Sunday, April 1, 2007
Playoffs are on the horizon.
It's time to look back at some human beings who have destroyed Penguins playoff dreams in seasons passed.
The order is debatable, so we just threw all of them together with no rhyme or reason.
Except for the number-one killer...which is a no-brainer.
If you're devastated after reading this post, just visit the Top 10 Penguin Goals
The Penguins finished the 1999-2000 season with 88 points; good enough for the seventh seed in the playoffs. As per tradition in the '90s, the Pens faced Washington in the first round and convincingly beat them in five games. Next up were the number-one seed Philadelphia Flyers.
All the Pens did was go to Philly and win the first two games of the series. Stunning.
The series came back to Pittsburgh for games three and four...
Andy Delmore scored an OT goal for Philly in game 3...but suck it, the Pens were still up two games to one.
Game four is where we finally get to Keith Primeau.
This game went 5 overtimes. Disgusting.
Both teams were ringing shots off the post in the overtimes. You can still see the replay in your mind of Kovalev's shot earlier in the fifth overtime smacking the outside of the left post. The ebb and flow of this game meant that the Flyers would have the next great scoring chance.
Some people may remember; some don't.
The game wasn't televised. Pens fans were forced to listen to the game on the radio.
The Pens were chillin with 72 points; sitting in fifth place behind the New York Islanders and their 73 points.
A win or tie in this game catapults the Pens into the playoffs. A loss sends the Pens to the golf course.
The game was tied 2-2 as overtime came.
Uwe Krupp scores on a shot from the point 1:00 into overtime.
8. Chico Resch
The Pens jumped out to a 3-0 series lead against the New York Islanders.
There's no way that lead could be blown...
But Islanders goalie Chico Resch took acid before game four.
From that point on, it wasn't even a contest.
In the remainder of the series, his GAA was 1.00.
The Islanders win the four games and advance to the next round where they almost accomplished the same exact feat against the Flyers, before losing in Game 7.
Resch turned the Pens "Century Line" of Syl Apps, Jean Pronovost, and Lowell MacDonald into mud during the furious 3-0 comeback.
7. John Tonelli
They finished 54 - 16 - 10 (118 Points) --- Patrick Division Champions.
The Penguins finished 31 - 36 - 13 (75 Points) --- Fourth place. They sucked your balls.
The Pens were up 3 - 1 with 5:00 remaining in the deciding game of the teams' first-round playoff series.
Islander player John Tonelli assists on a Mike McEwen goal to make it 3-2.
With 90 seconds remaining in regulation, Tonelli scores to force overtime.
...John Tonelli scores again in overtime.
The Islanders went on to win the Stanley Cup by sweeping Vancouver in four straight.
If you think that was the last time the Islanders would crush the Pens' playoff lives, you're high.
Still sporting one of the hottest offenses in recent NHL memory, the Pens captured the Northeast Division crown and the second seed going into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
They survived the Washington Capitals in the first round...with the aid of Petr Nedved's gender-transforming OT goal in game 4.
The Pens took care of the Rangers in five games in the second round, but they lost Ron Francis to injury.
But the moms weren't banking on Florida tackling Lemieux and Jagr off of every faceoff.
Looking back, it's easy to say that this series was the catalyst of the garbage league that the NHL was turning into. It was sickening to watch.
In the series:
Jagr - 1 G
Lemieux - 1 G
Power play - 4 for 32
Picture: Barrasso getting owned by rats.
Florida fans would throw rats onto the ice after every goal because Panther Scott Mellanby went down on a rat prior to Game 2 of their first-round matchup against the Boston Bruins.
Game 3 gave us the Barrasso-Beezer fight.
Penguins took a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 in Florida.
Florida wins it; setting up a Game 7.
Game 7 was a blur.
It was a Saturday night.
Sergei Zubov scored on the power play for the Pens.
That's pretty much it.
Tom Fitzgerald's shot from the Eat 'n Park in Dormont finds its way past Barrasso 6:18 into the third period to break a 1-1 tie.
Imagine the New Jersey Devils holding a 2-1 lead in Game 7 of an Eastern Conference Final -- it was kind of like that.
Pens lose 3-1.
It remains the closest we've been to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1991-92.
When you do a Google Image Search of a player and you get the picture of the goal you're looking for, you know that person hasn't done anything else in their life.
