The 2021-22 season was an eventful one for Penguins fans — from extending the longest active playoff streak in American sports, to putting 11 goals on the board in a game, to letting a 3-1 playoff series lead slip away.
Here’s some of our favorite games from last season.
Mar. 27, 2022 - Penguins throttle the Red Wings 11-2
Garrett: I love offense. I love goalscoring. After scoring three goals in his three previous games, Evgeni Malkin, who loves playing Detroit (16 G, 38 P in 24 GP), ate his pregame Wheaties (I guess in this case, it’s Borscht).
Malkin scored a hat-trick and added an assist. Sidney Crosby notched a goal and two assists. Rickard Rakell was finally settling in with his new team, scoring the team’s 11th and final goal as well as adding two apples. Even Brian Boyle and Kasperi Kapanen got in on the goalscoring festivities. That’s how dominant the Penguins were on this day.
I love the late-March/early-April games. The weather’s finally changing and we’re typically ramping up for some postseason hockey. This game hit all the right notes for me.
Jim: I’ll go with the 11-2 annihilation of Detroit on March 27th for my favorite game of the season. Scoring 11 goals is just such an absurd thing to do at the NHL level — it was the first time ANY team in the NHL had done so since 2003. And the Penguins had scored 11 in a game since 1993, which makes it always impressive to accomplish such a rare feat. The game also pushed the Pens to just three points away from first place Carolina with a month to go in the season. It was to put it mildly, one heck of a bounce-back after they played a totally flat game and lost 5-1 to the Rangers. It really felt like a game where the Pens could take-off, Evgeni Malkin had four points. Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust and Rickard Rakell had three points. Almost everyone had something to feel good about. The crowd’s insatiable chanting of “we want 10!” and then the uproarious joy of watching them get it was incredible. It wasn’t truly a turning point or sign of things to come, and obviously beating up on the hapless Red Wings isn’t anything special in and of itself, but for it made for one ridiculously entertaining afternoon where almost everything the Pens did ended up in the net.
May 3, 2022 — A marathon overtime thrilling win
Robbie: It’s basically everything you want from a playoff hockey game when it doesn’t involve your team and the worst case scenario if it does. Luckily, for the Penguins, it turned into a great memory even if the series didn’t end in their favor.
A back and forth contest that featured a third string goalie playing hero, spicy pork, and one of the franchise’s all-time superstars making what could have been his final lasting memory in the uniform by scoring in 3OT. It really gave a glimpse into how bizarre and off the rails this series would become the further it went along. It may have only been the first game but it’s one the fans are going to remember forever simply for the absurdity of it all.
Luckily for us, the overtime winner will not be the last moment Evgeni Malkin makes as a Pittsburgh Penguin, but in the moment, there was still so much undecided about his future no one knew if that was going to be our final memory of his career in the Pittsburgh.
Feb. 15th, 2022 — Crosby’s 500th
It was always going to be against the Flyers. In the lead-up to this game, Crosby was one goal short of his 500th in his career, and what better storyline would there be than getting the milestone goal against the franchise rival that he has tormented for his entire career?
Crosby didn’t waste much time getting #500 out of the way in the game, scoring on the power play late in the 1st period.
Sidney Crosby picks up career goal #500 with a power play tally at home against the Flyers. pic.twitter.com/rI99y2F1kn— Danny Shirey (@DannyShireyPGH) February 16, 2022
The goal for Crosby would also move him into 26th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list.
Of course, the Penguins won the game, as they often do in games involving Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Jan. 11th, 2022 — Malkin’s emphatic return to the lineup
Julia: Penguins fans spent the first three months of the 2021-22 season— well, really, the six months after Evgeni Malkin underwent knee surgery on June 4– waiting for their second-line center to return to the lineup. In the early days of January, Malkin neared “game-time decision” status, but it wasn’t until January 11 that he finally made his return. The crowd in Anaheim felt like it contained more Penguins fans than Ducks supporters, a feeling which intensified when the arena erupted as Malkin took the ice for warmups.
There was some apprehension along the fans— after all, Malkin was 35, and he hadn’t played hockey for over half a year. Those doubts were quickly erased. Malkin sent a power-play slapshot booming into the back of the net, then scored again 12 minutes later to remind the Pittsburgh faithful just what they’d been missing. The Penguins won, 4-1.
What are some of your favorite games from last season?