Timeline: The History of the Pittsburgh Penguins
As the team begins its 50th anniversary season, a look back through pictures and videos of the big moments in the Pens' first 49 years.
Photo courtesy of pittsburghOckey.net
Dec. 2, 1925 The first NHL game played in Pittsburgh sees the Pittsburgh Pirates lose to the New York Americans, 2-1, in overtime at Duquesne Gardens. The team would stick around until 1929, when it would relocate to Philadelphia; the NHL wouldn’t return to the Steel City for nearly 40 years.
PHOTO COURTESY OF PITTSBURGHOCKEY.NET
Oct. 11, 1967 The Pittsburgh Penguins officially enter the NHL with a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. On Oct. 21, the Penguins would become the first expansion team to defeat an “Original Six” team, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.
Spring 1970 The Penguins qualify for the NHL playoffs for the first time. They sweep the Oakland Seals in the opening round before being eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in six games.
Spring 1984 The Penguins manage three separate six-game losing streaks in the last 21 games of the season to finish with a record of 16-58-6 — earning the year’s No. 1 draft pick. They select Mario Lemieux.
Oct. 11, 1984 Lemieux scores on the first shot of his first shift, kicking off his legendary Penguins career with instant impact.
June 16, 1990 The Penguins select Jaromir Jagr in the first round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, providing Lemieux with a winger that instantly makes the Penguins’ first line (along with Ron Francis) among the most effective in history.
May 25, 1991 The Penguins defeat the Minnesota North Stars by a score of 8-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, earning the franchise’s first-ever championship. They later would be the first NHL team invited to celebrate a Cup win at the White House.
Nov. 26, 1991 Robert “Badger Bob” Johnson, head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, dies of brain cancer in Colorado Springs, Colo. When his team captured the Stanley Cup only six months prior, he became the first U.S.-born head coach to hoist the Cup since World War II.
June 1, 1992 The Penguins complete a four-game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks with a 6-5 victory, winning a second consecutive Stanley Cup.
April 6, 1997 Mario Lemieux announces his impending retirement from professional hockey … for the first time. Two years later, he’d become part-owner of the club.
Dec. 27, 2000 Lemieux returns to the lineup as an owner-player, notching a goal and two assists against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Spring 2002 For the first time in 12 seasons, the Penguins fail to make the NHL playoffs. The subsequent seasons would be among the worst in franchise history.
July 30, 2005 With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the Penguins select Sidney Crosby, setting the stage for the team’s resurgence.
Jan. 24, 2006 Mario Lemieux announces his retirement from professional hockey … again. This one would stick.
June 12, 2009 After 17 years away from the Stanley Cup, the Penguins defeat the Detroit Red Wings in seven games to claim a third championship.
Spring/summer 2014 After a disappointing exit from the playoffs, the Penguins fire general manager Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma. Shero is replaced by Jim Rutherford; Mike Johnston replaces Bylsma.
Dec. 12, 2015 With the team underperforming, the Penguins fire Johnston and replace him with Mike Sullivan, a former head coach of the Boston Bruins who was coaching the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the time.
April 2, 2016 After a five-game winning streak, the Penguins clinch a 10th consecutive playoff berth.
June 12, 2016 The Penguins defeat the San Jose Sharks, 3-1, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals to secure a fourth championship.
Oct. 13, 2016 The Penguins begin their 50th anniversary season with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.