the bench following the season.
1990/91: Under new Coach Bob Johnson the Penguins would face adversity right away as a back injury limited Mario Lemieux to just 26 games. However, the Penguins managed to stay competitive as Mark Recchi notched 113 points as defenseman Paul Coffey, a proven winner added 93. Also contributing was rookie Jaromir Jagr who scored 27 goals while adding 30 assists. Lemieux would return and the Penguins would finish the season on a roll as they obtained Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings from the Hartford Whalers for John Cullen, Zarley Zalapski and Jeff Parker. The now reinforced Penguins would win their first division title with a record of 41-33-6. In the playoffs the Penguins would be tested right away as they fell behind the New Jersey Devils 3 games to 2. However, the Pens would rally to win Game 6 on the road 4-3, and advanced to the division finals with a 4-0 win at The Igloo. After losing Game in the Patrick Division Finals to the Washington Capitals the Penguins would begin to grab a little momentum as they beat the Capitals 7-6 in overtime on a goal by Kevin Stevens to even the series. After winning the next two games in Washington 3-1 the Penguins closed out the series at home in Game 5 to advance to the Conference Finals. In the Wales Conference Finals the Penguins had their backs to the wall as they dropped the first two games on the road to the Boston Bruins. However, upon arriving back in Pittsburgh the Penguins evened the series with two straight 4-1 wins. After blowing the Bruins out 7-2 in Game 5 in Boston the Penguins made it to their first Stanley Cup Finals with a 5-3 win at the Igloo in Game 6. In the first Stanley Cup match up involving two teams that have never won the Stanley Cup in over 50 years the Penguins got off to a shaky start losing Game 1 to the Minnesota North Stars at The Igloo 5-4. After rebounding to win Game 2 at home the Penguins would fall in Game 3 on the road 3-1. Facing the prospect of falling behind three games to one the Penguins exploded for three goals in the first 2:58 in Game to take even the series two games apiece with a 5-3 win. The Penguins would take control of the series with a 6-4 win at the Igloo in Game 5. In Game 6 in Minnesota the Penguins would end all doubt as the walloped the North Stars 8-0 to win their first ever Stanley Cup, as Mario Lemieux who had 12 points in the Finals earned the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. Following the season the Penguins would be sold to an ownership group headed by Howard Baldwin, Morris Belzberg and Thomas Ruta.
1991/92: The joy of their first Stanley Cup Championship would be short lived as Coach Bob Johnson affectionately known as Badger Bob is diagnosed with brain cancer early in the season. While Johnson recovered from brain surgery director of scouting Scotty Bowman, a legendary coach in his own right would take over. Sadly Badger Bob, who was always said, “It’s a great night for hockey died on November 26th. A night later the Penguins would hold a candlelight ceremony in honor of their fallen coach before beating the New Jersey Devils 8-4 at The Igloo. Under Bowman who was coaching for the first time in nearly five years the Penguins would go on to finish in third place with a record of 39-32-9 as Mario Lemieux won the scoring title despite missing 16 games due to injury, as he beat out teammate Kevin Stevens by eight points. In the playoffs the Penguins were pushed to the brink right away as they fell behind three games to one against the Washington Capitals. However, the Champions would not go out quietly as they rallied to win the series in seven games. The Penguins would face a more precarious situation in the second round as Mario Lemieux suffered a broken wrist in an overtime Game 3 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 3. In Game 4 the Penguins were starring a 3-1 deficit in the face trailing 4-2 in the third period. However, the Penguins would rally again tying the game on a crazy shot by Ron Francis from center ice. In overtime Francis would be the hero again evening the series 2:47 into the extra session. After their dramatic comeback the Penguins were unstoppable, as they knocked the Rangers in six games. Still playing without Mario Lemieux the Penguins continued to roll in the Wales Conference Finals as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the Boston Bruins. In Game 4 the Penguins would get an added boost as Mario returned to the lineup as the Penguins completed the sweep with a 4-1 win to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the second straight season. Facing the Chicago Blackhawks who were also on a roll with a record 11 straight playoff wins the Penguins found themselves trailing 4-1 midway through the second period at The Igloo. However, the Penguins would rally drawing to within one goal as the second period ended, and tying the game with five minutes left on a goal by Rick Tocchet. With time winding down and overtime on the horizon Mario Lemieux completed the comeback scoring the game winner with 13 seconds left in regulation. Mario Lemieux would add another two goals in the second game as the Penguins headed to Chicago with a 2-0 series lead. In Chicago for Game 3 the Penguins continued to roll as they won 1-0 as goalie Tom Barasso stopped all 27 shots. The Penguins would go on to complete the sweep with a 6-5 win in Game tying the Blackhawks record with 11 straight playoff wins as Mario Lemieux becomes the just the second player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy two years in a row.
1992/93: After winning their second straight Stanley Cup the Penguins would come flying out of the gates as the they lost just one of their first 14 games, on the way to grabbing first place in the Patrick Division. However, the Penguins season would be thrown into peril on January 12th when it was announced that Mario Lemieux had Hodgkin’s disease a form of cancer. Super Mario would miss just 23 games as he returned to the team on March 2nd the same day as his final radiation treatment scoring a goal in 5-4 loss to the Flyers in Philadelphia. However, the Penguins would soon go on a record run winning 17 straight games to set a new NHL record before ending the season with a 6-6 tie against the Devils in New Jersey. The winning streak would put a capper on a franchise best season that saw the Penguins win the President’s Trophy for the best regular season record at 56-21-7. In the playoffs the Penguins would extend their record postseason winning streak to 14 games as they jumped out to a 3-0 series lead before beating the Devils in five games. However, in the second round the Penguins would be stunned by the New York Islanders in seven games as David Volek ended the Penguins hopes for a third straight cup in overtime.
1993/94: Mario Lemieux continued to hobble along with back injuries and the effects of cancer treatments, as he is limited to just 22 games. However he would average almost a goal a game as he put up 37 points on the season, as Jaromir Jagr filled the void during Mario’s absence with 99 points, which was good enough for tenth in the league. Now playing in the Northeast Division the Penguins would win their third division title in four years with a solid 44-27-13 record. However, in the playoffs the Penguins would be beaten by the Washington Capitals in 6 games despite 4 goals and 3 assists during the series from Mario Lemieux.
1994/95: Prior to the start of training camp Mario Lemieux announces he is a taking a one-year absence to recover from his nagging back injuries, and radiation treatment he endured when he came down with d Hodgkin’s disease. Not even a reduced schedule of 48-games would change that fact, as the NHL season would not start until late January after a four-month lockout. Without Mario the spotlight shifted to Jaromir Jagr who won the scoring title as the Penguins finished in second place with a 29-16-3 record. In the playoff the Penguins appeared to be heading for a quick exit as they trailed the Washington Capitals three games to one. In Game 4 the Penguins would trail again, however they would rally to tie the game 5-5 and forced overtime where Luc Robitaille knocked in the game winner to keep the Pens hopes alive. The Penguins would go on to win the next two games by a combined score of 10-1 to advance to the second round in seven games. The Penguins kept their momentum going in the 2nd round as they beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in Game 1. However it would be the last game the Penguins would win, as the Devils would rally to take the next four games and the series in five games.
