With the Stanley Cup Finals now into action, we look back at the past at some of the greatest performances by a Penguin in the finals. Whether it was a big save, a huge goal, or a game or series changing moment, the following are moments a Penguins fan will never forget.
1991 Stanley Cup Finals: Mario Lemieux- The Pittsburgh Penguins, under head coach “Badger” Bob Johnson, headed to the finals looking for their first Stanley Cup title. After a disappointing 5-4 game one loss at home, the Penguins pushed through the finals, winning four of their next five to hoist the Stanley Cup. With 12 points in 5 games (missing a game due to back injury), Mario Lemieux displayed one of the most impressive finals performances by a player, and with that won the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP.
2009 Stanley Cup Finals, Game Two: Evgeni Malkin- The Pittsburgh Penguins, on the verge of going down 2-0 in the series to the Detroit Red Wings, were all but defeated. That was, until, Evgeni Malkin made a huge statement to the rest of the team. With only half a minute left in game two, Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg engaged in a huge fight that had both teams involved. Though the Penguins still lost the game, the scrap between the two was talked about on media everywhere. That fight injected the fuel desperately needed by the Penguins, and in turn they won both games 3 and 4 at home.
1992 Stanley Cup Finals, Game Three- Tom Barrasso: In a series of Ed Belfour against Tom Barrasso, you knew from the start it would be a battle of the goaltenders. While both goalies were outdone in game one (a total of nine goals were scored), Barrasso had the upper hand in game two, stopping 18 of 19 shots as the Penguins won 3-1. Game three was the game where both goalies truly seemed to prove their worth. Belfour stopped 19 of 20 shots while his team seemed to have a strong possession game. Winning the goaltending matchup, though, was Barrasso. Saving all 27 of 27 shots against him, Tom Barrasso shut out the Chicago Blackhawks as the Penguins won the game 1-0. While a total of 11 goals were scored in game four, including a hat trick from Dirk Graham, the Penguins prevailed 6-5 and won their second consecutive Stanley Cup. Without the strong effort from Barrasso in game three, who knows how history would have changed.
2008 Stanley Cup Finals- Sidney Crosby: At only 20 years old, already the league’s youngest captain, Sidney Crosby looked to etch history again by becoming the youngest captain to hoist the Stanley Cup. While the Penguins struggled much throughout the series and failed to score in the first two games of the series, Crosby was able to carry the team offensively and led the Penguins in scoring. The Penguins lost in six games to the experienced Detroit Red Wings, but Crosby’s performance shouldn’t be forgotten.
2009 Stanley Cup Finals, Game Seven- Max Talbot: You all knew he would be on this list. In game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, Max Talbot etched his name into history. Being the most unlikely of heroes, Max scored both of the Penguins goals in the second period to win the game 2-1 as the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup in 17 years. It’s hard to believe this happened 7 years ago already, but Talbot had such an amazing run that entire playoffs, culminating in his incredible game seven performance. Without Talbots two goals, Sidney Crosby and company may still be searching for their first Stanley Cup ring.