2008–09 Pittsburgh Penguins season

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2008–09 Pittsburgh Penguins
Stanley Cup Champions
Eastern Conference Champions
Division 2nd Atlantic
Conference 4th Eastern
2008–09 record 45–28–9
Home record 24–13–3
Road record 19–15–6
Goals for 255
Goals against 237
Team information
General Manager Ray Shero
Coach Michel Therrien (Oct–Feb)
Dan Bylsma (Feb–Jun)
Captain Sidney Crosby
Alternate captains Evgeni Malkin (Oct, Feb–Jun)
Brooks Orpik (Oct, Feb)
Hal Gill (Nov)
Rob Scuderi (Nov)
Matt Cooke (Dec)
Jordan Staal (Dec)
Petr Sykora (Jan)
Ryan Whitney (Jan)
Sergei Gonchar (Feb–Jun)
Arena Mellon Arena
Average attendance 16,975
102.6% capacity
Total: 695,997[1]
Team leaders
Goals Evgeni Malkin (35)
Assists Evgeni Malkin (78)
Points Evgeni Malkin (113)
Penalties in minutes Eric Godard (171)
Plus/minus Rob Scuderi (+23)
Wins Marc-Andre Fleury (35)
Goals against average John Curry (2.40)
<2007–08 2009–10>

The 2008–09 Pittsburgh Penguins season was the 42nd season of Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League (NHL). The regular season began with two games against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden on October 4 and October 5, 2008.

On February 15, the team had a record of 27–25–5 and was five points out of playoff position. The organization fired head coach Michel Therrien and replaced him with Dan Bylsma, head coach of the organization's American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.[2] On February 26, the team traded defenseman Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks in return for Chris Kunitz.[3] Before the trade deadline on March 4, they acquired Bill Guerin from the New York Islanders.[4] Under Bylsma, the team went 18–3–4, including 10–1–2 in March, and lost only one home game.

The Penguins qualified for the playoffs for the third consecutive season. They did not repeat as champions of the Atlantic Division, but earned the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with 99 points. They began the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs on April 15 against the Philadelphia Flyers. They beat the Flyers, Washington Capitals, and Carolina Hurricanes to earn a second-straight berth in the Stanley Cup Final. In the Finals, the Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings in seven games in a rematch of the previous season's Stanley Cup Final to win the franchise's third league title.

Media[edit]

Local Cable TV[edit]

KDKA-TV WTAE-TV WPXI-TV WQED-TV WINP-TV QVC-TV WPCW-TV WPMY-TV WVPC-TV WIIC-LP WBYD-CA WGPT-TV WPCB-TV WPGH-TV WBGN-CD WPTG-CD

Local Radio[edit]

WRKJ 88.1 FM WYZR 88.1 FM WRCT 88.3 FM WCYJ 88.7 FM WBJV 88.9 FM WQED 89.3 FM WIUP 90.1 FM WESA 90.5 FM WYEP 91.3 FM WNJR 91.7 FM WPTS 92.1 FM WKPL 92.1 FM WDJQ 92.5 FM WLTJ 92.9 FM KDKA 93.7 FM WWSW 94.5 FM WOGG 94.9 FM WJPA 95.3 FM WVKF 95.7 FM WKST 96.1 FM WRKK 96.9 FM WLER 97.7 FM WPKV 98.3 FM WMXY 98.9 FM WPKL 99.3 FM WSHH 99.7 FM WAMO 100.1 FM WBZZ 100.7 FM WHOT 101.1 FM WORD 101.5 FM WDVE 102.5 FM WKVE 103.1 FM WOGH 103.5 FM WFSJ 103.7 LP WLSW 103.9 FM WOGI 104.3 FM WPGB 104.7 FM WMUG 105.1 LP WXDX 105.9 FM WLCY 106.3 FM WAOB 106.7 FM WHJB 107.1 FM WEGW 107.5 FM WDSY 107.9 FM

Pre-season[edit]

Due to their appearance in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, the Penguins had less than three weeks before free agency began to settle numerous contract decisions. The Penguins added nine free agents and lost ten to other teams. Head coach Michel Therrien also signed a new three-year contract that replaced the last year of his existing contract, with an increase in salary. The new contract was projected to keep him with the Penguins through the 2010–11 season.[5]

The Penguins renewed 99% of their season ticket sales from the 2007–08 season; having sold out 67 consecutive games at Mellon Arena dating back to the 2006–07 season.[6] In July, ESPN named Pittsburgh the top team in the Eastern Conference,[7] and Sporting News predicted the team would finish in the league's fifth overall position.[8]