1995/96: Mario Lemieux would return, and he was stronger than ever, scoring 69 goals in 70 games on the way to capturing the scoring title and Hart Trophy with 161 points, scoring his 500th goal along the way. With Jaromir Jagr finishing second to Mario in scoring the Penguins would easily win their division with a solid record of 49-29-4. Facing the Washington Capitals for the third year in a row the Penguins had their backs to the wall again dropping the first two games at home. However, the Penguins would rally again taking the next two games in Washington on the way to winning the series in six games. The Penguins would continue to roll in the second round as they knocked off the New York Rangers in five games to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Penguins and Florida Panthers split the first four games before the Pens took control of the series with a 3-0 win at The Igloo in Game 5. However, the Panthers would force a seventh game with a 4-3 win in Florida. Despite a ruckus home crowd at The Igloo in Game 7, the Penguins would end up frustrated as they could not solve goalie John Vanbiesbrouck losing 3-1.
1996/97: The milestones continue to come to Mario Lemieux who scores his 600th career goal while winning the scarring title again with 50 goals and 72 assists, as the Penguins finished in second place with a 38-36-8 record. Despite the solid season Mario Lemieux announced it would be his last as the Penguins headed into a playoff match up with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins would fall behind quickly 3-0 as fans filled The Igloo for Game 4 anticipating Mario’s final game. However, not wanting to retire right away Mario Lemieux scored with less than two minutes left to a cap a 4-1 win and keep the Penguins playoff hopes alive. However despite a goal and assist from Super Mario the Penguins would fall in Game 5, by a score of 6-3. After the season the Hockey Hall of Fame announced it would waive the three year wait period allowing Mario Lemieux to enter the Hall of Fame right away.
1997/98: With the departure of Mario Lemieux the spotlight shifted solely to Jaromir Jagr who continued to shine winning the scoring title as the Penguins captured the Northeast Division with a solid record of 40-24-18. However, in the playoffs the Penguins would make a quick exit as they are stunned by the Montreal Canadiens in six games.
1998/99: As the season began uncertainty faced the Penguins as the team was forced to declare bankruptcy for the 2nd time in its history. With expansion and realignment the Penguins would be put into the Atlantic Division where they finished in third place as Jaromir Jagr captured the scoring title and Hart Trophy. Facing the New Jersey Devils in the playoffs the Penguins were less than three minutes away from elimination trailing 2-1 in Game 6 at The Igloo. However, with Jagr would rise to the occasion tying the game with 2:12 and winning the game in overtime to force a seventh game, where they would stun the Devils 4-2 at the Meadowlands to advance to the second round. In the second round the Penguins would fall to the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games losing two of the final three games in overtime. Following the season Mario Lemieux would save the Penguins again when he headed an ownership group that rescued the financially troubled team from bankruptcy.
1999/00: Jaromir Jagr continues to shine winning the scoring title as the Penguins make the playoffs for the tenth consecutive season despite a mediocre record of 37-37-8-6. In the playoffs the Penguins would get off to a flying start beating the Washington Capitals 7-0 in Game 1 on the road, as they grabbed a quick 3-0 series lead on the way to winning in 5 games. In the second round the Penguins continued to roll as they jumped out to a 2-0 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers with two road wins. Upon arriving home to The Igloo the Penguins missed an opportunity to take a 3-0 series lead losing Game 3 in overtime. Game 4 would also go to overtime tied 1-1. The game would go deep into the night becoming the third longest game in NHL history as officials nearly ran out of pucks before the Flyers evened the series on a goal by Keith Primeau midway through the fifth overtime. The disheartened Penguins would not recover ad the Flyers won the next two games to take the series in six games.
2000/01: At first the rumors seemed too good to be true; Owner Mario Lemieux was practicing with the team in the aim for a comeback. However, they were true and on December 27th on a snowy night in Pittsburgh, The Igloo was packed as Super Mario’s returned. It was like he had never gone away as he scored a goal and two assists as the Penguins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0. In his first 15 games the Hall of Famer would notch 16 goals and 14 assists as the Penguins dormant hopes for a third Stanley Cup Championship seemed to come alive. Mario would even be a late addition to the All-Star Game, as everyone seemed inspired by his amazing return. Mario would end up with 35 goals and 41 assists in 43 games as Jaromir Jagr won his fourth straight scoring title leading the Penguins to a solid 42-28-9-3 record good enough for third place in the competitive Atlantic Division. In the playoffs the Penguins would face a familiar foe knocking off the Washington Capitals in 6 games. In the second Round the Penguins got off to a fast start jumping out to a 2-0 series lead over the Buffalo Sabres with two road wins. However after losing the next two games at The Igloo the Penguins were put on the brink with an overtime loss in Game 5. At the Igloo for Game 6 the Penguins were leas the two minutes from elimination when Mario Lemieux saved the Penguins again forcing overtime where Martin Straka would send the series back to Buffalo for a decisive seventh game. Game 7 would also go to overtime where Darius Kasparaitis sent the Penguins on to the Eastern Conference Finals with a goal 13 minutes into the extra session. However, in the Eastern Finals the Penguins would meet their match as they were beaten by the New Jersey Devils in five games.
2001/02: Despite the excitement over the return of Mario Lemieux and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals the Penguins were still struggling finically as they were forced to trade Jaromir Jagr to the Washington Capitals for Kris Beech, Michal Sivek and Ross Lupaschuk. Without Jagr the Penguins would struggle, as Mario Lemieux is limited to just 24 games with hip injures. The Penguins would go on to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990 as they finished in last place with a record of 28-41-8-5.
2002/03: The Penguins would get off to a solid start as Mario Lemieux return to health losing just two of their first 11 games. However, the cash strapped Penguins in desperate need of a new arena would quickly fade. Things would only get worse as they were forced to trade top goal scorer Alexei Kovalev to the New York Rangers on February 13th for Mikael Samuelsson, Joel Bouchard and Rico Fata. After the Kovalev trade the Penguins would fall apart winning just five of their last 26 games on the way to finishing in last place with a woeful record of 27-44-6, as Mario Lemieux’s frustration boiled over resulting in him being ejected from a game for fighting. Despite the frustration of losing games on the ice and money off the ice Mario had another solid season with 28 goals and 63 assists.
2003/04: Not much was expected of the Penguins entering the season as they were barely getting by in the crumbling Mellon Arena with limited resources and a restricted budget. In the first month of the season the Penguins bright spot was their aging Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and their top overall pick Marc Andre Fleury as both at times played well during the first month of the season. However, a hip injury would shelve Mario after just ten games while a constant bombardment of shots took a toll on the confidence of the 18-year old Fleury. Eventually Fleury would return to junior hockey to develop his game more, while the Penguins fluttered in last place finishing with a league worst record of 23-47-8-4.
2004/05: Season Cancelled Due to Lock Out
2005/06: Coming off the Lock Out there was renewed interest in hockey in Pittsburgh, despite continued rumors the team would be moving, as Mario Lemieux announced he was selling the team, as they continued to have trouble to get funding for a new arena to replace Mellon Arena. The reason for the renewed excitement came in the draft lottery as the Penguins got the top pick and the rights to Sidney Crosby, who entered the league at the age of 18 as one of the most anticipated rookies since Mario, who would be around to tutor the budding young star, actually inviting him to live in his home. However, the buzz would be short lived as the Penguins lost their first nine games, on the way to a 1-5-4 record in October. The bad start would lead to a Coaching change as Ed Olczyk was replaced by Michel Therrien. The coaching change would not help as the Penguins continued to struggle as Zigmund Palfy announced his retirement due to a lingering shoulder injury, while an irregular heartbeat forced Mario Lemieux off the ice after just 26 games. This left the focus on the young Crosby who would provide plenty of excitement with 39 goals and 63 assists, for a team high 102 points. However, the Penguins would not win many games as they finished in last place with a record of 22-46-14.