The Pens limped in with the 8th seed and had to face number-one seed New Jersey in the first round.
Down 3-2 late in Game 6, German Titov set up Jagr in front to tie the game with less that 3:00 remaining.
In overtime, perennial playoff hero Marty Straka set up Jagr who beat Marty Brodeur...and the series went to a 7th game.
The Pens managed just 13 shots in that game, but 4 went in.
Marty Straka scored with 5:30 remaining to give the Pens a 4-2 lead.
The second round brought the Toronto Maple Leafs into our conscience.
The best part about this series: Dan Kesa scoring in Game One for the Pens.
Toronto was up 3 games to 2 going into Game Six at the Civic Arena.
The Pens jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, but Toronto came back in the second with 2 goals in 26 seconds.
They later took the lead, but Jagr tied it up before the third.
A scoreless third spelled overtime.
We're not sure if Barrasso was that far out of position on the actual play.
"There's such a fine line between winning and losing in overtime.
When we get into overtime, we seem to find a way to win."
-- Mats Sundin on Toronto's 3-0 overtime record in the 1998-99 playoffs.
Picture: Morozov wanting the puck so he can show how much he sucks at playing American hockey.
The Pens, behind Francis and Jagr, captured the second seed going into the playoffs.
Their first-round opponent was the Montreal Canadiens.
Game One in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins' goal scorers this game: Brad Werenka and Jiri Slegr.
The game was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation.
Early in the overtime, Martin Straka is awarded a penalty shot.
But because people were in love with how Aleksey Morozov's name sounded, the Pens gave him the chance on the breakaway instead of Marty.
Jagr won the Art Ross.
Moose was loose.
The playoffs started, and the Pens beat the Caps in six games in the first round.
The second round had the Pens jump out to a 2-0 series lead against Buffalo before losing three straight.
The Pens had to come back to tie it late in Game 6 and then won in overtime.
Game 7 gave us a new hero in Darius Kasparaitis.
Bring on the Devils.
Mario was tired.
Jagr was tanking.
The Devils were trapping.
The Pens lost Game One but somehow managed to win Game Two in New Jersey.
Games three and four at Mellon Arena were so pathetic, it wasn't even funny.
3 - 0 Loss
5 - 0 Loss
If you've blocked it out of your memory, you are excused.
The 1992-93 Penguins were easily the most dominant hockey team Pittsburgh has ever seen.
The Penguins were 56 - 21 - 7.
Mario Lemieux had come back from Hodgkin's disease and somehow scored 400 points in 11 games after returning in early March.
The Penguins also went on their illustrious winning streak at the end of the season.
When they playoffs arrived, everyone knew the Pens were taking the Cup.
They beat the Devils in five games.
Then the lowly New York Islanders walked into town.
At that point, the Penguins had won 15 of their last 16 playoff games.
But the Isles were all business. They came into Mellon Arena and beat the Pens in Game 1.
The Pens would win the next two, but Islander goalie Glenn Healy played out of his mind in Games 4 and 6.
It all came down to this.
Stevens basically had his career ended in the first period. See video.
The Pens got on the board early with an Ulf Samuelsson goal, but Glen Healy was on PCP.
Healy was out of his element against these Pens, and everyone knew it.
The Islanders kept peppering Barrasso with shots and eventually had a 3-1 lead with about 5:00 remaining.
If you remember when we talked about John Tonelli before...this was basically the same situation -- a fact Mike Lange pointed out in the broadcast of the game.
Instead of John Tonelli -- enter Ron Francis.
Francis scores with less than 4:00 left to make it 3-2.
With exactly 1:00 remaining, Francis deflects a Larry Murphy wrister past Glenn Healy to tie the game.
Some people say it is the loudest they have ever heard the Arena.
Overtime started...and ended.
At the 5:16 mark of OT, everyone's life changed.
David Volek became a man we would remember for the rest of our lives.
Caution: Put on old clothes because you will crap and vomit all over yourself.
Mike Lange's call of those moments in Game 7.
His call of the tying goal late is well worth watching this thing.
The video is pretty much garbage, but just go with it.
Mike Lange's Call of Game 7 Moments
If you want to research anything pertaining to hockey, here's what we used.
Tales From The Pittsburgh Penguins -- Joe Starkey
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