It seems everywhere I turn there are great articles about the Pittsburgh Penguins Top 10. Wanted to share them with all of you fans out there that may not have seen them.
Tribune-Review Penguins beat reporter Rob Rossi offers his Top 10 moments from a memorable 2007-08 Penguins season:
Penguins’ Top 10 2007-08 moments
|By The Tribune-Review
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Nov. 22, 2007: Their season possibly on the brink of disarray, the Penguins rallied from 2-0 deficit in Ottawa to defeat the Senators, 6-5, in a shootout. It was a most pleasant Thanksgiving, even though they spent it in Canada, where the holiday is celebrated a month earlier. The Penguins, hyped as Stanley Cup contenders in the preseason, entered this game with an 8-11-2 record. They went 39-16-5 after this win in Ottawa, which players credited as a turning point.
Dec. 23, 2007: A sellout crowd at Mellon Arena watched the Penguins down the Boston Bruins, 4-2. That sellout crowd was a franchise-record 31st in a row at home, where they would play to capacity in each of their 52 contests, including 11 playoff games. A first-ever season-ticket waiting list now tops 1,000, and the Penguins have played before 67 consecutive sellout crowds.
Jan. 1, 2008: More than 71,000 fans – many wearing Penguins’ throwback-themed baby blue replica sweaters – packed Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., to watch the Penguins defeat the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1, at the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic. The league’s first outdoor game staged in the United States was a smash rating success for NBC, which enjoyed the made-for-TV moment that was Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scoring the shootout-clinching goal.
Jan. 18, 2008: The Penguins entered this home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on an 18-5-1 stretch since Nov. 21, finally looking like the Stanley Cup contenders they were predicted to be before the season. But they watched in horror as captain Sidney Crosby slid skates-first into the boards at Mellon Arena. His diagnosed injury – a right high-ankle sprain – would keep him out 21 consecutive games. The Penguins would go 11-6-4 in those contests thanks to 14 goals and 36 points from center Evgeni Malkin.
Feb. 26, 2008: General manager Ray Shero made the boldest move of his two-year tenure, sending popular forwards Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen, top prospect Angelo Esposito and a 2008 first-round draft pick to Atlanta for star right wing Marian Hossa and forward Pascal Dupuis. Shero also acquired veteran defenseman Hal Gill from Toronto for a second-round pick. Hossa, Dupuis and Gill transformed the Penguins into a top penalty-killing team, and Hossa’s 26 playoff points held fuel the Penguins’ run to the Stanley Cup final.
April 2, 2008: Captain Sidney Crosby scored two goals in the Penguins’ 4-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at Mellon Arena. The Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division title – their first division title since the 1997-98 season. The Penguins would finish the regular season 47-27-8 with 102 points, second overall in the Eastern Conference. Another celebration at the expense of the Flyers was yet to come.
April 9, 2008: Looking to set a tone against an Ottawa Senators club that eliminated them from the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Penguins opened this first-round postseason rematch with a 4-0 victory at Mellon Arena. Veteran left wing Gary Roberts – the Senators’ long-time playoff nemesis – scored his lone two playoff goals, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recorded the first of his three postseason shutouts. The Penguins would sweep the Senators, making for sweet revenge.
April 25, 2008: The New York Rangers surged to a 3-0 lead in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series. Game over? Hardly. The Penguins rallied to tie the score and ultimately won the game on center Evgeni Malkin’s power-play goal with 1:41 remaining in regulation. Series over? Pretty much. The Rangers never recovered, and the Penguins would win the best-of-seven series, 4-1.
GO HOME, FLYERS!
May 18, 2008: An Eastern Conference final that was hotly anticipated due to the animosity between Pennsylvania’s two NHL teams was ended emphatically by the Penguins with a 6-0 win in Game 5 at Mellon Arena. Silver strands of confetti fell to the ice as time expired on the Flyers, and the Penguins celebrated their first trip to the Stanley Cup final since 1992. Captain Sidney Crosby refused to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy – an indication of his focus on the Cup.