2006/07: The young Penguins got even better, as Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal each made their debut and contributed right away, scoring 33 goals and 29 respectively as they were each finalist for the Calder Trophy. In the end it would be Malkin who would walk away with the hardware, but with the two on the team together with Sidney Crosby; the Penguins future was certainly bright. However, whether that future was in Pittsburgh remained in doubt as potential arena/casino deal was voted down by the Pittsburgh city council. The team would be put up for sale, as groups from Hamilton and Kansas City lined up wanting to skate off with the Penguins. However, hope for a new arena did not die, as the young Penguins made a significant jump forward challenging the New Jersey Devils for the division title, an 11th hour deal was being cooked up to save hockey in Pittsburgh. Finally on March 13th at a joint announcement by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins ownership group, it was made public that an agreement had been reached between the parties. A new state-of-the-art multi-purpose arena will be built. This agreement will keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for another thirty years. Following the announcement of this plan, the Lemieux ownership group announced that they no longer have plans to sell the team. The Penguins would go on to finish the season with a solid 47-35-11 record, making the playoffs for the first time in six years, as Sidney Crosby made history at the age of 19, becoming the youngest player to win the Hart Trophy, as he captured the league’s scoring title. In the playoffs the young Penguins learned a hard lesson against the Ottawa Senators as they were shut down while losing the series in five games.
2007/08: Coming off their strong season, in which the Penguins made the playoffs for the first time in six years, they got off to a rocky start, posting a record of 8-11-2 in their first 21 games. However, things began to turnaround on Thanksgiving, when the Penguins rallied to beat the Ottawa Senators 6-5 in a shootout, after trailing at one point in the third period 5-3. The win would get the Penguins going as they won seven of their next eight games, as they finished December with a record of 20-16-2. On New Year’s Day the Penguins enjoyed the spotlight as they faced the Buffalo Sabres in an outdoor game in the snow in Buffalo. The Penguins would emerge victorious, with Sidney Crosby netting the game winner in a 2-1 shootout victory. The win would mark the start of a strong second half as the Penguins started to charge up the Eastern Conference Standings, despite losing Crosby for 28 games and Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for 27 games to ankle injuries. Helping the Penguins stay hot was Evgeni Malkin, who was ranked among the league leader with 47 goals and 59 assists. At the trade deadline, the Penguins would make some significant improvements, adding Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis in a deal with the Atlanta Thrashers. The deal and the return of Sidney Crosby would be the catalyst to the Penguins winning their first division title in ten years with a record of 47-27-8. In the playoffs for the second year in a row the Penguins faced the Ottawa Senators, this time however, things were different as the Penguins took the opener 4-0, and never looked back sweeping the defending Eastern Conference Champions in four straight, while outscoring them 16-5. In the second round the Penguins faced the New York Rangers, and found themselves in a quick 3-0 hole in Game 1. However, keyed by two goals in 14 seconds the Penguins would rally to win the game 5-4, as Evgeni Malkin netted the game winner with less than two minutes left. Game 2 would be a complete opposite, as the Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 27 shots he faced, as the Penguins won a defensive battle 2-0. After a 5-3 win in Game 3, the Penguins had a chance to complete their second straight sweep, when they hit the ice at Madison Square Garden in Game 4. However, the Rangers blanked the Penguins 3-0 to send the series back to Pittsburgh. Back at the Igloo for Game 5, the Penguins would advance to the Conference Finals with a 3-2 win in a dramatic fashion as Marian Hossa scored the game winner in overtime at 7:10. The Conference Finals would be the battle of the Keystone State, as the Penguins faced the Philadelphia Flyers. As they did against their rivals from New York, the Penguins jumped out to a commanding 3-0 series lead. After losing Game 4, the Penguins turned Game 5 at the Igloo into a night of celebration, as the Penguins who just two years ago were on the brink of bankruptcy and moving out of the Steel City, reached the Stanley Cup Finals with a dominant 6-0 win. In the Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings, the Penguins would hit a wall, as they were shutout in the first two games 4-0, and 3-0. Returning home to Mellon Arena, the Penguins got back on track in Game 3, as Sidney Crosby scored the first two goals, as the Penguins won 3-2 to avoid the deep 3-0 hole. However, powered by a Jiri Hurdler third period goal the Penguins dropped Game 4 at home 2-1, and returned to Detroit facing elimination down three games to one. With Detroit ready to party the Penguins trailed 3-2 late in the third period, as Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled for an extra skater. With the cup in reach for the Wings, Maxime Talbot kept the Penguins hopes alive by tying the game with 35 seconds left to send the game to overtime. The game would then become a marathon as Fleury kept the Penguins in the game by stopping 55 shots, as the game went to a third overtime, before Petr Sykora scored the game winner to keep the Penguins in the series. However, not even a return to the Igloo could get the Penguins to a seventh game, as the Red Wings clinched the cup with a 3-2 win in Game 6.
2008/09: Following their trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Penguins opened the season with a two-game series against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden, in which the Pens earned a split. Upon returning home for the Penguins are stunned in their home opener by the New Jersey Devils, losing 2-1 in overtime, as they posted a mediocre 5-4-2 record in October. In November the Penguins found a groove winning six straight games. However, in December the Penguins stumbled as they dealt with injuries. The injury problems continued into January, as they lost Sidney Crosby for a few games with a sore knee. Even when Crosby was in the lineup the Penguins were underachieving as they were five points out of a playoff spot with a 27-25-5 record on February 15th when Coach Michel Therrien was fired and replaced by Dan Bylsma, who was coaching the Penguins AHL team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Though they suffered a frustrating shootout loss to the New York Islanders in Bylsma’s first game, the coaching change seemed to wake up the Penguins, as they won nine out of ten games to get back in the playoff race. To add some help for the playoff run the Penguins landed Bill Guerin from the Islanders at the trade deadline. The Penguins would close the season with an 18-3-4 record under Bylsma, finishing in second place in the Atlantic Division with a 45-28-9 record, as Evgeni Malkin won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer with 113 points. In the playoffs the Penguins were matched up against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round. As they did a year earlier in the Eastern Conference Finals the Pens got the early jump, winning the first two games in Pittsburgh. After dropping Game 3 on the road the Penguins had a chance to end the series in five games. However, the Flyers stayed alive with a 3-0 win in Pittsburgh. The Penguins would quickly recover as they bounced the Flyers with a 5-3 win in Game 6, setting up a showdown series with the Washington Capitals featuring the NHL’s two biggest stars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin of the Caps. With the first two games in Washington it was Ovechkin getting the best of the Penguins, as they won both games at the Verizon Center including a thrilling 4-3 win in Game 2, in which both Crosby and Ovechkin netted hat tricks. Desperately needing a win in Game 3 the Penguins won in overtime as Kris Letang netted his first career playoff goal in overtime to deliver a 2-1 win. After evening the series with a 5-3 win in Game 4 the series returned to Washington, where the Penguins took control of the series with a dramatic 4-3 overtime win in Game 5 on a powerplay goal by Evgeni Malkin. However, the Caps would respond with a 5-4 overtime win over their own in Game 6 at the igloo to set up a dramatic seventh game back in Washington. However, Game 7 would be all Pittsburgh as Sidney Crosby had two goals and an assist to lead the Pens to a 6-2 win to send them to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Eastern Finals would be no contest as they dominated the Carolina Hurricanes in four straight games outscoring the overmatched Hurricanes 20-9 in the four-game sweep. This would set up a rematch with Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals.