The team commenced training camp on September 16, 2008 in Pittsburgh.[9][10] They played five pre-season games in preparation for the season, finishing with a 4–0–1 record.[11] The team concluded its preparation for the season with practices in Stockholm.[12] Defensemen Sergei Gonchar was injured in the pre-season opener and originally anticipated to miss "four to six months". He appeared for the first time on February 14, 2009.[13][14] With Gonchar out of the lineup and previous season's two other alternate captains Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts departed, the Penguins began the season with no returning alternate captains in the lineup. Therrien selected two alternate captains each month; Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik served the role throughout the opening month.[15]

Regular season[edit]

October[edit]

"It's a long season... We're going to get better."

—Michel Therrien, after the Penguins games in Sweden.[16]

On September 27, the Penguins embarked on a trip for Sweden where they opened the season against the Ottawa Senators, at the Stockholm Globe Arena.[17] The Penguins were one of four teams to participate in NHL Premiere which began the season with games in Prague, Czech Republic and Stockholm, Sweden.[18] Pittsburgh won the opening game of the season in overtime, getting two goals from Tyler Kennedy, including the game-winner.[16] The game was broadcast on Mellon Arena's JumboTron where 2,300 spectators watched the game.[19] The team returned to Pittsburgh after ten days in Europe and a 1–1–0 record.[16] The Penguins hosted the Trib Total Media Faceoff Festival 2008 prior to their first four home games, allowing fans to watch the games on 9-by-12 foot LED screen outside of Mellon Arena.[20] On October 18, Sidney Crosby scored one goal in addition to three assists to surpass benchmarks of 100 goals, 200 assists, and 300 total points for his career.[21] In the same game Evgeni Malkin assisted on four goals giving him 200 total career points.[22][23]

The Penguins received continued fan support from their previous season. In addition to extending a home sellout streak to 72 games on October 23, the Penguins ranked 113% above the national average for male television viewers aged 18 to 34.[24] The franchise ranked as the 18th most valuable in the league at US$195 million, marking a 26% increase from the past season.[25] According to Forbes, the franchise's revenue would likely put the Penguins into the top ten after their new arena, Consol Energy Center, opened in 2010.[25] The Penguins finished October with a 3–1–1 record in Pittsburgh and concluded the month with three consecutive road losses.

November[edit]

Mike Zigomanis led the NHL in face-off winning percentage through 20 games.

The Penguins won their first six games in November before losing in a shootout on November 18.[26] Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill were selected by Therrien to be November's alternate captains, taking over for Brooks Orpik and Malkin who served in October.[27] On November 11, the Penguins returned to Detroit for the first time since the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.[28] The third goal of Jordan Staal's second career hat-trick came with 22.8 seconds remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime where the Penguins achieved a 7–6 victory.[29] Malkin's 13-game point streak ended on November 18, during the streak he scored 27 points.[30] Through November 19, the Penguins led the league in overtime games with nine of 18 games taking extra time to decide.[31] Through the first 20 games of the season Mike Zigomanis led the league in faceoff percentage and Alex Goligoski led rookie defensemen in points.[32] After an injury to Marc-Andre Fleury, Dany Sabourin and rookie John Curry split goaltending duties in his multi-game absence in which the team was 5–6–2.[33][34] On November 26, Malkin scored three goals for his third career hat trick,[35] three days later Sidney Crosby also achieved a hat trick—the second of his career.[36] After the teams' final game of the month Malkin and Crosby ranked first and second in league scoring with 39 and 34 points respectively.[37] Malkin also ranked first in the league with 29 assists,[37] and was named the NHL's second Star of the Month.[38]

December[edit]

Kristopher Letang prior to a game

Therrien named Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke December's alternate captains. "I think it's important for our young group to try to extend the leadership group," the coach said of the decision.[39] A survey by Turnkey Sports & Entertainment released on December 2 that surveyed fans of all 122 NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB teams ranked the Penguins eighth. The survey consisted of 21 categories such as entertainment value, commitment to winning, ticket value, and likeability of the players and owners. Ranked 20th in the same poll in 2007, the Penguins were the second-ranked NHL team, behind the Detroit Red Wings.[40] The Penguins began the month with seven games in eleven days in which they were 2–4–1.[41] As of December 10, Crosby and Malkin continued to lead the league in points as well as leading voting for the all-star game in Montreal.[42] On December 11, after losing three consecutive games, Petr Sýkora and Pascal Dupuis each scored their first career hat tricks in a 9–2 victory over the Islanders in Pittsburgh. It was the seventh time in Penguins's history that two players scored a hat trick in the same game—the first since 1993.[43]

