Wednesday, May 25, 2011
In their 24th season, the Pittsburgh Penguins were finally able to win the Stanley Cup on this date in 1991 by crushing the Minnesota North Stars 8-0 to win in 6 games. The Penguins were led by superstar Mario Lemieux and a deep line up featuring Joe Mullen, Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens, rookie Jaromir Jagr, Larry Murphy, Paul Coffey and goaltender Tom Barasso. As if that roster weren't strong enough on it's own, the Penguins also added Bryan Trottier, a veteran of the New York Islanders recent dynasty to provide veteran leadership. Coaching this deep lineup of talent was "Badger" Bob Johnson in his first year behind the Penguins bench.
The Penguins started the season without Mario Lemieux, who missed the first half of the season recovering from a back injury suffered in February of the previous season. The team got off to a slow start, but with the return of Lemieux, their fortunes improved to the point that they were in playoff contention in 3rd place in their division when March rolled around and they pulled off a big trade that would put them over the top, acquiring Ron Francis from Hartford. With the addition of Francis, the Penguins finished the season 9-3-2 and won their first Division Championship.
In the playoffs they would defeat the New Jersey Devils in 7 games after being down 3 game to 2. They next defeated the Washington Capitals and then the Boston Bruins in 6, after falling behind 2-0 to start the series, to earn the right to face the surprising Minnesota North Stars in the finals.
Minnesota had actually finished the regular season with a dismal 27-39-14 record but came out of nowhere in the playoffs to defeat the President's Trophy winning Chicago Blackhawks in a huge upset, followed by St. Louis and then the defending champion Edmonton Oilers to reach the finals.
Minnesota continued their hot streak and won Game 1 on the road, but the Penguins came back to win game 2 as the series shifted to Minnesota where the Penguins earned a split, tying the series at 2-2. Pittsburgh then won Game 5 at home and slaughtered the North Stars 8-0 to win their first Stanley Cup. Lemeiux was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.
Today's jersey is a 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux jersey featuring the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals patch, as worn during that season's Stanley Cup Finals.
When the Penguins arrived on the scene in 1967, they wore powder blue jerseys for their first six years. The shade of blue darkened somewhat in 1973 and lasted until 1977 when an even darker navy blue became the club's primary color.
Then, quite unusually, the Penguins changed to their new color scheme of black and yellow during the middle of the season! The change in colors was an effort to win the goodwill of the fans of Pittsburgh, as both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates won world championships in both football and baseball in 1979 while wearing black and gold, the colors of the flag of the City of Pittsburgh.
These jerseys would remain in use through the 1991-92 season, which included the Penguins second Stanley Cup championship in a row, before a change to a new set the following year.
Today's video is all the goals from the deciding Game 6 as Pittsburgh dominated the contest to win the cup in as convincing a fashion as has ever happened.