How the Pittsburgh Penguins Lost the 1989 Patrick Division Finals

Pittsburgh Penguins, Phil Bourque, (Photo by Ken Levine/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Phil Bourque, (Photo by Ken Levine/Getty Images) /

On Apr. 29, 1989, the Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated by the Philidelphia Flyers with a 4-1 loss in game 7 of the Patrick Division Final, here is a look back at the series.

When the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philidelphia Flyers met in the 1989 Patrick Division Finals, it marked the first time in postseason history the clubs had met. Here is a look back at the series.

Game 1

The Flyers let the Penguins know early on that this series would have a much different tone, then Pittsburgh’s first-round encounter with the New York Rangers, when they laid a ton of thunderous hits in the opening period.

Losing 3-1 in the second period, the Penguins relied on their supporting cast to provide the offense.

Goals from Dan Quinn and John Cullen 30 seconds apart drew the score even and Rob Brown buried the winning tally with less than seven minutes left in the third period, to give the Penguins a 4-3 lead and 1-0 series lead.

Game 2

Other than the 70-minute delay due to a power outage, Game 2 started in much the same manner as the first game, with the Flyers holding a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period on three goals from Tim Kerr.

Due to flu-like symptoms and a sore collar bone, Penguins goaltender Tom Barrasso was replaced at the beginning of the second period by Wendell Young.

Mario Lemieux brought Pittsburgh to within one goal of tying the game but that’s as close as they would come, Brian Propp added an insurance marker for the Flyers with less than 30 seconds left in the game. Philadelphia won 4-2 and tied the series up at one.

Flip Flop

Game 3

Phil Bourque came one assist short of earning a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” in game 3 after he dropped the gloves with Craig Berube following the opening faceoff, and scored the overtime winner, to give the Penguins a 4-3 victory and 2-1 series lead.

Other memorable moments from the game had Barrasso making 44 saves on 47 shots, Paul Coffey leaving in the second period with a bruised hand, and Lemieux setting a career mark for post earned in a playoff game with three.

Game 4

One of the key strategies that the Flyers used in the series, was to isolate and pummel Lemieux. Lemieux was on the receiving end of some dirty hits and fancy stickwork, in the series to that point, but game 4 proved to be the worst.

Lemieux briefly left the game in the second period following a hit from Kjell Samuelsson and following a “friendly fire” incident with Randy Cunneyworth early in the third, Lemieux left the game for good.

Lemieux was diagnosed with whiplash following the game and his status was up in the air for game 5.

Tim Kerr continued to be the most dangerous Philadelphia skater after he added two more goals to his total, helping the Flyers earn a 4-1 victory and a 2-2 tie in the series.

One For the Books

Game 5

The biggest story from the Penguins 10-7 victory in game 5 of the series, was the offensive wizardry from Lemieux.

Lemieux scored four goals in the first period, added an empty-netter late in the third period, and finished with a total of eight points in the game.

Lemieux’s barrage tied the league records for most goals in one period, most goals in one playoff game and most points in a playoff game.

The Penguins and Flyers (17) came within one goal of matching the NHL record for most goals scored in a playoff game (18) that the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Set in 1982.

Pittsburgh took a 3-2 series led with the win.

Game 6

Kerr continued to be a huge thorn in the Penguins collective sides as he potted two more goals in Philidelphia’s 6-2 win, which evened the series at three games each.

Following his 8 point performance in game 5, Lemieux was held to just one shot in the game, and things looked bleaker for the Penguins after Rob Brown left the game with a charley horse.

The stage was set for one final confrontation, a winner take all game 7.

The End is Near

Game 7

The Penguins thought they had an advantage when it was announced that Ron Hextall had suffered a sprained knee in game 6 of the series and would not be available for the 7th game.

However, Ken Wregget had other plans and put on a stellar performance making 39 saves on 40 shots in the relief appearance. The Flyers won the game 4-1 and the series 4-3.

It was a disappointing end to the Penguins first postseason appearance of the Lemieux era, but the experience it gave the team would begin to lay the groundwork for the success the team was about to taste, and if nothing else, the game proved Wregget could come up clutch, which would prove useful when he joined Pittsburgh a few seasons later.

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