On December 21, Sidney Crosby surpassed the record for most All-Star Game votes at 1,020,736, set by Jaromir Jagr, then with the Penguins, in 2000. Crosby broke the record with 13 days remaining in voting.[44] Defenceman Ryan Whitney made his first appearance of the season on December 23, after missing 33 games with a foot injury.[45] On December 26, Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves in Pittsburgh's first shutout of the season, defeating the New Jersey Devils, 1–0.[46] After concluding the month with a 5–8–1 record, the team held a players-only meeting on December 30. "The attitude is a little off right now," said Brooks Orpik, "It's easy to be a good team when you're winning games. When you're going through rough batches like this, it's what tests guys' character."[47]

January[edit]

The Penguins began 2009 with three consecutive losses, extending their losing streak to five games—the most consecutive since 2006.[48] During the streak the Penguins fell from second to ninth place in the Eastern Conference and failed to score on 32 consecutive power plays.[48][49]

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin led all players in voting for the 2009 All-Star Game.[50] However, Crosby did not play due to a knee injury. The top vote-getter for the second year in a row, Crosby also missed the 2008 All-Star Game.[51] On January 8 the team announced that they had agreed to a four-year contract extension with Jordan Staal worth $16 million. Staal's rookie contract was set to expire at the end of the season. He was the Penguins first round pick, second overall in 2006.[52]

The team suffered from injuries, culminating in January where at one point they had eight starters injured. Mike Zigomanis had been inactive since December 3 and Ruslan Fedotenko was ruled out for four to six weeks after breaking his hand on January 6. Sergei Gonchar practiced with the team for the first time on January 16 after suffering a separated shoulder during the pre-season. By that time, the Penguins had lost 173 man-games due to injury, after losing 239 in the entire 2007–08 season.[53] With a 3–0 victory over the New York Rangers on January 18, the Penguins won a second consecutive game for the first time since November 15. However, the team was unable to capitalize and lost their last game before the All-Star break to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Penguins entered the break with a 23–21–4 record. The team's 50 points put them in tenth place in the Eastern Conference, two spots out of the playoffs.[54]

February[edit]

Michel Therrien, who was in his fourth season with the Penguins, was fired on February 15, 2009.
Dan Bylsma was promoted from the Penguins' AHL affiliate to replace Therrien.

On February 14, Sergei Gonchar made his season debut and Ruslan Fedotenko returned to the line-up after missing over a month due to a hand injury.[55] On February 15—with the Penguins five points out of the playoffs[56]—Therrien was replaced by Dan Bylsma, the coach of the Penguins' AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, on an interim basis.[57] Tom Fitzgerald was promoted from Director of Player Development to assistant coach for forwards, while Mike Yeo, already with the team, became assistant for the defenceman. Assistant Andre Savard was reassigned within the organization.[58]

On February 21, Crosby recorded his 250th career assist in a 2 goal, 2 assist victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.[59] On February 25, Fleury recorded his third shutout of the season, as the Penguins defeated the Islanders 1–0; the team remained two points out of the playoffs after the win.[60] The day after the shutout, Ryan Whitney was traded to the Anaheim Ducks for Chris Kunitz and signing rights to prospect Eric Tangradi.[3] In his first game after being traded to Pittsburgh, Kunitz recorded a goal and an assist as the Penguins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime.[61]

March[edit]

The Penguins began March with five of six games on the road, before a homestand of eight consecutive games. Upon the Penguins' win on March 1, the team moved into eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 70 points.[62] The NHL trade deadline was on March 4. On March 3, the Penguins placed Miroslav Satan on waivers to clear roster space for a trade. Before the deadline, the Penguins acquired New York Islanders' captain Bill Guerin in exchange for a conditional draft pick in the 2009 draft.[4] The Penguins also exchanged minor league defensemen, sending Danny Richmond to the St. Louis Blues organization for Andy Wozniewski. They also claimed winger Craig Adams off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks.[63] Dan Blysma surpassed Herb Brooks' record for the best record in his first ten games as a Penguins' coach.[64] The team went a franchise-first 5–0–0 on a road trip at the beginning of March.[65]

On March 15, the Penguins soldout their 100th consecutive game at the Mellon Arena.[66] Evgeni Malkin recorded his 100th point of the season while tying a career-high five point game against the Atlanta Thrashers on March 17.[67] On March 20, Vince Lascheid, Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates organist of 33 years, died. Vice president of communications Tom McMillan said, "[Lascheid] probably is the only organist in the history of professional sports to be inducted into a team Hall of Fame."[68] The Penguins concluded March with eight consecutive games at the Mellon Arena—their longest homestand of the season.[69]

