Pens Win Second Stanley Cup Title - 20th Anniversary
Friday, 06.01.2012 / 6:00 AM / Features
By Sam Kasan
On June 1, 1992, 20 years ago on this day, the Pittsburgh Penguins won their second of back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with a four-game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks. Here is a look back at the memorable series.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won their second consecutive Prince of Wales trophy in 1992 after a four-game sweep of the Boston Bruins. The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins were looking to win back-to-back NHL titles.
The Penguins, led by head coach Scotty Bowman, would go head-to-head with the Chicago Blackhawks in the ’92 Stanley Cup Final. Pittsburgh entered the series with seven straight wins, while the Hawks were coming off 11 consecutive victories. The series seemed to be between two foes that could not be stopped.
GAME 1 – PITTSBURGH 5, CHICAGO 4
Arguably the most dramatic game in Penguins’ history took place at Civic Arena on May 26, 1992 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Blackhawks jumped out to a 4-1 lead and it appeared that Chicago would ring up its 12th straight playoff win. However, that’s when everything seemed to turn in the Penguins’ favor.
Rick Tocchet sparked the Pittsburgh offense when he deflected a shot past goaltender Ed Belfour to make it a 4-2 contest. The captain, Mario Lemieux, would make it a one-goal game when his shot, from below the goal line, fooled Belfour. The puck banked off the Chicago netminders’ pad and into the goal.
With under five minutes to go in the third period and the Penguins trailing 4-3, Jaromir Jagr pulled out one of the most remarkable individual efforts in NHL history. Coming off the near wall, Jagr stick handled through three Blackhawks and snapped off a wicked backhander through Belfour to tie the game at 4-4.
But the Penguins’ theatrics weren’t over yet. With 17.2 seconds remaining in the third period and Pittsburgh on a power play, both teams lined up for a faceoff inside the Chicago zone. What happened next is the type of big-stage heroics that Penguins fans will talk about forever. Ron Francis won the draw back to Larry Murphy at the point. Murphy’s shot was kicked aside by Befour. Unfortunately for Chicago, the puck traveled perfectly onto the blade of Lemieux. And the greatest player in NHL history made no mistake in burying his shot to give Pittsburgh a 5-4 lead with 12.6 seconds left.
GAME 2 – PITTSBURGH 3, CHICAGO 1
The second contest between the Penguins and Blackhawks was much tighter than the opening affair, but the result was the same. On the power of two Lemieux goals, a shorthanded tally from Bob Errey and strong goaltending by Tom Barrasso, the Penguins left Pittsburgh with a 2-0 series lead as the Final shifted to Chicago.
GAME 3 – PITTSBURGH 1, CHICAGO 0
Barrasso carried his dominant performance in Game 2 into Game 3 at Chicago Stadium. Looking confident and acrobatic, Barrasso swallowed up every puck that was sent his way, including several highlight reel saves.
Kevin Stevens scored the only goal of the game. That was all that was needed. Barrasso made 27 saves and denied five Chicago power-play opportunities to backstopp the victory.
The Penguins were one win away from repeating as NHL champions.
GAME 4 – PITTSBURGH 6, CHICAGO 5
After two closely contested games, Game 4 would be a wide-open affair. Jagr, Stevens and Lemieux would score in the first period as both teams skated to a 3-3 tie after 20 minutes. After Pittsburgh’s second goal, Chicago head coach Mike Keenan pulled Belfour in favor of Dominik Hasek, but the result wasn’t much different.
Tocchet and Murphy tallied to give the Penguins a 5-4 lead. It was Francis who would ice the finishing touches on the Penguins’ second Stanley Cup championship in two seasons. Carrying the puck down the far side, Francis snapped a puck through the body of Hasek to make it a 6-4 game.
Though the Hawks would add one more goal before the final whistle, when the horn sounded it was Barrasso high stepping in his crease as the Penguins celebrated another championship.
Lemeiux was awarded his second straight Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. Despite missing six games with injury, Lemieux led all players in postseason scoring with 34 points (16G-18A).