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Final Four: Vote on the best Penguins team in history

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It’s getting towards the end, your vote counts to pick the best Pens team ever! See who is still in the running

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Our quarterfinal round has concluded, and now we’re down to the Final Four of our Penguins Madness tournament to decide which team is the best the franchise has ever had.

Needless to say, it’s a battle of super-heavyweights at this point. Each of these teams winning two rounds of competition and looking to advance to our hypothetical finals. Last round we saw two Stanley Cup champions lose (the 1991 and 2017 teams) which just speaks to the strength of what remains.

#1 1991-92 Stanley Cup champions vs. #4 2008-09 Stanley Cup champions

The powerhouse Mario Lemieux-led Pens’ team against the first champion in the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin era..

1992 Stanley Cup Final
Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Champion Victory Parade Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Plenty of pixels have been written about both of these teams in the early rounds, so why not post the lines (or, what lines could have been) to help give a perspective of what could have been..

1991-92 Pens:

Kevin Stevens - Mario Lemieux - Rick Tocchet
Shawn McEachern - Ron Francis - Joe Mullen
Bob Errey- Bryan Trottier - Jaromir Jagr
Phil Bourque - Jiri Hrdina - Troy Loney

Ulf Samuelsson / Larry Murphy
Gordie Roberts / Paul Stanton
Jim Paek / Kjell Samuelsson

—Tom Barrasso (Wendell Young)

Extras: Jock Callander, Grant Jennnings, Jay Caufield

vs.

2008-09 Pens:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Bill Guerin
Ruslan Fedotenko - Evgeni Malkin - Maxime Talbot
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Miroslav Satan - Craig Adams - Pascal Dupuis

Brooks Orpik / Sergei Gonchar
Rob Scuderi / Hal Gill
Mark Eaton / Kris Letang

Extras: Petr Sykora, Phillipe Boucher, Alex Goligoski

—Marc-Andre Fleury (Mathieu Garon)

Case for the ‘92 Pens: Brute strength and depth. Hall of fame players generously litter the top-9 forwards, no matter how you want to imagine the lines. Lemieux was absolutely lethal surrounded by two elite power forwards (both in/close to their prime).

Case for the ‘09 Pens: A three-headed monster down the middle that could do well (after Lemieux leaves the ice). A much better group of defensive personnel/talent, with significant advantages at the bottom of the lineup.

In net: Tom Barrasso had the 10th best save percentage in the NHL in ‘92 (but just 17th best GAA). Marc-Andre Fleury had the league’s 18th best save% (and 20th best GAA). But how much value will you put in Barrasso playing in a world where that means a .885 save% compared to a .912% for Fleury? Based on advances in equipment, technique and skill, the edge in net probably has to go to the 2008-09 Pens..

It’s a tough, close call....But this deep in the tournament it should be. I would think the 91-92 Pens might even be the favorite upon first blush, but give it some thought and then weigh in - do you like the modern team’s improved defense and goaltending to go along with young stars in Crosby and Malkin? Or is the overall weight of the ‘92 Pens just too much to handle in this matchup?

Poll

Pens best team ever: 1992 vs 2009

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    1991-92 Penguins
    (1218 votes)
  • 23%
    2008-09 Penguins
    (371 votes)
1589 votes total Vote Now

#2 1992-93 Presidents Trophy winner vs. #3 2015-16 Stanley Cup champions

The lone non-Cup winner to make the semis, the ‘92-93 Pens tripped up 1990-91 Cup champs by a somewhat slim 56%-44% vote last round. They will move on to face what many consider the ultimate Crosby/Malkin era team..

Penguins V Sabres
2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

1992-93 Pens:

Kevin Stevens - Mario Lemieux - Rick Tocchet
Shawn McEachern - Ron Francis - Jaromir Jagr
Dave Tippett - Martin Straka - Joe Mullen
Troy Loney - Jeff Daniels - Mike Needham

Ulf Samuelsson / Larry Murphy
Mike Ramsey / Kjell Samuelsson
Grant Jennings / Peter Taglianetti

Tom Barrasso (Ken Wregget)

Extras: Mike Needham, Paul Stanton

vs.

2015-16 Pens:

Conor Sheary - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Eric Fehr
Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl - Matt Cullen - Bryan Rust

Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Olli Maatta / Trevor Daley
Ian Cole / Ben Lovejoy

Matt Murray (Marc-Andre Fleury)

Extras: Oskar Sundqvist, Beau Bennett, Justin Schultz, Derrick Pouliot

Case for the ‘93 Pens: This was a team that won 17 straight games, pre-shootout era. Jagr by now was growing into his own. Lemieux was unrivaled in his greatness, shrugging off cancer treatments in a super human type of manner to win the scoring title.

Case for the ‘16 Pens: Balance, depth and skill. This group boasts by far the best group of defensemen and this version of Letang is undoubtedly the top blueliner left in the tournament. Add in the HBK magic, Mike Sullivan finding the right buttons to push and it’s one heck of a team.

In net: A clear, clear edge for the ‘16 Pens. Murray and Fleury combined for wonderful, practically unbeatable .925% goaltending down the stretch. But Barrasso was no slouch that year, his .901% in the regular season was fourth among all goalies in the league that year and his final playoff number (.905%) was similar. Across the board though, and for good reason, goaltending feels like a bigger winning factor for the more recent group.

Can the ‘92-93 Pens redeem their poor playoff performance by taking out another Pens’ SC champ? Or do you think the more modern team’s depth is enough to tip the balance? It’s an elite hypothetical matchup to ponder.

Poll

Pens best team ever: 1993 vs. 2016

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    1992-93 Penguins
    (365 votes)
  • 76%
    2015-16 Penguins
    (1204 votes)
1569 votes total Vote Now