April and season results[edit]

Graph of the Penguins point total

Pittsburgh finished their homestand with a 6–1–1 record, moving into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.[70] The final game of the homestand was the most watched game of the season on FSN Pittsburgh, the Penguins regional television network. FSN Pittsburgh was the most-watched regional Fox network in the NHL for the second consecutive season.[71] On April 7, Sidney Crosby scored his 100th point of the season, Evgeni Malkin acquired his 300th career point, and Petr Sykora scored his 300th career goal, while the Penguins qualified for the postseason for the third consecutive season with a 6–4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.[72] Tickets for Pittsburgh's first two opening round playoff games sold out within a few hours of going on sale.[73] The team collected over $100,000 for the families of three Pittsburgh Police officers who were killed days before the game.[74] The Penguins finished their regular season on April 12 with a win over the Montreal Canadiens.[75] Through his first 25 games as Penguins' coach, Dan Blysma's 18–3–4 record amounted to 40 points—the second most of any coach in NHL history through their first 25 games.[76] The Penguins finished with a 45–28–9 record, for 99 points; fourth place in the Eastern Conference and second place in the Atlantic Division.[77]

Evgeni Malkin won the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer with 113 points. Malkin followed Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and Crosby to become the fourth different Penguin to win the award. The award was the thirteenth overall for the Penguins since 1988.[78]

Divisional standings[edit]

Atlantic Division
GP W L OTL GF GA Pts
1 y – New Jersey Devils 82 51 27 4 244 209 106
2 Pittsburgh Penguins 82 45 28 9 264 239 99
3 Philadelphia Flyers 82 44 27 11 264 238 99
4 New York Rangers 82 43 30 9 210 218 95
5 New York Islanders 82 26 47 9 201 279 61

Conference standings[edit]

Eastern Conference
R Div GP W L OTL GF GA Pts
1 z – Boston Bruins NE 82 53 19 10 274 196 116
2 y – Washington Capitals SE 82 50 24 8 272 245 108
3 y – New Jersey Devils AT 82 51 27 4 244 209 106
4 Pittsburgh Penguins AT 82 45 28 9 264 239 99
5 Philadelphia Flyers AT 82 44 27 11 264 238 99
6 Carolina Hurricanes SE 82 45 30 7 239 226 97
7 New York Rangers AT 82 43 30 9 210 218 95
8 Montreal Canadiens NE 82 41 30 11 249 247 93
8.5
9 Florida Panthers SE 82 41 30 11 234 231 93
10 Buffalo Sabres NE 82 41 32 9 250 234 91
11 Ottawa Senators NE 82 36 35 11 217 237 83
12 Toronto Maple Leafs NE 82 34 35 13 250 293 81
13 Atlanta Thrashers SE 82 35 41 6 257 280 76
14 Tampa Bay Lightning SE 82 24 40 18 210 279 66
15 New York Islanders AT 82 26 47 9 201 279 61

bold – qualified for playoffs, y – division winner, z – placed first in conference (and division)

AT – Atlantic Division, NE – Northeast Division, SE – Southeast Division


Schedule and results[edit]

  • Green background indicates win. (2 points)
  • Red indicates loss. (0 points)
  • White background indicates overtime/shootout loss. (1 point)
2008–09 Game Log

Stanley Cup playoffs[edit]

The Penguins advanced to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third consecutive season. They earned the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage in the opening round match-up against the Philadelphia Flyers, following a loss by the Flyers on the last day of the regular season.[79] For the second consecutive season, the Penguins erected a 12 by 16 foot LED screen on the lawn directly outside Mellon Arena, allowing fans to watch all playoff games, free of charge.[80] After defeating Philadelphia, the Penguins beat the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Penguins faced the Detroit Red Wings, defeating them in seven games to win their third Stanley Cup in franchise history. The final game of the season drew a 42.2 television rating in Pittsburgh—the highest local rating in any city since the NHL began to track the figure.[81]

Eastern Conference quarterfinals[edit]