2009 Stanley Cup Finals: Like they did a year earlier the Penguins found themselves in an early hole, losing 3-1 in the first two games in Detroit. Needing to win Game 3 as the series shifted to Pittsburgh, the Penguins finally broke through winning 4-2 as Sergei Gonchar gave the Pens a lead with under ten minutes left with a powerplay goal, as Maxime Talbot added an empty netter. Game 4 followed much of the same pattern as the Penguins overcame a 2-1 deficit and won 4-2 with three goals in the second period, starting with a game changing shorthanded goal by Jordan Staal. With the series even at two games apiece the Penguins once again suffered a setback in Motown as the Red Wings regained control with a solid 5-0 win. Back in Pittsburgh for Game 6, the Penguins would continue the home ice trend, winning 2-1 behind a solid effort in Goal from Marc-Andre Fleury who stopped 25 of 26 shots. After the home team won the first six games of the Finals, the Penguins knew they had a tall task ahead of them as they returned to Detroit with the Stanley Cup on the line in Game 7. After a scoreless first period, the Penguins would strike first on a goal by Maxime Talbot 1:13 into the second period. Talbot would add a second goal nine minutes later to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead entering the final period. From there the Penguins focused on defense as they only registered one shot on goal in the final 20 minutes. The Wings would cut the lead to 2-1 on a goal by Jonathan Ericsson with 6:07 left. From there it was all up to Fleury who stood strong during a final seconds stopping shots from Brian Rafalski, Johan Frazen and Nicklas Lidstrom to secure the 2-1 victory and the Stanley Cup for the Pittsburgh Penguins, with Evgeni Malkin becoming the first Russian Born Player to win the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP as he led all players in scoring the postseason with 14 goals and 22 assists.
2009/10: As the Penguins began their final season in Mellon Arena, they celebrated their third Stanley Cup Championship banner with a solid 3-2 win over the New York Rangers, as they got off to a quick start winning nine of their first ten games. In November the Pens would struggle, losing four straight games in which they were outscored 17-3, as injuries especially to the defense took their toll. December would have its up and down moments, as the Penguins had a winning of five games, while they began a five-game losing streak that carried into the New Year. One team that frustrated the Penguins early and often was the New Jersey Devils who won all six meetings, and held the lead in the Atlantic Division most of the season. The Penguins would challenge the Devils down the stretch, but came up short as they posted a record of 47-28-7, as they beat the New York Islanders 7-3 in the final regular season game at the Igloo on April 8th. Leading the team in scoring was Sidney Crosby, who had 51 goals and 58 assists, as the Penguins had the same fourth seed in the Eastern Conference that led to a Stanley Cup run a year earlier. In the playoffs, the Penguins got off on the wrong foot, as Marc-Andre Fleury struggled in the opener, allowing five goals in a 5-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators at Mellon Arena. The Penguins got off to a rough start in Game 2 as well, as the Senators took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Peter Regin just 18 seconds into the game. However, Fleury would not allow another as Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist as the Penguins won 2-1 to even the series. As the series shifted to Ottawa, Crosby took over leading the Penguins to two easy wins to take a 3-1 lead back to Pittsburgh with a chance to close out the series in five games. However, despite another solid game from Sidney Crosby, the Penguins would lose 4-3 in Triple Overtime, as Matt Carknery beat Fleury 47:06 into sudden death. In Game 6, the Senators jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. However, the Penguins would claw their way back into the game, as enforcer Matt Cooke scored twice as the game went into overtime tied 3-3. In OT it would be Pascal Dupuis on an assist from Jordan Staal who would advance the Penguins to the second round with a goal midway through a first overtime period. In the second round the Penguins jumped out to a quick start beating the Montreal Canadiens 6-3 in Game 1 at the Igloo. However, Canadiens Goalie Jaroslav Halak had a strong game, stopping 39 of 40 shots to even the series at a game apiece as the Habs won 3-1 in Game 2. As the series shifted to Montreal, Marc-Andre Fleury and a strong Pens defense regained control of the series with a 2-0 win. However, Halak continued to play well as the Canadiens evened the series with a 3-2 win in Game 4. Back in Pittsburgh the Penguins responded with a 2-1 win, as Fleury came within 31 seconds of another shutout while stopping 33 of 34 shots. The Canadiens continued to remain pesky as they posted a 4-3 win in Game 6 to even the series. In Game 7 the Penguins would fall behind 4-0 early in the 2nd period, the Pens would score twice to get back in the game, but it was not enough as the Habs won the game 5-2 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals and shutdown the Igloo Forever.
2010/11: After more than 40 years in the Igloo, the Penguins finally got a rink that was the envy of the league, as the CONSOL Energy Center opened on October 7th. The opening party would be spoiled by the Philadelphia Flyers, who won the game 3-2, Danny Briere scoring the first goal, while Tyler Kennedy was the first Penguin to find the back of the net. The Penguins would lose their first three games, in their new home, before beating the New York Islanders 3-2 on an overtime goal by Alex Goligoski. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury struggled in the first month of the season, winning just one of six games, while backup Brent Johnson went 5-0-1. The Penguins also would deal with injuries early in the season as Jordan Staal was out the entire with a foot infection, while Zbynek Michalek and Brooks Orpik also missed several games. After playing mediocre hockey through the first six weeks, the Penguins finally got rolling in November as they embarked on a 12-game winning streak, while Marc-Andre Fleury began to look like an All-Star. The Penguins would go on to post a 25-11-3 record heading into the Winter Classic against the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field. The Winter Classic marked the return of Jordan Staal, but the game would end in disappointment as the Capitals won the game 3-2 on a humid rainy night in Pittsburgh. Making matters worse, Captain Sidney Crosby, who was having an MVP season with 32 goals and 34 assists in 41 games suffered a concussion on an open ice hit by David Steckel. Crosby would finish the game despite the injury and take the ice again four nights later when the Penguins hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning. Crosby would get hit again as the Penguins won 8-1, after the game it became apparent there was something wrong. Sidney Crosby would not play another game in the season as the concussion symptoms lingered the rest of the year. Despite all the injuries the Penguins would continue to play solid hockey into February, when they suffered another big loss as Evgeni Malkin tore knee ligaments in a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on February 4th. Without their two best players the Penguins needed everyone else to rise to the occasion. Not surprisingly the Penguins struggled on offense, leading them to send Defenseman Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for LW James Neal and Defenseman Matt Niskanen, while Alex Kovalev from the Ottawa Senators for a conditional draft pick. After the deals the Penguins would play well down the stretch, posting a 12-4-2 record in March and April, as they took the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs with a record of 49-25-8, as Dan Bylsma won the Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year. In the playoffs the Penguins would get three third period goals to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 in Game 1. After a 5-1 loss in Game 2, the Penguins went down to Tampa and won 3-2 in Game 3 and Game 4, as James Neal’s double overtime goal gave the Penguins a 3-1 series lead. With a chance to close the series out, the Penguins would deliver an awful performance in Game 5, losing 8-2 at home. The Lightning would continue the momentum with a 4-2 win in Game 6 to even the series. In Game 7 at home, the Penguins came out firing, but found nothing but Goalie Dwayne Roloson, who stopped all 36 shots as the Lightning shocked the Penguins 1-0 on Sean Bergenheim’s goal to win the series in seven games.
