Pittsburgh Penguins 1992-1993 Season
Previous Year and Off-Season
The Pittsburgh Penguins went back-to-back in 1991-1992 as they won their second Stanley Cup with Mario Lemieux as Captain. They finished 39-32-9 (87 points) and third in the Patrick Division and were still able to win it all. During the regular season, they were of course led by Mario Lemieux who had 87 assists and 131 points during that season. Kevin Stevens led the team in goals with 54 and Jaromir Jagr, who was very young into his career, had 69 points in 70 games.
In the playoffs, there was no defenseman Paul Coffey for the Penguins as they traded him to the Los Angeles Kings. The package they got back for him included Rick Tocchet, who had 14 goals and 30 points in 19 games after the trade with Pittsburgh. In the first round of the playoffs, they met the Washington Capitals and came back from a 2-0 deficit to win the series in seven games. Tom Barrasso allowed just one goal in game seven as Pittsburgh advanced to the second round with a 3-1 victory. After beating the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins to return to the Stanley Cup Final, they played the Chicago Blackhawks. They ended up sweeping the Blackhawks just after they swept the Bruins in the Conference Final and won the Stanley Cup. Lemieux won the Conn Smythe that season as he had 34 points in just 15 playoff games.
In the off-season, Pittsburgh re-signed Joe Mullen, who ended up missing the first month of the 1992-1993 season with knee surgery and they also signed Dave Tippet to help their defense.
1992-1993 Regular Season
The 1992-1993 Penguins were on a mission to immortality. They were trying to be the first team to three-peat since the New York Islanders did from 1980-1983 under Mike Bossy. That mission would lead them to an outstanding season. The Penguins went 56-21-7 and finished first in the Patrick Division and had the number one overall seed in the conference. They did this even when Lemieux played in just 69 games during the season after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, but he returned later in the season to have 69 goals and 160 points and lead the Penguins to a 17 game winning streak.
Hodgkin’s Disease for the Captain
His Hodgkin’s Disease was the biggest storyline around the team that season outside of winning a third Stanley Cup as everyone was just praying that he’d be alright. Putting up the numbers he did after missing 24 games that season is truly spectacular. The 17 game winning-streak he helped lead them on is still the longest winning streak in NHL history today. That led to Lemieux winning the Hart Trophy for league MVP. Pittsburgh went 32-6-4 at home that season and that’s one of the best home records in franchise history today still.
After Lemieux, Stevens had 55 goals and 111 points to finish second on the team in scoring. Tocchet also had an outstanding season as he had 48 goals and 109 points. Joe Mullen, who was signed back over the offseason, played in 72 games for Pittsburgh and had 33 goals and 70 points. Ron Francis also hit the 100 point mark for Pittsburgh that year and Jagr wasn’t far off as he had 34 goals and 94 points. The amount of talent and future hall-of-famers on that team was truly staggering.
There weren’t too many additions to the Penguins roster during this season. They did ship out Bob Errey to the Sabres in March of 1993 for Mike Ramsey and acquired Peter Ahola from the Kings before trading him to the San Jose Sharks but other than that, not much else happened.
In the opening round, Pittsburgh played the New Jersey Devils. They came into the series on an 11 game playoff winning streak. They stretched it to 14 before the Devils finally were able to steal a game at home. In the first three games, they outscored New Jersey 17-6. This included a 6-3 win and a 7-0 win at the Civic Arena. The Devils lone win wouldn’t matter though as the Penguins dismantled New Jersey at home. They finished 5-3 to win the series in five games and advance to the next round.
In the next round, they went up against the New York Islanders. Everyone who’s been following the Penguins long enough knows what happened. The Penguins went up 3-2 in the series and had a chance to go back to the Conference Finals. They lost game six in New York 7-5 and then returned home for game seven at Mellon Arena. Ulf Samuelsson opened the scoring before the Islanders scored three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead halfway through the period. Pittsburgh scored two goals in the final 2:47 thanks to Francis and Tocchet to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Overall playoff performers
In the playoff run, Lemieux led the team with eight goals and 18 points in 11 playoff games. Behind him was Francis who had six goals and 17 points and Stevens who had five goals and 16 points. Tocchet and Larry Murphy each had 13 points before the next closest player on the team was Jagr with five goals and nine points.
The Penguins lost game seven in overtime against the Islanders as David Volek stunned the hockey world 5:16 into the opening frame and defeated the back-to-back champs.
Still Set up to Compete
Despite not three-peating in 1992-1993, they were still set up to compete for many years to come. During the next season, Lemieux missed more time as he battled injuries. Appearing in just 22 regular season games. The team would be led by Jagr who had 32 goals and 99 points that season. They didn’t get back to the Stanley Cup Final losing to the Washington Capitals in the first round. That was the only time in which the Capitals had beaten the Penguins in a playoff series.
Pittsburgh wouldn’t return to the Stanley Cup Final until 2008. Losing there to the Detroit Red Wings in six games. Since the 1992-1993 season, the Penguins have won three Stanley Cups under Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and while they’ve won those championships, they haven’t had a season quite like that team did even though they did lose in the playoffs.
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