The Penguins won game one of the series 4–1, with goals from Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, and defenseman Mark Eaton.[82] "It was a good [night] for me," said Malkin, "it was a good [night] for everybody."[83] Flyers coach John Stevens was fined US$10,000 and forward Daniel Carcillo was suspended by the NHL for the second game of the series for a hit to Max Talbot's head immediately following a faceoff with seven seconds left in the game; Carcillo was not penalized at the time of the hit.[84] In game two, Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 38 saves.[85] Bill Guerin scored two goals, including the game winner in overtime, and the Penguins won 3–2.[86] With the Penguins up two games to zero, the series moved to Philadelphia for game three. After falling behind 2–0, goals from Malkin and Rob Scuderi tied the game. Malkin added his second goal of the game in the final period; however, Philadelphia won the game 6–3.[87] In game four, Fleury stopped 45 shots, giving up one goal as the Penguins won 3–1. Crosby scored his second goal of the playoffs and Tyler Kennedy added the game winner.[88] The Penguins were unable to clinch the series in game five at Mellon Arena. A goal by Malkin was taken away after it was determined that he had kicked the puck into the net; Martin Biron stopped 28 shots for the shutout.[89] Pittsburgh viewers were unable to see approximately 30 minutes of the second period after a lightning strike at a FSN Pittsburgh network facility in Atlanta caused the station to temporarily black out.[90]

"I just thought Malkin and Crosby almost looked like they took the game over, to be honest with you. We capitalized on a few opportunities there, and if you get a 3–0 lead, it should be over."

—John Stevens, following the Penguins victory in game six.[91]

In game six, the Flyers lead 3–0 four minutes into the second period. Max Talbot fought Daniel Carcillo after the Flyers tallied their third goal and the Penguins, re-energized by Talbot's display, scored three goals in what remained of the second period to tie the game 3–3. Sergei Gonchar scored his first goal of the series, his first in 23 playoff games dating back to game two of the Penguins' first-round series against Ottawa in 2008, to break the tie at 2:19 of the third period. Crosby added an empty-net goal and the Penguins eliminated the Flyers and advance to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.[92] Three days after the Penguins series-clinching victory of the Flyers, the Penguins announced that coach Dan Bylsma had signed a multi-year contract with the team.[93]

Eastern Conference semi-finals[edit]

Sidney Crosby scored a hat-trick in Game 2 of the conference semi-finals.

The Penguins drew a matchup with the Washington Capitals in the second round semi-finals. The anticipation for the series was high considering the rivalry between the teams and star players, most notably Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins and Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin of the Capitals.[94][95][96] The first three games in the series were scheduled for national television in the United States, with game one on NBC and games two and three on Versus.[97]

Game one was held in Washington, where Capitals owner Ted Leonsis took steps to prevent Penguins' fans from purchasing tickets, such as not selling tickets to customers whose 724 or 412 area code indicated they were from Western Pennsylvania.[98] Crosby scored to give the Penguins a first period lead, but Washington scored two goals before the conclusion of the period. Mark Eaton tied the game in the second period, but Washington's Semyon Varlamov held the Penguins scoreless for the remainder of the game as the Capitals took a 1–0 lead in the series.[99] The game had 40% more viewers than playoff games the previous season.[100] In game two, Ovechkin and Crosby scored three goals each; Dave Steckel's second period goal was the difference as Washington won 4–3.[101]

The series moved to Pittsburgh for game three with the Penguins down 2–0. Goals from Ruslan Fedotenko, Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin, and Malkin left the game tied after regulation. Kris Letang scored a powerplay goal eleven minutes into overtime, winning the game for the Penguins.[102][103] Pittsburgh tied the series at two games apeice after a 5–3 game four victory at Mellon Arena. After a Washington goal scored less than a minute into regulation the Penguins responded with three goals in the first period. The Penguins' five goals came from five different players.[104][105] During the first period Sergei Gonchar was forced to leave the game after a knee-on-knee hit from Ovechkin;[106] Gonchar returned to the Penguins' line-up for game seven.[107] Game five took place in Washington, D.C. the next day, due to the scheduling of a Yanni concert in Pittsburgh.[108] After a scoreless first period, Washington took a 2–1 lead in the second. Fedotenko tied the game less than a minute into the third period, but a goal by Matt Cooke was matched by Ovechkin and the game went into overtime. With one second remaining in their second powerplay of the game, Malkin scored to give the Penguins their third consecutive victory.[109][110] Game six was the third overtime game of the series. Washington forced a seventh game with a 5–4 victory. Nine different players scored goals in the game.[111][112]

"I think everyone built the series up to end with a dramatic game seven, a huge story, and a big finish, but it didn’t feel anticlimactic to us."