2011/12: As the season began for the Penguins, Sidney Crosby was still unable to play with the lingering effects from a January concussion. Fortunately Evgeni Malkin, who himself was coming back from a knee injury was able to help the Penguins get off to a quick start as they posted an 8-3-2 record in October. As November, came to an end Crosby returned, posting 12 points in his first eight games. However, the concussion symptoms would return and force him to miss another three months. Despite the long-term loss of Sidney Crosby, the Penguins continued to play well posting a 21-13-4 record heading into the New Year. Despite a six-game losing streak at the start of January, the Penguins quickly got back on track, with an eight-game winning streak as Evgeni Malkin proved to be the best player in hockey during the 2011/12 season. Malkin would lead the league in scoring with 109 points along with 50 as he won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player. As February came to an end the Penguins went on another winning streak, this time winning 11 straight games, the best streak in the NHL during the regular season. As the streak hit ten games, Sidney Crosby returned to the ice with two assists as the Penguins beat the New York Rangers 5-2 on the road. In the Penguins next game, Crosby would get three helpers to lead the Penguins past the New Jersey Devils 5-2, as the Penguins made a late push for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Back to back losses to the New York Islanders at the end of March put their hopes of winning the Atlantic in jeopardy. However, as the season came to an end the Penguins appeared to be getting back in the groove, as they won their final three games and finished the season with a 51-25-6 record, falling just one point behind the Rangers for the division title and best record in the Eastern Conference. Despite playing in just 22 games, Sidney Crosby managed 29 assists, with eight goals, as James Neal had breakout season with a career high 40 goals and 41 assists. Despite missing 20 games, Jordan Staaal also had a strong season with 25 goals and 25 assists, while Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz also topped the 50-point mark.
2012 Playoffs: As the playoffs began the Penguins seemed to be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup, as they held the fourth seed and faced the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round. In Game 1 the Penguins would get off to a fast start, getting a 3-0 lead in the first period as Sidney Crosby scored the first goal in the playoff, 3:43 into the game. However, the Penguins would not score again, as the Flyers battled back to win the game in overtime 4-3, helped by a controversial goal by Danny Briere in which he was clearly off-sides. The Penguins would get off to a fast start again in Game 2, leading 3-1 at the end of the first period. However, the Flyers erupted for seven goals over the last two periods to win the game 8-5, with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each recording hat tricks for the Flyers. As the series shifted to Philadelphia, frustration began to boil over for the Penguins lost again 8-4 in a fight filled game that featured 38 penalties. Following Game 3, the Penguins down 3-0 in the series were shorthanded in Game 4, as Arron Asham, James Neal and Craig Adams were all suspended for their actions in Game 3, while Paul Martin was out with an injury. The Penguins would put fourth an inspired effort as they won 10-3 to avoid getting swept by their Keystone State rivals. Leading the way in the Penguins ten goal outburst was Jordan Staal who had a hat trick, while Evgeni Malkin had two goals and an assist. Back in Pittsburgh for Game 5, the Penguins would live to see another day, with a 3-2 win, as Tyler Kennedy’s second period goal was the difference. However, the Penguins defensive struggles proved to be too much to overcome, as the Flyers ended the series with a 5-1 win in Game 6.
2012/13: After a disappointing playoff exit in the first round, the Penguins looked to rebound as they were listed as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Penguins made some changes in the off-season trading Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes for Brandon Sutter and the eighth-round pick in the NHL draft used to select Derrick Pouliot. The start of the season would be delayed by a three-month lockout, which shortened the season to 48 games. The Penguins hoped the delay would benefit them as it would allow Sidney Crosby more time to heal and get over his concussion problems. The Penguins would start the season on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers, and got a measure of revenge with a 3-1 win, as Marc-Andre Fleury became the Penguins all-time winningest goalie. After another road win against the New York Rangers, the Penguins faced the Toronto Maple Leafs in their home opener and came out flat with a 5-2 loss. The Penguins would finish January with a 4-3 record. The Penguins began to play better hockey in February with a solid five game winning streak, as they won nine games with Sidney Crosby having a strong with 24 points. However, during their game on the 22nd, Evgeni Malkin suffered a concussion after crashing into the boards during a 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers at CONSOL Energy Center. Malkin would be hampered the rest of the season with a sore shoulder, missing a total of 17 games. However, when March arrived the Penguins hit their stride winning all 15 games. The winning streak was not enough for the Penguins, as they looked to load up for the playoffs, picking up Brendan Morrow in a trade with the Dallas Stars and Jarome Iginla in a trade with the Calgary Flames. However, as the month came to an end the Penguins would once again lose their Captain, as Sidney Crosby suffered a broken jaw, during their March 28th win over the New York Islanders. They would also lose Defenseman Paul Martin to a broken hand. Crosby, Malkin and Martin would all miss most of April, but the Penguins still managed to finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference at 36-12-0.
2013 Playoffs: Hoping to get past playoff failures behind him, Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had a strong performance in Game 1 as the Penguins faced the New York Islanders in the first round. Fleury stopped all 26 shots, as the Penguins blanked the Islander 5-0. The Islanders would rebound to even the series with a 4-3 win in Game 2. Fleury struggled again in Game 3, as the series shifted to the island once again allowing four goals. However, this time Penguins would win the game 5-4, as Chris Kunitz scored the game winner in overtime. Marc-Andre Fleury would not be bailed out in Game 4, as the Islanders won 6-4 to knot the series at two games apiece. In Game 5 in Pittsburgh, the Penguins would bench Fleury in favor of Tomas Vokoun who awarded Coach Dan Bylsma’s decision with a 31 save shutout as the Penguins regained control of the series with a 4-0 win. The Islanders would not go down without a fight, as they held a 3-2 lead in the third period of Game 6. However, Paul Martin would tie the game, as Brooks Orpik won the game in overtime to send the Penguins into the second round with a 4-3 win. The Penguins would continue to start Vokoun in the second round as they faced the Ottawa Senators. Game 1 saw Tomas Vokoun stop 35 of 36 shots as the Penguins won the opener 4-1. Sidney Crosby would be the star in Game 2, recording his second career playoff hat trick as the Penguins won 4-3. The Penguins appeared to be on their way to a 1-0 win in Game 3, before Daniel Alfredsson tied the game with 29 seconds left with a shorthanded goal with the Senators taking Craig Anderson off the ice for an extra attacker. The Sens would go on to win the game in Double Overtime 2-1 on a goal by Colin Greenling. The loss would be a mere bump in the road, as the Penguins bounced back with a 7-3 win in Game 4, as Jarome Iginla and James Neal each netted two goals. Neal would be even better in Game 5 back at home as he recorded a hat trick as the Penguins closed out the series with a 6-2 win. Facing the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Penguins showed early frustration in Game 1, as Sidney Crosby fought Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara. The fight would symbolize the Bruins ability to shut down the Penguins offense as they took the opener 3-0. Things would not get any better in Game 2, as the Bruins took the crowd out of the game again with a 6-1 win. As the series shifted to Boston, the Penguins continued to struggle as Game 3 went into overtime tied 1-1. Despite Tomas Vokoun’s best efforts stopping 38 shots the Bruins would win the game in Double Overtime on a goal by Patrice Bergeron as just one of the Penguins 54 shots found the back of the net. Vokoun would be solid again in Game 4, but the Penguins scoring woes continued as Tuukka Rask stopped all 26 shots as the Bruins completed the sweep with a 1-0 win. During the series neither Sidney Crosby nor Evgeni Malkin recorded a point.
2013/14: After getting swept in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Penguins began the season with Coach Dan Bylsma on the hot seat as fans began to tire of playoff disappointments with the talented roster they had. The Penguins began the season with a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils at CONSOL Energy Center, as they won seven of the first eight. The Penguins quickly rose to the top of the new Metropolitan Division as they won nine games in each of their first two months. They would do even better in December, posting a record of 11-3-0 to head into the New Year with a record of 29-12-1. The Penguins continued their strong play into January as they won another nine games as they went into the Olympic Break with a record of 40-15-3. Returning from Sochi the Penguins would face the Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field, losing 5-1 as the break seemed to slow the Penguins season long momentum. Over the last six weeks of the season the Penguins played some of their worst hockey as they played just .500, losing their grip on the best record in the NHL. The Penguins would manage to win the Metropolitan Division and had the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference with a record of 51-24-7. Sidney Crosby led the NHL in Assists with 68 helping him win the scoring title and Hart Trophy as NHL MVP for the second time in his career.