IT’S NOT OVER-TIME
June 2, 2008: Facing elimination in the Stanley Cup final, the Penguins stormed the Detroit Red Wings early at Joe Louis Arena. But their 2-0 lead became a 3-2 deficit with 34.3 seconds remaining. That’s when forward Max Talbot – the extra attacker with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleur pulled – scored to tie it and force overtime. Nearly three full extra periods later, right wing Petr Sykora scored a power-play goal at 9:57 of triple overtime for a 4-3 win that extended the Cup final to a sixth game. Fleury starred, stopping 55 shots. The Penguins would lose the series in Game 6, but this game cemented their arrival as true championship contenders.
Eric Kuzmiak (Columnist) from The Bleacher Report gives his 10 Best Moments:
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of the 2007-08 Season
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2007-08 season provided fans with many great moments. Whether it was a memorable game, performance, or transaction, Penguins’ fans were never left longing for something exciting to happen (except of course when the New Jersey Devils were in town).
This is my take on what sticks out as the most memorable Penguin moments of the 2007-08 season.
10. March 9, 2008- Penguins vs. Washington Capitals
This was one of the most entertaining games of the regular season, and really the first time that you imagined a “Crosby vs. Ovechkin” best-of-seven playoff series.
The game, shown on NBC, was about as even as a game could be. Then, late in a 2-2 game, Niklas Backstrom shot a puck into his own net.
The Pens would add an empty-netter and win the game, 4-2. Crosby scored twice, Malkin had three assists, and Fleury made 38 saves.
9. March 16, 2008- Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
It’s always sweet to beat the Flyers. It’s even sweeter to beat them by a six goal margin.
I was at the Igloo for this game and couldn’t have felt any better after watching the Flyers bask in the glory of winning the first four games of the season series. Somewhere deep inside, I was praying for an Eastern Conference Final that pitted these two teams against each other.
Malkin and Sykora each had four point nights, while Marian Hossa scored his first goal in a Penguins’ uniform as the Pens beat their cross-state rivals, 7-1.
8. January 3, 2008- Penguins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Ty Conklin earned his fifth consecutive victory, and the juggernaut that was the Penguins’ offense from January until mid-March was on full display in this game.
Evgeni Malkin recorded the first hat trick of his career, while Ruutu and Darcy Tucker dropped the mits for one of the longest, most entertaining hockey fights I have ever witnessed.
The Pens won, 6-2, but seeing Darcy Tucker bleed at the hands of the Finnish Crash took the cake as the moment of the night.
7. April 2, 2008- Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
The Pens won this game, 4-2. Sid put on a dominant performance by netting a pair of goals and adding an assist. Malkin added a goal and an assist. Sergei Gonchar capped off another stellar season with a goal and two assists.
But individual statistics were the last things people wanted to read about in the game recap. On this night, the Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division title, and put themselves in position to win the Eastern Conference later in the week.
They didn’t succeed on the first place Conference finish, however, the playoffs would prove that they were the Beasts of the East.
6. May 18, 2008- Penguins vs. Flyers- Eastern Conference Final Game 5
Remember back in moment #9 when i said “it’s always sweet to beat the Flyers, but it’s even sweeter to beat them by a six goal margin”? Well, this game added “– and clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals” to the end of that sentence.
The Penguins dominated every aspect of this game. After a 4-2 win in Philadelphia in Game 4, the Flyers and their fans were on top of the world. How sweet it was to see gravity grab them by the balls and slam them back to ground level.
The Pens won the game, 6-0, and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since the 1991-92 season.
5. April 16, 2008- Penguins vs. Senators- Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Game 4
This game fulfilled every Penguins’ player, coach, and fan’s year-long desire for revenge against the Ottawa Senators.
The Senators ran over the Penguins in the post season last year, but this year would be different.
The Penguins dominated the Senators in the series, earning the four game sweep on this night. Bryan Murray is “thtill tho upthet that my thenatorth got thwept.”
4. February 26, 2008- The Trade Deadline
Penguins’ GM Ray Shero made the biggest splash on deadline day by acquiring the biggest superstar he could get.
The Penguins lost one of the biggest fan-favorites on the team, Colby Armstrong, along with Erik Christensen, who had worked his way up through the Penguins’ minor league system before becoming a staple in the lineup for the NHL club. They also traded away newly-drafted Angelo Esposito.