—Dan Bylsma, speaking about the Penguins' 6–2 victory in game seven[113]

In the final game of the series Pittsburgh scored two goals within eight seconds of one another to take a 2–0 lead after Fleury stopped Ovechkin on a breakaway. Pittsburgh scored three more goals in the second period, extending their lead to 5–0, before Ovechkin scored his eighth goal of the series. Each team added a goal in the final period to end the game with a 6–2 final score.[114][115] Ovechkin scored eight goals and added six assists in the series, while Crosby tallied eight goals and five assists. Crosby's thirteen-point tally in the series totalled one less than Ovechkin's fourteen points, which was the highest single-series point total since the 1995 Stanley Cup playoffs.[114] While shaking hands following the final game, Crosby told Ovechkin he had played a "great series", to which Ovechkin responded, "win the Stanley Cup."[116]

Eastern Conference Final[edit]

Pittsburgh faced the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final, after Carolina defeated the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. The series opened in Pittsburgh, where Miroslav Satan and Philippe Boucher scored their first goals of the playoffs. Marc-Andre Fleury was named the game's third star after making 23 saves and helping the Penguins to a 3–2 victory.[117] In game two, Malkin scored a hat trick and Chris Kunitz scored his first goal of the playoffs as the Penguins won 7–4, taking a two games to none series lead.[118][119] In game three, Malkin scored two goals and Crosby scored one as the Penguins took a 3–1 lead into the first intermission. After a scoreless second period, the Hurricanes came within a goal after Sergei Samsonov scored less than two minutes into the final period, but goals by Fedotenko, Craig Adams, and Guerin gave the Penguins a 6–2 victory.[120] The series concluded with the Penguins sweeping, four games to none.[121] In the series' fourth game, Pittsburgh gave up the initial goal less than two minutes into the opening period, but goals from Fedotenko and Talbot gave them the lead after the first period. A second period goal from Guerin and an empty netter from Adams sealed the Penguins victory in the game and the series.[122]

Stanley Cup Final[edit]

Sidney Crosby holds the Stanley Cup at a parade in Pittsburgh.

For the second consecutive season the Penguins played the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals, marking the first time in 25 years that two teams played each other in consecutive Finals.[123] Tickets for games three and four, which were hosted at Mellon Arena, sold out in 10 minutes.[124] In the first game of the series, the Red Wings scored the first goal when a puck shot by Brad Stuart ricocheted off the boards behind the goal, then bounced off Marc-Andre Fleury and into the net. Ruslan Fedotenko, with an assist from Evgeni Malkin, tied the game before the conclusion of the first period. Detroit went on to score a goal in each of the final two periods to win game one, 3–1.[125][126] Evgeni Malkin scored a powerplay goal in the first period of game two, but the Penguins were held scoreless for the remainder of the contest; falling 3–1 for a second consecutive game.[127]

With the Penguins down two games to none, the series shifted to Pittsburgh for game three. After a 2–2 first period and a scoreless second period, Sergei Gonchar and Max Talbot each scored a goal in the third period to give the Penguins a 4–2 victory.[128] In game four, the Penguins tied the Red Wings at two games apiece with three unanswered goals in the second period, including a shorthanded goal by Jordan Staal.[129] With the series returning to Detroit, the Red Wings took a three games to two lead in the series with a 5–0 win.[130] Staal and Tyler Kennedy scored as the Penguins tied the series at three games apiece in a 2–1 game six victory.[131] In the seventh, and final, game of the series Max Talbot scored two goals and Fleury made 23 saves as the Penguins won their third Stanley Cup in franchise history.[132]

Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.[133] Fans celebrated in the streets of Pittsburgh after the game, with the Stanley Cup victory coming four months after the Pittsburgh Steelers' victory in Super Bowl XLIII.[134] Two days after the victory, 375,000 people attended a parade of the Cup through downtown Pittsburgh.[135]

Playoff log[edit]

2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs
  • Scorer of game-winning goal in italics

Player statistics[edit]

Skaters
Goaltenders
Regular Season[138]
Player GP GS TOI W L OT GA GAA SA SV% SO G A PIM
Fleury, Marc-AndreMarc-Andre Fleury 62 61 3640 35 18 7 162 2.67 1850 .912 4 0 1 8
Sabourin, DanyDany Sabourin 19 16 989 6 8 2 47 2.85 463 .898 0 0 0 2
Garon, MathieuMathieu Garon 4 3 205 2 1 0 10 2.91 94 .894 0 0 0 0
Curry, JohnJohn Curry 3 2 149 2 1 0 6 2.40 69 .913 0 0 0 0
Totals 82 4983 45 28 9 225 2.71 2476 .909 4 0 1 10
Playoffs[139]
Player GP GS TOI W L OT GA GAA SA SV% SO G A PIM
Fleury, Marc-AndreMarc-Andre Fleury 24 24 1447 16 8 1 63 2.61 686 .908 0 0 0 2
Garon, MathieuMathieu Garon 1 0 24 0 0 0 0 0.00 8 1.00 0 0 0 0
Totals 24 1471 16 8 1 63 2.57 694 .909 0 0 0 2

Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Team. Stats reflect time with the Team only.
Denotes player was traded mid-season. Stats reflect time with the Team only.
Bold/italics denotes franchise record

Awards and records[edit]

Records[edit]

Regular Season
Player Milestone Reached
Jordan Staal Youngest player to play 200 games in NHL history December 30, 2008[140]

Milestones[edit]

Regular Season
Player Milestone Reached
Alex Goligoski 1st career goal October 5, 2008[141]
Sidney Crosby 100th career goal
200th career assist
300th career point
October 18, 2008[22]
Evgeni Malkin 100th career goal October 18, 2008[22]
Dustin Jeffrey 1st career goal January 1, 2009[142]
Evgeni Malkin 200th career point January 30, 2009[143]
Luca Caputi 1st career goal February 3, 2009[144]
Miroslav Satan 1000th career game February 4, 2009[145]
Marc-Andre Fleury 100th career win March 1, 2009 (Dallas Stars)[146]
Bill Guerin 800th career point March 5, 2009[147]
Petr Sykora 300th career goal April 7, 2009[148]
Players who made their NHL debut[144][149]
Player Notes
Paul Bissonnette 2003 fourth round pick
John Curry 2007 undrafted free agent
Dustin Jeffrey 2007 sixth round pick
Ben Lovejoy 2008 free agent
Janne Pesonen 2008 free agent
Luca Caputi 2007 fourth round pick
Tim Wallace 2006 undrafted free agent

Awards[edit]

Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs.
Player Award
Sidney Crosby
Evgeni Malkin
All-Star starting forwards[150]
Kris Letang YoungStars sophomore defenceman[151]
Mark Eaton Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy finalist[152]
Evgeni Malkin Art Ross Trophy (113 points)[78]
Hart Memorial Trophy finalist[153]
Lester B. Pearson Award finalist[154]

Conn Smythe Trophy[155]

Sidney Crosby Mark Messier Leadership Award finalist[156]

Prior to the team's final home game on April 9 against the New York Islanders, the team announced its annual award winners. Awards were given by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, the Penguins Booster Club, as well as voted amongst the team.[157]

Player Award Notes
Sidney Crosby
Brooks Orpik
Baz Bastien Memorial Award Awarded by the Writers Association for cooperation throughout the season. Sponsor: UPMC Sports Medicine
Mark Eaton Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee Nominated by the Writers Association for league-wide recognition. Sponsor: Trib Total Media
Evgeni Malkin A. T. Caggiano Memorial Booster Club Cup Awarded to the player with the most "three stars" recognitions.
Eric Godard Edward J. DeBartolo Award Awarded for time and effort towards community and charity projects. Sponsor: Verizon Wireless
Jordan Staal Defensive Player of the Year Sponsor: CONSOL Energy
Eric Godard Player's Player Award Voted by the team for leadership and teamwork. Sponsor: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
Evgeni Malkin Most Valuable Player Sponsor:BNY Mellon

Transactions[edit]

Concerns over future player contracts were raised just days after the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.[158] Approximately a dozen players, including Marian Hossa, Jarkko Ruutu, Ryan Malone, and Brooks Orpik, had fulfilled the final year on their contracts.[159][160] On June 28, the Penguins traded the contract negotiation rights to Gary Roberts and Ryan Malone to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a conditional draft pick; it became a 3rd round pick when both Malone and Roberts signed with the Lightning on June 30.[161] Evgeni Malkin was offered a contract from a Russian team in the newly formed Kontinental Hockey League worth approximately $12.5 million, tax exempt, per year, which would make him the highest-paid hockey player in the world.[162] However, Malkin turned down the offer to remain with the Penguins, and the IIHF released a statement saying that it would not honor the offer, as Malkin was already under an existing contract with the Penguins at the time.[163][164] Malkin agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $8.7 million per year—the same value as Sidney Crosby's contract—with the Penguins on July 2.[165] On July 3, the Penguins agreed to a seven-year deal with restricted free agent goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in addition to one-year contracts with free agents Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko.[166] On October 8 the Penguins made several roster adjustments, placing Kris Beech, who was already in Europe looking for a new team, on unconditional waivers and sending Janne Pesonen, John Curry, and Jeff Taffe, who first had to clear waivers,[167] to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.[168] The next day, on October 9, the Penguins acquired Mike Zigomanis from Phoenix for future considerations.[167] On December 19, the team extended their agreement with Max Talbot for an additional two seasons.[169]