2014 Playoffs: In the first round against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Penguins got off to a bad start as they trailed 3-1 after allowing a shorthanded goal to Derek MacKenzie early in the second period. The Penguins would quickly tie the game on a pair of power play goals by Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen. With the game tied 3-3 in the third period the Penguins would get the lead on a goal by Brandon Sutter as they held on to win the game 4-3. In Game 2 the Penguins would get off to a fast start, taking a 3-1 lead with three scores in the first period. However, they would not score again, as the Jackets rallied to tie the game. The game would eventually go to overtime, where Columbus getting a goal from Matt Calvert won the game 4-3 for their first ever postseason win. Leading early continued to be a bad thing as the series shifted to Columbus. The Blue Jackets held a 2-0 lead later in the second period when Brooks Orpik scored with two seconds left before intermission to get the Pens back in the game. The Jackets would answer on a goal by Cam Atkinson early in the third period. However, with three goals in 2:13 the Penguins would rally to win the game 4-3 to take back control of the series. In Game 4 it would be the Penguins getting off to a fast start with three goals in the third period, but the Blue Jackets would slowly chip away with Brandon Dubinsky scoring the equalizer with 24 seconds left in regulation. The Blue Jackets would win the game 4-3 on a goal by Nick Foligno at 2:49. In Game 5 at the CONSOL Energy Center, the Jackets would score first, but the Penguins would dominate the rest of the way winning the game 3-1. In Game 6, Evgeni Malkin ended a postseason goal drought in a big way with a hat trick to help the Penguins build a 4-0 lead. However, the Jackets would not go down without a fight, scoring three times in the third period, as the Pens barely hung on to win the game 4-3 and advance to the second round. While Malkin found the back of the net in Game 6, Sidney Crosby continued his playoff drought, failing to score in ten straight playoff games. In the Metropolitan Division Finals the Penguins would face the New York Rangers. The Penguins struggled early in Game 1, as the Rangers scored twice in the first period. The Penguins would battle back with two goals in the second period. The game would eventually go to overtime, where the Rangers would deliver a 3-2 on a goal by Derick Brassard. In Game 2, the Penguins would get a big defensive effort that limited the Rangers to just 22 shots as the Marc Andre-Fleury recorded a shutout in a 3-0 win. As the series shifted to New York, Sidney Crosby finally ended his goal scoring drought with a goal in the second period that broke a scoreless tie. Once again Fleury was at his best stopping 35 shots as the Penguins took the series lead with a 2-1 win. The Penguins continued to dominate the ice in Game 4, doubling up the Rangers 4-2 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. However, with a chance to close out the series at home, the Penguins came out flat in Game 5 and suffered a 5-1 loss. Game 6 would not go much better as the Rangers won 3-1 to even the series. The Rangers would go on to win the series in seven games with a 2-1 win at CONSOL Energy Center, as Henrik Ludqvist stopped 35 of 36 shots. Following another playoff disappointment that saw Sidney Crosby score just one goal, the Penguins cleaned house firing both General Manager Ray Shero and Coach Dan Bylsma.
2014/15: After another disappointing postseason, the Pittsburgh Penguins underwent wholesale changes with Jim Rutherford taking over as General Manager and Mike Johnston taking over as coach. The Penguins would lose several key players in the off-season as they were unable to re-sign Tanner Glass, Brooks Orpik, Jussi Jokinen and Matt Niskanen. The Penguins would start the season strong, opening the season with a 6-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks, as they posted a record of 6-3-1 in October, along the way Sidney Crosby got his 500th career assist in a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders on October 18th. The Penguins were even stronger in November, taking over first place in the Metropolitan Division with ten wins, as they began the month in the middle of a seven-game winning streak. Injuries began to hit Pittsburgh in November, as Olli Maatta missed several games after being treated for a growth thought at first to be thyroid cancer, while Pascal Dupuis was lost for the season after it was discovered he had a blood clot in his lungs. The NHL’s mumps epidemic hit the Penguins hard in December as several players, including Sidney Crosby missed time dealing with the pesky childhood disease. After finishing December with a record of 23-9-5, the Penguins began to struggle in 2015, with a record of 5-4-3 in the month of January Injuries played a big role in the Penguins struggles as Olli Maatta underwent shoulder surgery after returning from treatment for Thyroid Cancer. The entire second half would see the Penguins battling injuries as Christian Ehrhoff, Paul Martin and Kris Letang all missed significant time. The Penguins would even begin to lose their grip on the playoffs as the season came to an end, as they won just four of their last 15 games and needed to beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 in the regular season finale to grab the final playoff spot in the East with a record of 43-27-12. Sidney Crosby ended the season by finishing third in the NHL scoring with a team best 84 points, scoring 28 goals which matched Evgeni Malkin for the most on the Penguins.
2015 Playoffs: The Penguins limped into the playoffs and faced the New York Rangers, who were the best team in the regular season in the first round. Things got off to a bad start for the Penguins as Derick Brassard scored 28 seconds into the first period of Game 1. The Rangers would eventually build a 2-0 lead but could not get any more as Marc-Andre Fleury kept the Penguins in the game, stopping 36 shots, but it was not enough as the Penguins lost the opener 2-1. In Game 2 Sidney Crosby ended his postseason drought with two goals in the second period as the Penguins evened the series with a 4-3 win. However, as the series shifted to Pittsburgh, the Penguins were unable to get much offense, suffering a 2-1 loss in Game 3. The following game would see more of the same as a 1-1 defensive struggle went into overtime, with the Rangers delivering another 2-1 win. Back at Madison Square Garden in Game 5 the Penguins go another strong effort from Fleury, who stopped 34 shots, but once again the Penguins would suffer a 2-1 loss in overtime, as they failed to make it over the first round for the first time in three years.
2015/16: The Pittsburgh Penguins continued to struggle at the start of the season, as they lost their first three games, scoring just three total goals. After beating the Ottawa Senators 2-0 for their first win of the season on October 15th, the Penguins began to resemble a cup contender as they won nine of their next ten games. However, through much of November and December, the Penguins played lackluster hockey which would lead to the dismissal of Coach Mike Johnston on December 12th as they were sitting in the middle of the pack with a record of 15-10-3. The Penguins would call up Mike Sullivan who was the coach of the AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. At first the change did nothing to improve Pittsburgh’s fortunes on the ice as the Penguins lost their first four games under their new coach and looked bad doing so, as they were outscored 15-4. Trying to do anything to spark the Penguins back to life, Rob Scuderi was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Trevor Daley on December 15th. After finishing December with a record 18-15-4, the Penguins continued to struggle in the New Year. This led to more changes, as the Penguins picked up Carl Hagelin from the Anaheim Ducks for David Perron and Adam Clendening on January 16th. This deal was just the spark the Penguins needed, as Hagelin’s speed gave their offense a big boost as Hagelin produced 27 points in 37 games. After closing January with four wins in five games, the Penguins began to make their climb in February, posting a record of 8-4-1. March would be even better for the Penguins as they won 12 of 16 games, as the month came to an end the Penguins had climbed up to second place in the Metropolitan Division as they won 14 of their last 16 games to finish the season with a record of 48-26-8. After the coaching change the Penguins were an NHL best 33-16-5 under Mike Sullivan. Sidney Crosby was the Penguins leading scorer with a team high 85 points and 36 goals.
