Echoing the sentiments of Hooks and Robbie, I’d like to send a thank you to everyone who has helped Pensburgh become not only one of the best SBNation Hockey blogs, but also one of the best Penguins blogs on the interwebs. 2018 will bring tons of good content for everyone to enjoy.
Without further ado, let’s look at some prolific Penguins memories.
5. [May 10, 2017] - The Flower Blooms On The Game’s Biggest Stage
Hooks previously touched on this moment, but when I think back to this Cup run, the first thing that comes to mind is the play of Marc-Andre Fleury. When Matt Murray went down in the first series against the Blue Jackets, it was the veteran Fleury who came to relieve Murray for the time being.
Presumably knowing his fate was sealed and he was being picked by the Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft later in the summer, this truly was the last hurrah for The Flower. He gave everything he had to the Penguins during this run.
It was fitting that Fleury made 29 saves to shut out the dreaded Washington Capitals in a Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
4. [March 21, 2017] - Sidney’s Statue Goal?
How many people in the world can do what Sidney Crosby did in this game against the Buffalo Sabres? A one-handed backhand goal while the rest of the Sabres use all of their might to try and stop Sid. This goal was made all the more sweet when you take into consideration that the Penguins clinched a playoff berth with this 3-1 win.
When Sidney Crosby decides to call it a career (hopefully in another 10-15 years or so), a statue of this goal should be erected right next to Mario Lemieux’s outside of PPG Paints Arena.
3. [April 16, 2017] - Guentzel Gets Three In Game Three
The “infusion of youth” is often used when describing reasons why the Penguins have won the last two Stanley Cups. In 2016, it was Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, Matt Murray, and others who came into focus as recently-appointed head coach, Mike Sullivan, began to craft a Stanley Cup-winning team.
While these players were instrumental in the 2016 run, perhaps no one personified this infusion in 2017 more than Jake Guentzel. After a historic NHL debut in November of 2016, Guentzel went on to become a regular in the top-six, playing alongside Sidney Crosby in the “Sid and the Kids” line.
Guentzel also finished with a tremendous postseason, playing in 25 games, scoring 13 goals, and rounding out with 21 points.
This was my favorite Guentzel postseason highlight. Downing the Blue Jackets in Game 3 of the first-round series with a hat trick. He certainly showed everyone that he belonged in the big leagues.
2. [June 11, 2017] PPG Paints Arena “Stanley Cup Watch Party”
Going into Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, I had felt rather confident, but not convinced that the Penguins could do it. Knowing that they had the chance to come back home for a Game 7 eased the doubt I had in my mind if the Penguins were to lose in Nashville on this night.
My family bought tickets to go to this “watch party” at PPG Paints Arena knowing what was at stake. You don’t need me to explain the rest.
The arena’s atmosphere was one I’ll never forget. It was pretty darn packed for people just watching a game on a scoreboard. Then, with less than two minutes to go...
The arena erupted and filled with so much elation and excitement. People were running, high-fiving, and screaming everywhere. When the horn sounded, I knew I had witnessed something pretty special. But maybe not as suspenseful as...
1. [May 25, 2017] - The 2OT Winner
This was such a spur of the moment thing. I decided the night before: “I want to watch this Game 7, but I want to experience this first-hand.” I had never been to any sort of Game 7. Everyone knows they’re the best thing any sport offers. This did not disappoint.
So, I bought a ticket that night. Section 226, Row L, Seat 15.
The Senators rode Craig Anderson all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. The series was so tight. I knew if the Senators got out to a lead they would do anything to preserve it. Meanwhile, whenever the Penguins tried to do the same, the Senators would not die.
So, of course the two teams were deadlocked at 2 after regulation time. A winner-take-all overtime in Game 7? No anxiety there whatsoever. When the first 20-minute OT session was over, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.
They played on into 2OT. Every shot could have been the last. Sidney Crosby to Chris Kunitz was the one.
I had never seen a moment quite like this. I had never heard such a sound come from so many people. It was pure magic. This sea of yellow erupted into a beautiful chaos.
I debated on switching out #1 and #2 given what was at stake for both games, but the 2OT winner was excruciatingly dramatic knowing there was no tomorrow for one side.
Like my fellow writers said before me, these are just five out of countless great memories from this calendar year. I am sure I am forgetting many other great moments the Penguins have provided.
If you agree (or disagree) or have other memorable moments from 2017, please share them in the comments below.