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On This Date in Pens History: Pittsburgh Won Its First Stanley Cup

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May 25, 1991 was a historic day for the team.

Mario Lemieux hoists Pittsburgh’s first Stanley Cup on May 25, 1991. Photo courtesy of NHL.com.

Twenty-seven years ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins ended their Stanley Cup drought of two and a half decades in a decisive Game 6 victory against the Minnesota North Stars.

Game 6 was played at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Minneapolis on May 25, 1991. Pittsburgh came out firing early in the first period and never let the pressure off the struggling North Stars (the precursor to the Dallas Stars).

With nine seconds left on the power play, Ulf Samuelsson scored just two minutes into the first period to give the Penguins the lead. Samuelsson’s nifty puck work ultimately gave Pittsburgh the game-winning goal; the Pens shut out the North Stars through three periods of play.

Mario Lemieux followed suit halfway through the first period with a short-handed goal that left Jon Casey — the North Stars goaltender — dazzled and put the Penguins up 2-0. You can see Lemieux’s slick puck-handling starting at 30 seconds in the video below.

Not to be outdone, five other Penguins scored throughout the game — Joe Mullen, Bob Errey, Ron Francis, Jim Paek, and Larry Murphy. The final score of the game was 8-0. Lemieux picked up three assists through three periods, while Paek and Samuelsson posted a shooting percentage of 100%.

Pittsburgh’s red-hot offense was backed up by their brick wall — excuse me, goaltender — Tom Barrasso in net. Barrasso stopped all 39 shots against him and recorded a perfect shutout.

Meanwhile, the North Stars pulled Casey shortly before the end of the second period and replaced him with Brian Hayward. Through two periods of play, Casey had allowed four goals on 17 shots and had a .765 save percentage. Hayward didn’t fare any better through 22 minutes of play; he allowed four goals on 11 shots and ended the game with a .636 save percentage.

The struggling North Stars tried to battle their way back into the one-sided game, as they scrapped along the boards, at center ice, and in front of the net. Through three periods, the North Stars picked up 28 penalty minutes, while Pittsburgh recorded just 14. Basil McRae of the North Stars spent the most time in the penalty box with 12 minutes for a game misconduct and slashing.

When the final whistle sounded, the Penguins had won the series four games to two and had earned the first Stanley Cup for the franchise.

Sam Kasan of Pens Inside Scoop recapped the iconic moment of Phil Borque with the Cup during the team’s homecoming parade:

“I had no idea what I was going to say when it was my turn at the podium,” Bourque said. “Mike (Lange) said, ‘Bourquey, give ‘em something to remember you by.’ I just walked up to the podium and it just came to me.”

Bourque raised the Cup over his head and yelled: “What do you say we take this down to the river and party all summer!”

In the 27 years since Pittsburgh won their first Stanley Cup, they have earned four more Stanley Cups, have won the Prince of Wales Trophy (awarded to the winner of the Eastern Conference Final) six times, the Presidents’ Trophy (awarded to the highest-scoring team in the league) once, and eight Penguins have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 1991 Stanley Cup was by far the crowning achievement of the franchise to date and was followed by a second Cup in 1992.