2016 Playoffs: The Pittsburgh Penguins continued their momentum in the playoffs as they faced the New York Rangers in the first round once again. Before the playoffs began the Penguins received some bad news as Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was unable to play with a concussion. In the opener, the Penguins turned to Jeff Zakoff who stopped 35 of 37 shots while Patric Hornqvist netted a hat trick to win the game 5-2. The Rangers would rebound to win Game 2 at CONSOL Energy Center 4-2, leading the Penguins to start rookie Matt Murray, who had only made 13 career starts as the series shifted to Madison Square Garden. Murray barely broke a sweat in Game 3, as the Penguins defense smothered the Rangers limiting them to 17 shots. The Penguins after tying the game on a power play goal by Sidney Crosby at the end of the second period, got goals by Matt Cullen and Kris Letang to win the game 3-1. In Game 4 Murray was even better, stopping all 31 shots as the Penguins dominated the Rangers with a 5-0 win. Back in Pittsburgh for Game 5, the Penguins continued to control the ice, scoring six goals to win the game 6-3 and advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Leading the way in the clincher was Bryan Rust who had two goals and an assist. The second round would bring a real test for the Penguins as they took on the Washington Capitals who were the best team in the NHL during the regular season. The opener would by the T.J. Oshie show, as the Caps winger netted a hat trick including the game winner in overtime to take the game 4-3. Matt Murray was much sharper in Game 2 as he kept Washington off the board until the third period. With the game tied 1-1, Eric Fehr scored with under five minutes left to win the game 2-1 and even the series. As the series shifted to Pittsburgh, Matt Murray was beyond great, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins held off the Capitals 3-2. Murray also made several big saves in Game 4, as the Penguins won in overtime 3-2 on a goal by Patric Hornqvist at the 2:34 mark. After a 3-1 Capitals win in Game 5, the Penguins won in overtime again in Game 6 by a score of 4-3. This time it was Nick Bonino scoring the series clincher. The Penguins would move on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lightning kept the Penguins off balance all game, winning 3-1. Game 2 would see each team score a pair of goals in the first period, but remained deadlocked for the remainder of regulation. In overtime it would take just 40 seconds for the Penguins to even the series, as Sidney Crosby beat Andrei Vasilevskiy to win the game 3-2. As the series shifted to Tampa, the Penguins took over winning 4-2 to take the series lead. The Lightning though bounced back with a 4-3 win in Game 4, as Matt Murray was pulled after two periods in favor of Marc Andre-Fleury who was flawless as the Penguins third period rally fell short. Fleury would get the start in Game 5 at the CONSOL Energy Center, as the Lightning struck in overtime to win the game 4-3 on a goal by Tyler Johnson. Matt Murray got the nod in Game 6 as Sidney Crosby with a goal and an assist led the Penguins to a 5-2 win in Tampa that evened the series. Game 7 in Pittsburgh would be a defensive battle with Murray again getting the start. Bryan Rust gave the Penguins the lead early in the second period. After Droun evened the score midway through the game, Rust came through again scoring just 30 seconds later to put Pittsburgh back in front. Murray and the Penguins defense would shut down Tampa the rest of the way, allowing just 17 shots total as the Penguins moved on the to the Stanley Cup Finals with a 2-1 win.
2016 Stanley Cup Finals: In their fifth finals appearance the Pittsburgh Penguins took on the San Jose Sharks, who were on hockey’s grandest stage for the first time in franchise history. With CONSOL Energy Center packed to the rafters, the Penguins jumped in front early in Game 1, as Bryan Rust and Connor Sheary scored to build a 2-0 in the first period. The Sharks answered back on goals by Thomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau in the second period. With the score deadlocked at two apiece the Penguins got a goal from Nick Bonino with two and half minutes left to take a 3-2 lead as Matt Murray was sharp again to earn the win. Game 2 would be just as tight as each team scored managed just one goal in regulation. In overtime it was Connor Sheary sending the fans home happy with a goal at 2:35. Game 3 in San Jose also went to overtime, but this time it was the Sharks who emerged victorious 3-2 on a goal by Joonas Donskoi. In Game 4, Ian Cole netted his first career playoff goal in the first period to give the Penguins first blood. Evgeni Malkin added a goal in the second period, while Eric Fehr scored in the third to lead Pittsburgh to a 3-1 win, putting them one game away from hockey’s Holy Grail. Perhaps the Penguins celebrated a little too early, as the Sharks scored twice in the first three minutes to take the lead. The Penguins answered back just as quickly as a record four goals were scored in the game’s first 5:06. Things would settle down, but the Sharks regained the lead late in the first period on a goal by Melker Karlsson. Despite 31 shots over the final two periods the Penguins would not be able to even the score as the Sharks won 4-2 with Joe Pavelski scoring an empty net goal. Back in San Jose the Penguins knew the way to win the cup and that was with defense. First, they had to get the lead and that was done when Brian Dumoulin scored on the power play in the first period. The Sharks would tie the game on a goal by Logan Couture at 6:27 in the second period. However, just over a minute later the Penguins again were in front as Kris Letang answered at 7:46. The Penguins would allow just two shots in the third period as Patric Hornqvist scored an empty netter to clinch Pittsburgh’s fourth Stanley Cup Championship with a 3-1 win. Sidney Crosby would win the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP, but the award could have gone to a few Penguins. Phil Kessel was the team’s leading scorer with 22 points, including a team best ten goals. Nick Bonino led the team in assists with 14, while Patric Hornqvist was Johnny on the spot with some of the team’s biggest goals throughout the playoffs.
2016/17: Coming off their fourth dance with the Stanley Cup, the Pittsburgh Penguins looked to be even stronger as Mike Sullivan entered his first full season as coach. The Penguins started the season on a winning note, beating the Washington Capitals in a shootout 3-2 at the newly renamed PPG Paints Arena. Unlike the previous season, when the Penguins stumbled at the start of the season, the defending champions continued their momentum from the playoffs, posting a record of 7-2-1 in their first ten games. Pittsburgh was especially strong at home early in the season as they had a 5-0-1 record at PPG Paints Arena in the first month of the season. After a mediocre November, the Penguins again picked up the pace in December, posting a record of 12-1-2. After going into the New Year with a record of 25-8-5, the Penguins hit a skid in January, losing three of their first four games. The struggles of January led to the Penguins entering a three-way battle with the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets for the top spots in the Eastern Conference and Metropolitan Division. February saw, the Penguins get back on track as they posted a record of 7-2-3, highlighted by a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field on February 25th. In addition, the Penguins got a major milestone, as Sidney Crosby had his 1,000th point on February 16th. The Penguins continued to play well in March, winning nine games, but they could not keep pace with the Capitals who won the President’s Trophy for the second straight year. The Penguins, meanwhile, finished second with a record of 50-21-1. Crosby would be the Penguins leading scorer with 44 goals and 89 total points.
