Thursday, May 25, 2017

1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux Jersey

The Pittsburgh Penguins started the 1990-91 season without Mario Lemieux, who missed the first half of the season recovering from a back injury suffered in February of the previous season.

Still, the team had a deep lineup featuring Joe Mullen, Mark RecchiKevin Stevens, rookie Jaromir JagrLarry MurphyPaul Coffey and goaltender Tom Barrasso. 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 1980s dynasty to provide veteran leadership. Coaching this deep lineup of talent was "Badger" Bob Johnson in his first year behind the Penguins bench.

The team got off to a slow start, but with the return of Lemieux on January 26th, with three assists against the Quebec Nordiques right out of the gate, the Penguins fortunes improved to the point that they were in playoff contention in 3rd place in their division when March rolled around.

Then on March 4th, they pulled off a big trade that would put them over the top, acquiring Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings from the Hartford Whalers while letting go John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Zalapski in return. 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 games to 2. They next defeated the Washington Capitals  in four straight after dropping Game 1 and then advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals by beating the Boston Bruins in 6, after falling behind 2-0 to start the series.

Awaiting the Penguins was the surprising Minnesota North Stars, who 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 an equally shocking upset of the St. Louis Blues, as Chicago had finished 38 points ahead of the North Stars with St. Louis 37 up on Minnesota. Everyone figured the clock would strike midnight when Minnesota's next opponent was the defending champion Edmonton Oilers. After the teams split the first two games in Edmonton, the North Stars got on a roll, winning Games 3 and 4 at home in dominating fashion 7-3 and 5-1. They then closed out the Oilers 3-2 in Edmonton to punch their ticket to the finals.

In the finals, Minnesota continued their hot streak and won Game 1 on the road 5-4, but the Penguins came back to win Game 2 handily 4-1.

 photo Penguins North Stars SCF.png
Mario Lemieux attacking Minnesota's Jon Casey

The series shifted to Minnesota where the North Stars won Game 3 by a score of 3-1. Penguins earned a split, tying the series at 2-2 by shocking Minnesota with 3 goals in the first three minutes and held on to win 5-3 after the North Stars closed to within 4-3.

Pittsburgh then won Game 5 at home after again blitzing Minnesota with 4 goals in the first 14 minutes of the first period. Still, the North Stars fought back, scoring 4 of the next 5 goals to narrow the lead to 5-4 before the Penguins sealed the victory with a goal with less than two minutes to play to take a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, on this date in 1991, saw Barrasso facing Jon Casey in goal for the North Stars.

With Neal Broten off for interference after just 9 seconds from the opening faceoff, Samuelsson scored on the power play at exactly 2:00 from Trottier and Peter Taglianetti. Minnesota hung on for the next ten minutes before Lemieux scored shorthanded at 12:19 from defenseman Murphy. Mullen then put Minnesota on the ropes with a goal from Taglianetti and Stevens just 55 seconds later for a 3-0 lead after the first period.

The North Stars kept the Penguins off the scoreboard for the first half of the second period with Bryan Hayward now in goal, but could not solve Barrasso. Bob Erry then scored from Jagr and Lemieux at 13:15 before Francis made it 5-0 1:13 later from Mullen. If Minnesota had any hope remaining of coming back, those thoughts were crushed with Mullen scored from Stevens and Samuelsson at 18:44 to put Pittsburgh up by 6 at the end of the second period.

Jim Paek then scored at 1:29 of the third period from Lemieux, chasing Hayward from the nets as Casey returned to the crease. Finally, the slaughter was complete with Murphy converted a power play from Lemieux at 13:45 to make the final score 8-0 and secure the Penguins first Stanley Cup.

1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins celebrate their 1991 Stanley Cup victory

Lemieux was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as a much deserving playoff MVP after leading Pittsburgh in scoring with 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points in 23 games after playing in just 26 regular season games after returning to the ice in January.

Lemieux 1991 Cup

Today's jersey is a 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux jersey featuring the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals patch, worn only during that season's 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 of the NFL and baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates won world championships in both the Super Bowl and World Series 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.

Finally, after 22 years away, the Penguins brought back their Stanley Cup winning jersey as an alternate jersey for the 2014-15 season. After two seasons as their third jersey, the Penguins promoted their throwback to once again be their primary jersey for the 2016-17 season, which also saw a return of the white version as their new road jersey.

Pittsburgh Penguins 1990-91 SCF jersey photo PittsburghPenguins1990-91SCFRF.jpg
Pittsburgh Penguins 1990-91 SCF jersey photo PittsburghPenguins1990-91SCFRB.jpg
Pittsburgh Penguins 1990-91 SCF jersey photo PittsburghPenguins1990-91SCFRP.jpg

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.

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