Pittsburgh Penguins History: Reliving the Longest Game in 60 Years

Pittsburgh Penguins, Petr Nedved. Mandatory Credit: Nevin Reid /Allsport
Pittsburgh Penguins, Petr Nedved. Mandatory Credit: Nevin Reid /Allsport /

On Apr. 24, 1996, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals took part in the longest hockey game in 60 years, Here is a look back at a few things you may not have known about the game.

When Petr Nedved scored the winning goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins with less than a minute left in the fourth overtime period, the game became the longest hockey game in 60 years and fell short of matching the six overtime games that occurred in 1933 and 1935.

In honor of the Penguins triumphant victory, here is a look back at a few things that you may have forgotten about the game.

Just a Shot Away

Following Chris Tamer‘s “intentional” dislodging of the Penguins net 15:44 into the second overtime, Joe Juneau was awarded the first overtime penalty shot in NHL history.

Wregget benefited from a bouncing puck, that Juneau was not able to gain full control of, which hindered his shot and kept the game squared up.

Juneau’s shot was the fourth penalty shot in Capitals playoff history (0 for 4) and 30th in league history.  Of those 30 attempts, only 10 shooters were successful.

Break the Spell

Jaromir Jagr ended a two-week dry spell, by scoring his first goal (short-handed) of the series to cut the Capitals lead to 2-1 in the game.

Jagr also earned the secondary assist on Nedved’s winner and finished the series with three goals and 9 points in 6 games played.

A Hero Arrives

When Tom Barrasso exited the game with back spasms after the first period, Ken Wregget had no choice but to shake off the rust to keep the Penguins in the series. Wregget’s last game on Apr. 10, 1996, in a 6-2 loss to the New York Islanders.

Wregget’s 53 saves ranks third after Marc-Andre Fleury (55) and Ron Tugnutt (70) on the Penguins all-time for most saves in a playoff overtime game.

Wregget played in 9 more games in the playoffs and compiled a record of 7-2 with a goals-against-average of 2.30, prior to Barrasso taking back the net in Conference Finals vs. Florida.

The Pizza Man

The Penguins had to play the final 5 periods of the hockey game without the services of Lemieux, who racked up 19 minutes in penalties ( two minutes for slashing, five minutes for fighting, and two minutes for instigating, which carried automatic game misconduct) after lynching Capitals forward Todd Krygier.

With some extra time on his hands and a lot of hungry players to feed, Lemieux got down and greasy and served his teammates Pizza during intermissions.

Destined to Score

Nedved came dangerously close to winning the game early in the second overtime when he got behind the Capitals defenders, but not goaltender Olag Kolzig.

Nedved finished the series with 6 goals with his two biggest goals occurring in game four.

Friend Turned Foe?

The Penguins owed Jim Johnson a huge debt of gratitude for his part in the victory. Johnson appeared in 390 games with Pittsburgh from 1985-1990 and was serving a penalty for Washington when Nedved scored the game-winner.

What were your favorite moments from this Pittsburgh Penguins game and series?