2017 Playoffs: The Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup defense began against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Before the opener, Goalie Matt Murray was injured in warmups, opening the door for Marc-Andre Fleury to get back in goal. Fleury stopped 31 of 32 shots as the Penguins recorded a 3-1 win. Fleury was even better in Game 2, stopping 39 of 40 shots, as the Penguins recorded a 4-1 win. In Columbus, the Penguins and Blue Jackets battled into overtime with Jake Guentzel scoring the game-winner, with his fourth goal of the series to give the Pittsburgh 3-0 series lead with a 5-4 win. After Columbus recorded a 5-4 win in Game 4 to avert a sweep, the Penguins finished off the series in five games, winning the finale 5-2 as Marc-Andre Fleury made 49 saves. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Penguins would face the Washington Capitals once again. In the opener on the road the Penguins got the series advantage, winning 3-2 as Sidney Crosby recorded a pair of goals. Game 2 saw the Penguins exploded for six goals as Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel each scored two goals in a 6-2 win. Looking to get a stranglehold of the series, as it shifted to Pittsburgh, the Penguins suffered a 3-2 loss in overtime. The Penguins bounced back to win Game 4 by a score of 3-2 as the Penguins got another strong game from Fleury who had 36 saves. However, closing out the Capitals would be tricky, as the Washington recorded a 4-2 win in Game 5. The Capitals would also win Game 6 in Pittsburgh 5-2 to force a seventh game back at the Verizon Center. In Game 7, it was all Marc-Andre Fleury, as the Penguins goalie stopped all 29 shots, while Bryan Rust and Patric Hornqvist provided the offense in a 2-0 win. Facing the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Penguins got off to a rough start, as they lost the opener in overtime 2-1. The Senators continued to frustrate the Penguins in Game 2, as the game was scoreless midway through the third period when Phil Kessel scored the game-winner to even the series with a 1-0 win. As the series shifted to Ottawa, Marc-Andre Fleury suffered one of his worst games, allowing four goals in the first period as the Senators won the game 5-1. With Matt Murray getting the start, the Penguins evened the series with a 3-2 win in Game 4. Back in Pittsburgh for Game 5, the Penguins offense exploded for seven goals, in a 7-0 whitewashing of Ottawa. Murray made 25 saves in the shutout as the Penguins had seven different goal scorers. The Senators would not go down, without a fight, winning 2-1 in Game 6 as Craig Anderson made 45 saves. Game 7 at the PPG Paints Arena would be a thriller as the game was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation. The game would go into double overtime, where Chris Kunitz netted the game-winner at 5:09 to send the Penguins into the Stanley Cup Final with a 3-2 win.
2017 Stanley Cup Final: Facing the Nashville Predators as they looked to win a second straight Stanley Cup, the Penguins got a big boost late in the first period, as they scored three goals in four minutes to take an early 3-0 lead. The Predators would battle back to tie the game in the third period, setting up Jake Guntzel to play hero again, as he scored his tenth goal of the postseason to give the Penguins a 4-3 lead late in the third period, as Nick Bonino added an empty-netter in a 5-3 win. The Predators struck first in Game 2, only to see Guntzel get the equalizer later in the first period. After a scoreless second period, Jake Guntzel scored off the opening faceoff in the third period, as the Penguins scored three times in the third to win the game 4-1. The series would shift to Nashville for the next two games, as the Penguins were crushed losing 5-1 in Game 3, and 4-1 in Game 4 to even the series. Back in Pittsburgh the Penguins showed they could dominate too, winning 6-0 as they had six different goal scorers, with Matt Murray making 24 saves in the shutout. With a chance to win the Stanley Cup again, the Penguins went back to Nashville for Game 6. Murray again was stout in net, blanking the Predators for the second straight game. Pekka Rinne was just as strong for Nashville, as the game was scoreless late in third period, when Patric Hornqvist scored with 1:35 left in regulation. The Penguins would clinch the cup a minute late, as Carl Hagelin put in the empty netter to win the game 2-0. Sidney Crosby who had eight goals and 19 assists in the postseason would win the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP for the second straight season.
2017/18: After two consecutive Stanley Cup Championships, the Pittsburgh Penguins were sitting on top of a dynasty as they sought to be the first team to three-peat since the New York Islanders of the 1980s. While the core remained with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, the Penguins lost Marc-Andre Fleury, who had to be exposed to the expansion draft and was the first player taken by the Vegas Golden Knights. NHL rules only permitted a team to protect one goalie, and Pittsburgh chose Matt Murray. Pittsburgh would also see Nick Bonino sign with the Nashville Predators. Malkin, Crosby, and Phil Kessel combined for 105 goals 174 assists for a combined total point of 279 while emerging star Jake Guentzel had 22 goals and 26 assists. The Penguins again battled the Washington Capitals for supremacy in the Metropolitan Division. Looking for more scoring, the Penguins acquired Derrick Brassard from Vegas for Ryan Reeves at the trade deadline. Matt Murray meanwhile struggled with the death of his father and finished the year with a 2.92 GAA as the Penguins finished in second place with a record of 47-26-6.
Written by Greg Binotto
2018 Playoffs: The Pittsburgh Penguins playoff journey began against the Philadelphia Flyers, their Keystone State rivals. The first game was easy for the Penguins as they crushed the Flyers 7-0, with Sidney Crosby collecting a hat trick. Game 2 was a different situation, the Penguins came out flat, losing 5-2 at the Paint Bucket. Game 3 was a redemption game for Pittsburgh as they record a 5-1 at the Wells Fargo Center. In Game 4, the Penguins were equally impressive, winning 5-0 as Matt Murray stopped at 26 shots. Game 5 would see the series shift back to Pittsburgh with a 3-1, but the Penguins looked sloppy in this game, losing 4-2 Back in Philadelphia for Game 6, the Penguins got four goals from Jake Guentzel to finish the Flyers with an 8-5 win. This would set up a showdown with the Washington Capitals. The Penguins would get off to a strong start winning the opener 3-2 in the Capital One Arena. The Capitals bounced back with a 4-1 win in Game 2. As the series shifted to Pittsburgh, the Capitals took control of the series with a 4-3 win. With Guentzel scoring a pair of goals, the Penguins squared the series at two games apiece, with a 3-1 win. Going into Game 5 back in Washington, the series seemed to be on the line, as the Capitals with four unanswered goals in the third period won 6-3 to put the Penguins on the brink of elimination. Game 6 at PPG Paints Arena would go into overtime tied 1-1, with the season on the line the Penguins watched their championship reign end as Evgeny Kuznetsov drilled the game-winning goal for the Capitals 5:27 seconds into sudden death. The Capitals would go on to win their first Stanley Cup, finally slaying the Pittsburgh demon.
Written by Greg Binotto
2018/19: After a successful but unsatisfying season, the Pittsburgh Penguins looked to regain the Stanley Cup. Once again, the Penguins were among the top-scoring teams in the NHL, as Sidney Crosby posted a 100-point season with 35 goals and 65 assists. Crosby would also win the All-Star Game MVP for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, Jake Guentzel was Pittsburgh’s leading goal scorer with 40. The Penguins also got big seasons Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin. Defense was a worry for the Penguins as they acquired Erik Gudbranson from the Vancouver Canucks for Tanner Pearson. Another notable trade in February saw the Penguins send Derrick Brassard and Riley Sheahan to the Florida Panthers for Nick Bjustad and Jared McCann. The Penguins would finish third in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 44-26-12.
Written by Greg Binotto
2019 Playoffs: The Pittsburgh Penguins reached the playoffs at full strength as they played well down the final stretch, winning ten games in March. In the first round, the Penguins faced the New York Islanders. The opener would spell trouble for Pittsburgh, as the Islanders won in overtime 4-3 on a goal by Josh Bailey. The Islanders also took Game 2, as New York took a 2-0 series lead. Hoping home ice could turn the series in their favor, the Penguins came out flat in Game 3, losing 4-1. The Islanders would go on to sweep the series, winning the finale 3-1. The series was one of frustration for the Penguins, as Sidney Crosby had just one assist in four games.
Written by Greg Binotto
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the Pittsburgh Penguins or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on Page created on May 31, 2003. Last updated on March 15, 2020, at 3:50 am ET.