1996–97 Pittsburgh Penguins season

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1996–97 Pittsburgh Penguins
Division 2nd Northeast
Conference 6th Eastern
1996–97 record 38–36–8
Home record 25–11–5
Road record 13–25–3
Goals for 285
Goals against 280
Team information
General Manager Craig Patrick
Coach Eddie Johnston
Craig Patrick
Captain Mario Lemieux
Alternate captains Ron Francis
Jaromir Jagr
Arena Pittsburgh Civic Arena
Team leaders
Goals Mario Lemieux (50)
Assists Mario Lemieux (72)
Points Mario Lemieux (122)
Penalties in minutes David Roche (155)
Wins Patrick Lalime (21)
Goals against average Patrick Lalime (2.94)
<1995–96 1997–98>

The 1996–97 Pittsburgh Penguins season was the team's 30th in the National Hockey League. This was the final season for Mario Lemieux before his first retirement.

Offseason[edit]

Regular season[edit]

The 1996-1997 season featured Mario Lemieux in his final season before his first retirement. Lemieux won his 6th (and final) Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer with 122 points. The Penguins had an up and down season en route to a 6th place finish in the Eastern Conference. A 2-9-0 start was followed by a hot middle of the season stretch, highlighted by the play of rookie phenom goaltender Patrick Lalime. A shoulder injury to Tom Barrasso ended his season after 5 unmemorable games and lead to the promotion of rookie Patrick Lalime from Cleveland of the IHL. Lalime debuted in relief of Ken Wregget in a loss to the Rangers on 11/16. His win came in relief of Ken Wregget on 12/6, and on 12/7 he was given the start against Anaheim, beating the Ducks and setting him well on his way to setting the NHL record for consecutive games unbeaten to begin a career for an NHL goaltender, going 14-0-2 (16 games). However the Penguins cooled down after that, as the team incredibly did not win a road game after 2/5, which lead to a coaching change on March 4. Eddie Johnston was relieved of his duties as Head Coach after losing eight of his last nine games and was replaced on an interim basis by General Manager Craig Patrick. Patrick went 7-10-3 down the stretch, enough to get the Penguins into the playoffs as the #6 seed at 38-36-8. The Penguins finished the season first in scoring, with 285 goals for.[1]
In the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Penguins took on the #3 seeded Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers dismantled the Penguins in five games en route to an Eastern Conference championship of their own. The Pens' lone win in the series was in game 4 at the Civic Arena in which Lemieux scored on a breakaway against Garth Snow in the closing minutes for his final goal before his first retirement.

Final standings[edit]

Northeast Division
No. CR GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 2 Buffalo Sabres 82 40 30 12 237 208 92
2 6 Pittsburgh Penguins 82 38 36 8 285 280 84
3 7 Ottawa Senators 82 31 36 15 226 234 77
4 8 Montreal Canadiens 82 31 36 15 249 276 77
5 10 Hartford Whalers 82 32 39 11 226 256 75
6 13 Boston Bruins 82 26 47 9 234 300 61
Eastern Conference[2]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 New Jersey Devils ATL 82 45 23 14 231 182 104
2 Philadelphia Flyers ATL 82 45 24 13 274 217 103
3 Buffalo Sabres NE 82 40 30 12 237 208 92
4 Florida Panthers ATL 82 35 28 19 221 201 89
5 New York Rangers ATL 82 38 34 10 258 231 86
6 Pittsburgh Penguins NE 82 38 36 8 285 280 84
7 Ottawa Senators NE 82 31 36 15 226 234 77
8 Montreal Canadiens NE 82 31 36 15 249 276 77
9 Washington Capitals ATL 82 33 40 9 214 231 75
10 Hartford Whalers NE 82 32 39 11 226 256 75
11 Tampa Bay Lightning ATL 82 32 40 10 217 247 74
12 New York Islanders ATL 82 29 41 12 240 250 70
13 Boston Bruins NE 82 26 47 9 234 300 61

Divisions: ATL – Atlantic, NE – Northeast

bold – Qualified for playoffs


Schedule and results[edit]

1996–97 Schedule
Legend:           = Win           = Loss           = Tie

Playoffs[edit]

1997 Stanley Cup Finals
Legend:           = Win           = Loss

Player statistics[edit]

Skaters
Goaltenders
Regular Season[5]
Player GP TOI W L T OT GA GAA SA SV% SO G A PIM
Lalime, PatrickPatrick Lalime 39 2,057:35 21 12 2 2 101 2.95 1166 0.913 3 0 0 0
Wregget, KenKen Wregget 46 2,514:23 17 17 6 1 136 3.25 1383 0.902 2 0 1 6
De Rouville, PhilippePhilippe De Rouville 2 111:08 0 2 0 0 6 3.24 66 0.909 0 0 0 0
Barrasso, TomTom Barrasso 5 269:37 0 5 0 1 26 5.79 186 0.860 0 0 0 0
Playoffs[6]
Player GP TOI W L OT GA GAA SA SV% SO G A PIM
Wregget, KenKen Wregget 5 297:28 1 4 0 18 3.63 211 .915 0 0 0 2

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.
     – Denotes league leader.

Awards and records[edit]

Awards[edit]

Player Award
Stu Barnes Unsung Hero Award
Joe Dziedzic Edward J. DeBartolo Community Service Award
Jaromir Jagr NHL Second All-Star Team
Patrick Lalime Michel Briere Memorial Rookie of the Year Award
NHL All-Rookie Team
Mario Lemieux Leading Point Scorer Award
Booster Club Award
Most Valuable Player Award
Art Ross Memorial Trophy
NHL First All-Star Team
Joe Mullen Pittsburgh Penguins Masterton Nominee
Bob Johnson Memorial Award
Player's Player Award
Chris Tamer Edward J. DeBartolo Community Service Award
Ken Wregget Disaster Specialists "Baz" Bastien Memorial "Good Guy" Award

Transactions[edit]

The Penguins have been involved in the following transactions during the 1996–97 season:[7]

Trades[edit]

June 22, 1996 To Dallas Stars:
Sergei Zubov
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Kevin Hatcher
June 22, 1996 To Edmonton Oilers:
1996 seventh-round pick
(#170–Brandon Lafrance)
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Tyler Wright
June 22, 1996 To New Jersey Devils:
2 1996 second-round picks
(#41–Josh DeWolf)
(#49–Colin White)
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
1996 second-round picks
(#28–Pavel Skrbek)
October 25, 1996 To Los Angeles Kings:
1997 conditional pick
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Petr Kilma
November 17, 1996 To New York Islanders:
Bryan Smolinski
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Darius Kasparaitis
Andreas Johansson
November 19, 1996 To Mighty Ducks of Anaheim:
Shawn Antoski
Dmitri Mironov
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Alex Hicks
Fredrik Olausson
November 19, 1996 To Florida Panthers:
Chris Wells
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Stu Barnes
Jason Woolley
January 27, 1997 To Detroit Red Wings:
Tomas Sandstrom
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Greg Johnson
February 21, 1997 To Mighty Ducks of Anaheim:
J.J. Daigneault
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Garry Valk
March 18, 1997 To Los Angeles Kings:
Glen Murray
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Ed Olczyk
March 18, 1997 To Vancouver Canucks:
Future considerations
(1998 fifth-round pick (#140–Rick Bertran))
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Josef Beranek
March 18, 1997 To Mighty Ducks of Anaheim:
Richard Park
To Pittsburgh Penguins:
Roman Oksiuta