How the Pittsburgh Penguins won the 1991 Prince of Wales Trophy

Pittsburgh Penguins, Phil Bourque. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Phil Bourque. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Boston Bruins in 6 games to win the 1991 Prince of Wales Trophy. Here is a look back at how they did it.

With a 5-3 victory in game 6 of the 1991 Prince of Wales Finals, the Pittsburgh Penguins earned their first trip to the Stanley Finals. The series featured powerful performances from the Penguins supporting cast and for at least one of the players involved, things would never be the same.

Early Series Pains

Game 3

The Penguins were down two games to none, and if they were looking to mount a comeback in the series, their two main objectives had to be to neutralize Cam Neely and rattle goaltender Andy Moog.

Both of those objectives were clearly met in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 victory, but not in the way either club expected.

Ulf Samuelsson was tasked with shadowing Neely and did whatever he could to turn him into a non-factor in the game. Following a controversial knee-on-knee hit by Samuelsson, Neely left the game with a “suspected” charley horse. Boston also lost Dave Poulin who left the game with a pulled groin.

Following a three-goal second period, Moog did not return for the third period, after being diagnosed with dehydration from the flu, and was replaced by Reggie Lemelin.

Lemelin made 12 saves in the relief appearance.

Kevin Stevens, Grant Jennings, Ron Francis, and Lemieux were the goal scorers for the Penguins, as they secured their first victory in the series.

Game 4

With the Penguins focused on pulling equal in the series, the Bruins seemed more interested in equalling another score.

Following the hit on Neely (who played in game 4), the Bruins added some fresh legs into the lineup for game 4, deploying  Lyndon Byers. It was the first time Byers saw the ice since Dec. 20, 1990.

Byers wasted little time getting into the mix of things and finished the game with 10 minutes in penalties (PIM). Chris Nilan finished with 13 PIM and gave Lemieux hard slash across the hands with three minutes left in the third period.

Pittsburgh played another solid game and earned another 4-1 victory to tie the series up. Bob Errey, Joe Mullen, Stevens, and Lemieux were the goal scorers for the Penguins, as the team continued to get goal support from the bottom half of the lineup.

Making it up

Game 5

The Bruins faced a home-grown threat in their attempt to jump ahead in the series in Brockton, Mass. native, Stevens.

In one of the Penguins most sound defeats in the 1991 playoffs and one of the biggest games of his career, Stevens scored two goals and added three assists, in Pittsburgh’s 7-2 victory.

The win gave the Penguins a 3-2 series lead, as Boston struggled to maintain the style of play that got them wins earlier in the series.

Coming into game 5, the Bruins had played 18 games in 37 days and the cracks were beginning to show.

If the Bruins were to push back in game 6 they had to abandon the new ideology they adopted following the Neely hit in game 3.

Game 6

The Bruins got off to a strong start earning a 2-0 lead, but as quickly as they gained the lead they watched it dissolve, as Pittsburgh battled back on goals from Larry Murphy and Phil Bourque.

The Penguins added three more goals, capturing the game and their first Prince of Wales Trophy with a 5-3 victory. The win also secured Pittsburgh’s first appearance in a Stanley Cup Final.

With no points in the game, Stevens had a 10-game scoring streak broken.