Trades
June 28, 2008[161][170]
To Tampa Bay Lightning
Rights to negotiate with
Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone
To Pittsburgh Penguins
2009 fourth round draft pick (from Dallas),
or third round draft pick (if signed)
July 17, 2008[171] To Chicago Blackhawks
Tim Brent
To Pittsburgh Penguins
Danny Richmond
October 1, 2008[172] To Tampa Bay Lightning
Rights to Michal Sersen
To Pittsburgh Penguins
2009 fifth round pick
October 9, 2008[167] To Phoenix Coyotes
Future considerations
To Pittsburgh Penguins
Michael Zigomanis
November 16, 2008[173] To Dallas Stars
Darryl Sydor
To Pittsburgh Penguins
Philippe Boucher
December 19, 2008[174] To St. Louis Blues
Jonathan Filewich
To Pittsburgh Penguins
2010 sixth round pick
January 5, 2009[175] To Montreal Canadiens
T. J. Kemp
To Pittsburgh Penguins
2010 conditional seventh round pick
January 17, 2009[176] To Edmonton Oilers
Dany Sabourin
Ryan Stone
2011 4th round pick
To Pittsburgh Penguins
Mathieu Garon
February 26, 2009[177] To Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Whitney
To Pittsburgh Penguins
Chris Kunitz
Signing rights to Eric Tangradi
March 4, 2009[63] To St. Louis Blues
Danny Richmond
To Pittsburgh Penguins
Andy Wozniewski
March 4, 2009[63] To New York Islanders
2009 conditional draft pick
To Pittsburgh Penguins
Bill Guerin

Initially fifth-round pick, fourth-round pick if Penguins make playoffs, third-round pick if Penguins win a playoff round and Guerin plays in 50% of the games.[178]

Draft picks[edit]

The 2008 NHL Entry Draft was held on June 20–21, 2008, in Ottawa, Ontario. The Penguins did not make their first selection until the fourth round, at 120th overall.[195]

Round # Player Pos Nationality College/Junior/Club Team (League)
4 120 Nathan Moon Center  Canada Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
5 150 Alexander Pechurski Goaltender  Russia Magnitogorsk 2 (RUS-3)
6 180 Patrick Killeen Goaltender  Canada Brampton Battalion (OHL)
7 210 Nicholas D'Agostino Defence  Canada St. Michael's Buzzers (OPJHL)
Draft notes[196]

Farm teams[edit]

Pittsburgh's American Hockey League affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, finished the 2008–09 season third in the East Division.

Chris Minard, the AHL's leading goal scorer at time of announcement, was selected as a starter for Team Canada in the 2009 All Star Classic. Jeff Taffe and Ben Lovejoy were selected as reserves for the PlanetUSA team. All three players were under two-way NHL contracts and played games with Pittsburgh during the season. In the game, Taffe scored three goals and recorded two assists.[200]

Janne Pesonen, who signed a contract with the Penguins in July 2008, finished the 2008–09 season as the AHL's fourth-leading scorer, set a new record for points in a single season for the team, passing up Toby Peterson's 67-point season of 2000–01, and his 82 points were the most ever by a Finn in AHL history.[201][202]

The ECHL affiliate Wheeling Nailers finished the season fourth in the Northern Division, and were eliminated in the first round of the 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

The Nailers had three players selected for the 2009 ECHL All-Star Game, all reserve forwards. Nick Johnson, the only Penguins prospect, was drafted by the team 67th overall in 2004 and signed an entry-level contract with the organization in March 2008. Johnson did not play in the All-Star Game because he finished the season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Media affiliates[edit]

WXDX-FM of Pittsburgh was the radio flagship station for the Penguins for the third season. In April, the team and the station agreed to a six-year contract extension. Mike Lange and former Penguin Phil Bourque were the station's broadcasters.[203]

FSN Pittsburgh was the primary television network. Paul Steigerwald, Dan Potash, and former Penguins Bob Errey and Jay Caufield were the station's broadcast team. During the semi-final playoff round against the Washington Capitals, game five set a record as the highest watched game on any FSN regional network in history. It was then surpassed by games six and seven; the final game of the series drew a 24.97 average rating—twice the viewers than the second most watched show of the evening.[204]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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