In the off-season, head coach Bob Johnson was diagnosed with brain cancer, causing him to step down, and the Penguins would bring in former St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres head coach, Scotty Bowman, to replace Johnson. Bowman had led the Canadiens to 5 Stanley Cup championships in the 1970s. Johnson would lose his battle to cancer on November 26, 1991, and the Penguins would honor him by wearing a patch on the left sleeve of their jersey with his nickname "Badger" written on it along with his birth year and death year.
Pittsburgh started the season off very well, and through their first 38 games, they had a record of 22–12–4, earning 48 points and fighting with the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers for 1st in the division. The team, along with Mario Lemieux missing some time due to his back injuries, would slump in their next 24 games, going 5–15–4, to slide down to .500, and battling with the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers for the final playoff position in the division. The Penguins, facing losing Paul Coffey as a free agent after the season, would deal him to the Los Angeles Kings in a move that looked like they were giving up for the season, however, they would make a move to bring some more grit to the team, acquiring Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson and Ken Wregget from the Philadelphia Flyers for Mark Recchi, and the club would have a 12–5–1 record to close out the season, and finish in 3rd place in the Patrick Division, making the playoffs for the 2nd straight season.
Mario Lemieux led the club offensively, despite missing 16 games to injuries, as he earned an NHL high 131 points, as he scored 44 goals and 87 assists, to win the Art Ross Trophy. Kevin Stevens led the team with 54 goals, and finished 2nd in league scoring behind Lemieux with 123 points. Joe Mullen would also have a solid season, as he scored 42 goals and earned 87 points, while Jaromir Jagr continued to develop, as he recorded 69 points in 70 games. Larry Murphy put up a defense high 77 points in his 1st full season with the Penguins.
In goal, Tom Barrasso played the majority of the games, earning a team high 25 victories, along with a team best 3.53 GAA, while earning a shutout for the club.
Offensively, the Penguins led the league in scoring, with 343 goals for.
On Tuesday, October 29, 1991, the Penguins were shut out at home 8-0 by the Washington Capitals. It was the first time the Penguins had been shut out in a regular-season game since Monday, January 2, 1989, when they coincidentally lost 8-0 on the road to the Washington Capitals. Prior to their home loss against the Caps, the Penguins had gone 211 consecutive regular-season games without being shut out.
In the playoffs, the Penguins would open up against the Washington Capitals, who they defeated in the 2nd round in the previous season en route to the Stanley Cup championship. The Capitals finished the season 11 points ahead of Pittsburgh, and had home ice for the series. Washington would open the series up with 2 solid victories at home, however, Pittsburgh responded with a game 3 victory to cut the Caps series lead in half. Washington would demolish the Penguins in the 4th game, going up 3–1 in the series, and returning home in hopes of closing it out. Pittsburgh had no trouble beating the Capitals in game 5, winning 5–2, and evened the series up at home in game 6 with a 6–4 win. In the 7th and deciding game of the series, Tom Barrasso would step up, allowing only 1 goal, as Pittsburgh won the final game by a 3–1 score to upset the favored Capitals, and complete their comeback.
Up next was the Patrick Division winning New York Rangers, who had 18 more points than Pittsburgh during the regular season. Pittsburgh would surprise the Rangers with a 4–2 victory in the opening game, however, New York tied the series up in the 2nd game. The Rangers took a 2–1 series lead with 6–5 overtime victory. The Penguins would tie the series up with their own overtime win in the 4th game, as the series returned to New York for the 5th game. Pittsburgh would hang on for a 3–2 victory in the 5th game, and close out the series at home with a 5–1 win, to upset the Rangers, and return to the Conference Finals.
The Penguins next opponent was the Boston Bruins, who they defeated last season in 6 games. The Bruins had 84 points during the regular season, 3 less than the Penguins, giving Pittsburgh home ice advantage. The Pens opened up the series with a 4–3 overtime win, then went up 2–0 in the series with a 5–2 win, as the series would shift to Boston. The Penguins stayed hot, winning games 3 and 4 by identical 5–1 scores, to sweep the Bruins, and reach the Stanley Cup finals for the 2nd straight season.
Pittsburgh had to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in hopes of a 2nd straight Stanley Cup. The Hawks finished the season with 87 points, the same amount as the Penguins, and had defeated the St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, and Edmonton Oilers to reach the finals, going into the series with an NHL playoff record 10-game winning streak. The Penguins were on their own 7-game winning streak, as they won the last 3 games of the Rangers series, and swept Boston. Pittsburgh stayed hot, with a 5–4 victory in game 1, and then defeated Chicago 3–1 in the 2nd game to go up 2–0 as the series would move to Chicago Stadium. The Penguins would shutout Chicago 1–0 in the 3rd game to win their 10th game in a row, and Pittsburgh finished off the sweep with a 6–5 game 4 win, setting an NHL playoff record with their 11th straight win, as they would become the 1st team since the 1986–87 and 1987–88 Edmonton Oilers to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Mario Lemieux would win his 2nd Conn Smythe Trophy, as he recorded a league high 34 points in only 15 playoff games.
†Denotes player spent time with another team before joining the Penguins. Stats reflect time with the Penguins only. ‡Denotes player was traded mid-season. Stats reflect time with the Team only.
Bold/italics denotes franchise record.
* Mike Needham did not play any regular season games for Pittsburgh (played in the minors), but played 5 playoff games(not in the finals), Jeff Daniels played 2 regular season games for Pittsburgh, and spent the rest of the season in the minors. Their names were engraved on the Stanley Cup, even though they did not qualify. Ken Priestlay played 49 regular season games, but was playing in the minors during the playoffs. Priestlay was also included on the Stanley Cup.
Bob Johnson died on November 28, 1991 of cancer. The NHL allowed his name to be included with the 1991–92 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pierre McGuire, Les Binkley, John Gill, Charlie Hodge, Ralph Cox were with the team as Scouts in 1990–91, but names were not included on the Stanley Cup that year. All five members have two Stanley Cup rings with Pittsburgh.
The IHL'sMuskegon Lumberjacks finished second in the East Division with a 41-28-13 record. They defeated the Milwaukee Admirals and Kalamazoo Wings before being swept by the Kansas City Blades in the Turner Cup Finals. This finals loss came as a result of the Penguins recalling Jock Callander, Mike Needham, and Dave Michayluk to fill open spots left by injuries to both Mario Lemieux and Joe Mullen. Michayluk still won the Ironman Award by the IHL for playing in all of his team's games while displaying outstanding offensive and defensive abilities.