Though it was hard to see some fan-favorites leave, most everyone realized that Shero had traded away Armstrong, Christensen and Espo’s potential, and a draft pick for one of the best scoring wingers in the league.
What they got in return would prove well worth what they gave up. Marian Hossa became Crosby’s right hand man, and provided the scoring touch on the wing that Sid had longed for his whole career. The Pens may have still advanced to the Finals without Hossa, but I guarantee they wouldn’t have done it so easily.
Pascal Dupuis and Hal Gill added both a veteran presence along with a much needed boost on the penalty kill. Hal Gill’s size soon led to him earning the nickname “The USS Hal Gill” from the Pensblog, indicating his resemblance to an aircraft carrier.
3. January 1, 2008- Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres- The Winter Classic
Perhaps the biggest spectacle ever put on by the NHL was a huge success. The ice wasn’t great, but the action and the atmosphere were. Regardless of the numerous 10-minute stoppages in play to groom the ice surface, just the fact that you were watching professional hockey being played the way that hockey in general was intended to be played (basically on a frozen pond) brought about a great feeling to all fans of hockey.
Colby Armstrong scored in the opening seconds of the game, and the Sabres responded later to force an overtime, and eventually a shootout.
It seemed only fitting that the outcome of the game that was the most publicized spectacle in NHL history would ultimately be decided by the game’s biggest superstar. Sidney Crosby, newly-crowned NHL poster boy, had a chance to win the game in the final round of the shootout. The Penguins’ captain did not disappoint. He put a move on Ryan Miller that should have its own holiday, and the Pens won the Winter Classic in stunning fashion.
2. November 22, 2007- Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators
A recurring theme with this Crosby-era Penguin team over the past three seasons has been: relentlessness. Whether it means playing until the final buzzer sounds in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, or having to come back from two separate two goal deficits on Thanksgiving night, the words “give up” don’t exist in these young Penguins vernacular.
Many people feel that this game, played on Thanksgiving night, was the turning point in the season for the Penguins. Coming into the game, they had posted a 9-11-2 record and were sitting amongst the basement dwellers of the Eastern Conference.
They fell behind by two goals on two separate occasions during this game. But each time, the Penguins refused to give up. Coming off of goals by Malkin, Kennedy, Gonchar, and two by Malone, the Penguins were able to force overtime, and then a shootout.
The Penguins were stellar in the shootout all season long. This night was no different. It was Jarkko Ruutu who pulled his patented leg kick fake forehand shot, deke to backhand out once again to propel the Penguins to victory.
They never looked back.
1. June 2, 2008- Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings- Stanley Cup Final Game 5
By far the most memorable performance of the season for the Penguins. Their never say die attitudes emerged once again as they tied the game late in regulation, and then won it in overtime to rain on the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup parade just one more time.
Though the Game 5 performance was not enough to propel the Penguins on a comeback of epic proportions, it showed their true character. A roster filled with guys barely enough to buy their own beer played 109 minutes of hockey, and never gave up.
Maxime Talbot scored in the final 35 seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime. I guarantee you not one Red Wings fan was expecting that goal to happen, let alone coming from Mad Max.
The Penguins battled on for nearly another 50 minutes, playing with five defenseman, and mish-mashing their lines in order to get their big guns the maximum amount of ice time.
Finally, nine minutes into the third overtime, Petr Sykora made good on a called shot and gave the Penguins the victory, and life in the series.
For the rest of his career, when people talk about Marc-Andre Fleury, they will talk about Game 6 of the 08 Stanley Cup Finals. Fleury’s performance was other-worldly.
So, that’s it, the most memorable moments of the season. I would love to do a list of about 50 of the most memorable moments, but let’s face it, nobody wants to read a 20 page article.
I know there’s a lot of stuff I left out, which is why I’m hoping everyone will share their favorite memorable moments of the season by commenting at the end of the article.
2007-08 was a great ride. But, it has to come to an end sometime, and what better time than now? This is my final recap of the 07-08 season. It is time to focus on the looming offseason, and start to get ready for the drop of the puck in early October.
And as always, Let’s Go Pens.
Okay……….and I thought there was one I read by Bob Smizik in the Post-Gazette listing his top ten, but I can’t seem to find that one. But…………here is a great one by Ron Cook, found in the Post-Gazette: