Pittsburgh Penguins Time Capsules: Most Villainous Playoff Opponents

Pittsburgh Penguins, Phil Kessel. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Phil Kessel. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Penguins have faced some formidable foes in the playoffs through the years, but here is a look back at the players that caused the most pain and racked up lots of points along the way.

If you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins then you will probably know the heroic names of Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin. But for every hero, someone at the opposite end of the spectrum that is waiting to oppose their mighty forces.

Here is a look back at some of the most villainous playoff opponents (by points) of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ray Bourque

One of the most effective weapons the Boston Bruins deployed against the Penguins was hall-of-fame defensemen, Ray Bourque.

Bourque played three series against the Penguins from 1980-92 all with Boston and collected four goals and 18 points in 14 games played (GP).

1980 – 8 points in five GP (won series)
1991 – 9 points in six GP (lost series)
1992 – 1 point in three GP (lost series)

Although Bourque and the Bruins only defeated the Penguins in their 1980 series, Bourque was still an effective defender who was a threat any time he was on the ice.

Unless you count that time when Lemieux undressed Bourque for a shorthanded goal during the 1992 Conference Finals.

Jaromir Jagr

Though his NHL days are behind him, Jaromir Jagr remains an active player to this day. Jagr’s induction in the hockey hall of fame is a no-brainer at this point and It is only a matter of time until Pittsburgh’s prodigal son returns to the city the drafted him.

With that being said, there is nothing like facing your old team, especially in the postseason.

Jagr faced the Penguins in the playoffs with three different clubs (Bruins, Philidelphia Flyers, New York Rangers) and scored four goals and 17 points in 15 games.

2008 – Rangers – 7 points in five GP (lost series)
2012 – Flyers – 7 points in six GP (won series)
2013 – Bruins – 3  points in four GP (won series)

Random Facts

  • Jagr registered two game-winning-goals against the Penguins, on May 1, 2008, with the Rangers, and Apr. 13, 2012 with the Flyers.
  • Jagr averaged 17 minutes and 55 seconds of ice time per game.
  • Jagr put 10 shots on net in a game on Apr. 29, 2008, with the Rangers.

Claude Giroux

Whether you love him, hate him, or love to hate him, there is no denying that Flyers forward Giroux is one of the most villainous players to ever face the Penguins in the playoffs.

Just look no further than Giroux’s performance in the 2012 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals where he led a one-man mission to wipe the Penguins out from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With six points in game 2 of their 2012 series and six goals and 14 total points, through the six-game series, Giroux looked poised to surpass Crosby as the top Canadian player in the NHL.

While the latter never happened, Giroux’s 9 goals and 22 points in 18 GP vs. the Penguins, put him at number three on our list,

  • 2009 – 5 points in six GP (lost series)
  • 2012 – 12 points in six GP (won series)
  • 2018 – 3 points in six GP (won series)

John LeClair

It is a shame that Lemieux’s first farewell tour in ran into the Philadelphia Flyers in 1997.

LeClair proved his villainy when he netted the game-winning-goal (GWG) in games one, three, and in the series-clinching game (five) of the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, leaving the Penguins and Lemieux in the wake of his destruction.

LeClair wasn’t done there, he added another series-clinching GWG in Game 6 of the Penguins and Flyers series in 2000.

Overall, LeClair appeared in 11 playoff games in two series (1997 and 2000) against the Penguins and scored 7 goals and 11 points.

LeClair is not the only player to register four GWG’s vs. the Penguins in the playoffs, Peter Bondra also achieved the feat, however, Bondra’s were spread across four series, making LeClair’s more lethal.

Alex Ovechkin

It should be no surprise that Ovechkin made the top of our list. Crosby and Ovechkin have made headlines over the years and when you add a dash of Malkin into the mix and you get a trio that will forever be intertwined with each other.

Ovechkin has scored 15 goals and 33 points in 26 GP vs. the Penguins in the Playoffs, which makes him the most Villainous player.

Ovechkin has had three, three-point games and seven, two-point games. Ovechkin has failed to register a point in six of 26 games against the Penguins.

Overall:

  • 2009 – 14 points in seven GP (lost series)
  • 2016 – 7 points in six GP (lost series)
  • 2017 – 5 points in seven GP (lost series)
  • 2018 – 7 points in six GP (won series)

Ovechkin is not the only Capitals player that has tried to torment the Penguins in the playoffs, as eight of the top 10 point-getters against the Penguins wore Capitals colors.

Who do you think is the biggest villain against the Pittsburgh Penguins?

Drop them in the comment section below.