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This day in Pens’ playoff history: Letang’s first playoff goal comes in overtime in 2009

Pittsburgh avoided a 3-0 series hole against the Capitals thanks to Kris Letang on this day in 2009.

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Penguins May 6 all-time record: 2-3

Wins: Beat the Islanders 3-1 in Game 3 back in 1993, and as we’ll see below, took a 3-2 OT win at home against Washington.

Losses: Lost 4-2 in 2017 to the Capitals and 3-2 in 2010 to Montreal. Both of these were Game 3s, and the Penguins fell in a 2-1 hole after both. They also lost 5-4 back in 1995 to the Capitals in Game 1.


The game to highlight in today’s Penguins’ playoff history lesson takes us back to the magical year of 2009, which of course was the first Stanley Cup in the Sidney Crosby-era for Pittsburgh.

But the Penguins entered May 6, 2009 a world away from a Stanley Cup, as they were down two games to none to the Washington Capitals.

Alex Ovechkin would open the scoring just 1:23 in as the series shifted to Pittsburgh, putting the Penguins in quite the hole. Ruslan Fedotenko would score in the second period to knot the game at one apiece.

Evgeni Malkin scored a power play goal with just under five minutes left in the third period, making it look like a thrilling Pittsburgh win. But then Pascal Dupuis took an interference penalty with 2:28 left, gifting Nicklas Backstrom a goal just 38 seconds into the power play to tie the game with just 1:50 left in regulation.

The Penguins and Capitals would head to overtime in what basically was a “must win” game for the good guys without being a total must win, as surrendering the OT goal would give Washington a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Pittsburgh would find that next goal, with Sidney Crosby winning an o-zone faceoff back to the point and Mark Eaton tapping it over for a just turned 22-year-old Kris Letang to score his first ever NHL playoff goal. Pittsburgh escaped with the 3-2 victory.

The Hockey-Reference page for this game shows an absolutely brilliant performance by Malkin (who led the game with 11 individual Corsi events) as well as a 75 percent Corsi For percentage. Crosby, fittingly, had an 87 percent Corsi night and was all over the offensive zone. Sergei Gonchar also was dominant, controlling 84.6 percent of the shots on a night where Pittsburgh in general was dominant, out-shooting the Caps 42-23 overall.

Pittsburgh would use this game to win seven of its next eight games after May 6 to defeat Washington and Carolina, and wrap up the Eastern Conference for 2009.