Pittsburgh Penguins History: Recapping the 1991 Stanley Cup Final

Pittsburgh Penguins, Mario Lemieux. Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Allsport
Pittsburgh Penguins, Mario Lemieux. Mandatory Credit: Allsport /Allsport /

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota North Stars battled for the 1991 Stanley Cup, here’s a look back at a few things you may not have known about their series.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have forged an aura of excellence during their 50 plus years in the NHL, and it “officially” began with their capture of the 1991 Stanley Cup.

Here’s a look back at 5 things you didn’t know about the 1991 Stanley Cup Final.

One and Not Done

With a 5-4 loss in game one of the finals vs. Stars, the Penguins record dropped to 0-4 in the opening game of each series in the playoffs.

The Penguins lost the games by scores of:

  • 3-1 vs. New Jersey (Round 1)
  • 4-2 vs. Washington (Round 2)
  • 6-3 vs. Boston (Round 3)

The good news for Pittsburgh was that except for a 5-4 overtime loss to Boston in round 3, they were able to bounce back and claim a victory in the second game of each series.

  • 5-4 vs. New Jersey (Round 1)
  • 7-6 vs. Washington (Round 2)
  • 4-1 vs. Minnesota (Round 4)

The New Guards

The Penguins entered the Cup final with a rebuilt defensive core that featured just a few players that were with the team from the opening of the season.

One of the most crucial additions of the lineup was Ulf Samuelsson.

Samuelsson added a much needed physical edge that made opposing forwards think twice before making a play and no matter where you stand on whether the knee-on-knee hit to Cam Neely in game 3 of the conference finals was clean or not, it’s undeniable that the hit was a series changer.

Along with Samuelsson, the Penguins made the following additions during the season.

Only Paul Stanton and Paul Coffey and Paek were with the team from the onset of training camp. It is worth noting that Paek played in just three regular-season games before joining Canada’s National Team.

More Than the Save

Frank Pietrangelo altered Penguins fortunes with “The Save”  on Peter Stastny in game 6 of their opening-round series vs. Devils, and then again with shut-out in game 7 to lock the series up.

However, it was a strong performance in game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals that solidified his importance to Pittsburgh’s capture of the Stanley Cup.

Pietrangelo made 15 saves on 18 shots in 40 minutes of work, which helped Pittsburgh grind out a 6-4 win and take a 3-2 series lead.

A Flurry of Goals

After Mario Lemieux missed game three with back spasms and the Penguins dropped the game 3-1, Pittsburgh needed a huge response to avoid going down 3-1 in the series.  

A theme that developed during the playoffs was Pittsburgh’s ability to score goals in bunches, then lay back and let Barrasso/Pieterangelo hold the lead.

That story replayed In the first period of game four, as the Penguins scored three goals in 120 seconds.

The Sin Bin

Referee Andy Van Hellemond was not in the mood for any antics during game two of the finals.

Penguins and North Stars combined for 83 minutes in penalties (PIM), with Pittsburgh taking the lion share of 54 PIM.

Pittsburgh offenders:

What are some of your favorite memories from the Pittsburgh Penguins Cup run? Drop them in the comment box below!