Thursday, April 25, 2013

1988-89 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux Jersey

On this date in 1989, Mario Lemieux tied the all-time NHL record for most points in a playoff game when he scored five goals and three assists as the Penguins outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers 10-7 in a wild, brawl filled shootout in Game 5 of the Patrick Division Finals.

Prior to the playoffs, Lemieux set personal records in goals (85), assists (114) and points on his way to the NHL scoring title, easily outdistancing Wayne Gretzky 199 points to 168, despite missing four games. At the time, his 85 goals were the third most of all-time and he became the third player ever to reach 100 assists in a season. Additionally, he scored 13 shorthanded goals to set a new NHL record. Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of Lemieux's stellar 1988-89 season was joining the exclusive 50 goals in 50 games club, only the fifth player at the time to achieve the feat first accomplished by the famed Rocket Richard when he scored his 50th of the season in his 46th game.

Also during the same season, Lemieux had one of the most remarkable nights in NHL history on New Year's Eve in 1988 when he scored five goals - in five different ways! He started the night with an even strength goal and followed it with one shorthanded, on the power play, a penalty shot and capped off his amazing night with an empty net goal.

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Lemieux celebrates his remarkable five goals on New Year's Eve

On the basis of Lemieux's brilliant season, the Penguins qualified for the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons. The New York Rangers fell to the Penguins in four straight before Pittsburgh advanced to face the Flyers. Game 1 went to the Penguins at home 4-3 and then the Flyers took Game 2 by a score of 4-2. Pittsburgh fought back with a 4-3 overtime win in Philadelphia and the Flyers evened the series 4-1 on home ice to send the series into Game 5 tied at two games apiece.

Game 5, played on this date in 1989, started with a goal by Lemieux at 2:15 into the game. He added his second exactly a minute and a half later for a 2-0 Penguins lead and the tone was set when he completed his hat trick on the power play just 6:55 into the game to put the Penguins up 3-0!

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Lemieux's hat trick in the opening seven minutes was just the beginning

After Bob Errey extended the Penguins lead to 4-0 just 12 seconds after Lemieux's third goal, the Flyers got on the board with a goal to briefly give them a faint glimmer of hope only to have Lemieux then tie an NHL record with his fourth goal of the period at 17:09 on a wraparound into an unguarded net after he stole the puck from Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall, sending the home fans into a frenzy. The Penguins added one more prior to the horn to head into the intermission up by a remarkable score of 6-1.

The second period was more of the same, with the teams combining for five more goals. The Flyers scored twice but the Penguins answered each time to restore their five goal lead. The Flyers frustrations then began to boil over, which included a misconduct penalty to Hextall at 12:55.

The Penguins extended their lead to six with their third goal of the period at 12:55 to give them a 9-3 entering the third period, but not before Brian Dobbin of Philadelphia received a match penalty for attempt to injure John Cullen during their fight at 17:03. Lemieux assisted on all three of Pittsburgh's second period goals to give him seven points on the night - so far.

The Flyers let the Penguins know they were not going to quit when they scored just 6 seconds into the third period as they then staged a furious rally to close the gap to 9-7 with three more goals between 10:21 and 17:23 before Lemeiux completed his eight point night with his fifth goal of the night, to go with three earlier assists, at 19:23 into an empty net to seal the 10-7 Penguins victory.

The Flyers then began the "message sending" of the era with the game now out of hand with a fight at 19:44 and an all-out line brawl with only nine seconds remaining which included all the players on the ice, including the Flyers goaltender Ken Wregget, who got involved to keep the numbers even, as Philadelphia was shorthanded from the previous altercation.

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Lemieux tied NHL records for most goals (5) and most points (8) in a playoff game as well as most goals in one period in a playoff game (4 in the first period) and most assists in a period in a playoff game (3 in the second period) that night.

The eight point night was the third of Lemieux's season, as he put up eight in the fourth game of the season and again on New Year's Eve, the aforementioned night he scored goals in five different ways. Lemieux remains the only player in NHL history to have scored eight points in a game three separate times, a feat he accomplished in a single season! It also remained the last time anyone scored eight in a game for 23 years until Sam Gagner managed the feat in 2012.

His eight points in a playoff game is one of only two times in history the feat has been accomplished and his eight points are tied for second for the most points ever scored in an NHL game behind Darryl Sittler's 10.

Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux jersey. as worn during Lemieux's record setting eight point night in the playoffs. This was the first season for this particular lettering style on the Penguins jerseys, as previous seasons had a different specification with a thinner number font, serifs on thicker letters for the names and sleeve numbers up on the shoulders, football style.

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Today's video section takes a look at the Penguins - Flyers playoff series in 1989, which includes Lemeiux's historic eight point night in Game 5. Ah, Michael, Michael motorcycle!


Here is Rob Brown scoring the Penguins 9th goal, which sets off the always tightly-wound Ron Hextall. Lemieu'x assist o the goal was his 7th point of the game.

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