1990–91 Pittsburgh Penguins season

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1990–91 Pittsburgh Penguins
Stanley Cup champions
Wales Conference champions
Patrick Division champions
Division 1st Patrick
Conference 3rd Wales
1990–91 record 41–33–6
Home record 25–12–3
Road record 16–21–3
Goals for 342 (2nd)
Goals against 305 (18th)
Team information
General Manager Craig Patrick
Coach Bob Johnson
Captain Mario Lemieux
Alternate captains Paul Coffey
Bob Errey
Randy Hillier
Arena Civic Arena
Average attendance 15,927
Team leaders
Goals Mark Recchi and Kevin Stevens (40)
Assists Mark Recchi (73)
Points Mark Recchi (113)
Penalties in minutes Kevin Stevens (133)
Wins Tom Barrasso (27)
Goals against average Tom Barrasso (3.59)

The 1990–91 Pittsburgh Penguins season was the Penguins 24th season in the NHL, and they were coming off of a disappointing 1989–90 season, when they finished with a 32–40–8 record, recording 72 points, finishing one point behind the New York Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Patrick Division, failing to qualify for post-season play for the seventh time in eight seasons. The Penguins placed first in their division, third-overall in the Wales Conference, on the way to the first-ever Stanley Cup championship for the team. Six players and three off-ice staff members from the 1990-91 team have been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.


In the off-season, General Manager Craig Patrick, who finished the previous season coaching the club, would name Bob Johnson as the new head coach of the Penguins. Patrick also named Scotty Bowman as his director of player development and recruitment. Johnson had previously been the head coach of the Calgary Flames from 1982 to 1987. The team also acquired veteran Bryan Trottier, who helped lead the New York Islanders to four-straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983, to help out with his leadership abilities.


Legend:           = Win           = Loss           = Tie

Regular season[edit]

The Penguins would begin the season without Mario Lemieux, as he would miss the first half of the season recovering from a back injury that he suffered in a game against the New York Rangers on February 14, 1990, which caused him to miss the remainder of the 1989–90 season.

Pittsburgh would begin the season slow, and in their opening 31 games, the team had a 12–16–3, good for 27 points, and nine points out of a playoff spot. As the season progressed, the team began playing better, had Lemieux return to the lineup, and Patrick would make some trades, acquiring defenseman Larry Murphy from the Minnesota North Stars and Scott Young from the Hartford Whalers. The Penguins eventually came into playoff contention, and on March 4, when the team had a 32–30–4 record, sitting in third place in the Division, the club pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Whalers, trading John Cullen, Zarley Zalapski and Jeff Parker to Hartford for Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson, and Grant Jennings. The deal helped the Penguins finish the season off 9–3–2, and win their first ever Division championship, finishing three points ahead of the second place New York Rangers.

With Lemieux missing the majority of the season due to his back injury, Mark Recchi stepped up and had a breakout season, scoring a team-high 40 goals and 73 assists for 113 points. Kevin Stevens would tie Recchi for the team lead in goals with 40, and add 46 assists for 86 points. Rookie Jaromir Jagr had a solid season, scoring 27 goals and earning 57 points, while Lemieux recorded 19 goals and 45 points in only 26 games. Paul Coffey led the defense with 93 points in 76 games. The 342 goals the Penguins scored was the second-highest toal in the League, only two goals less than the Calgary Flames.

In goal, Tom Barrasso had the majority of playing time, winning a team high 27 games and posting a 3.59 goals against average (GAA), along with one shutout. Frank Pietrangelo appeared in 25 games, finishing with a 10–11–1 record and a 3.94 GAA.

Season standings[edit]

Patrick Division
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 41 33 6 342 305 88
New York Rangers 80 36 31 13 297 265 85
Washington Capitals 80 37 36 7 258 258 81
New Jersey Devils 80 32 33 15 272 264 79
Philadelphia Flyers 80 33 37 10 252 267 76
New York Islanders 80 25 45 10 223 290 60

[1]Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

Wales Conference[2]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 Boston Bruins ADM 80 44 24 12 299 264 100
2 Montreal Canadiens ADM 80 39 30 11 273 249 89
3 Pittsburgh Penguins PTK 80 41 33 6 342 305 88
4 New York Rangers PTK 80 36 31 13 297 265 85
5 Washington Capitals PTK 80 37 36 7 258 258 81
6 Buffalo Sabres ADM 80 31 30 19 292 278 81
7 New Jersey Devils PTK 80 32 33 15 272 264 79
8 Philadelphia Flyers PTK 80 33 37 10 252 267 76
9 Hartford Whalers ADM 80 31 38 11 238 276 73
10 New York Islanders PTK 80 25 45 10 223 290 60
11 Quebec Nordiques ADM 80 16 50 14 236 354 46

Divisions: PTK – Patrick, ADM – Adams

bold – Qualified for playoffs

Schedule and results[edit]

1990–91 Schedule
Legend:           = Win           = Loss           = Tie


Division Semifinals[edit]

In the playoffs, the Penguins would open up against the New Jersey Devils, who finished the year in fourth place in the Division, nine points behind Pittsburgh. The teams split the opening two games in Pittsburgh, and then split the two games in New Jersey, before the Devils won Game 5 at Civic Arena to take a 3–2 series lead back home. The Penguins responded with a hard-fought 4–3 victory in Game 6 to bring it back home for Game 7, where Pittsburgh completed the comeback with a 4–0 shutout to win the series.

Division Finals[edit]

Up next was the Washington Capitals, and Washington would surprise the Penguins with a 4–2 victory in the opening game, though Pittsburgh tied the series in Game 2 with a 7–6 overtime victory. The Pens would go into Washington for Games 3 and 4, and post back-to-back 3–1 wins to go up 3–1 in the series, and finish off Washington in the fifth game to clinch the series and advance to the Conference Finals for the first time in team history.

Conference Finals[edit]

The Penguins next opponent was the Boston Bruins, the defending Wales Conference champions, and the Bruins, who finished with 100 points, had home ice for the series. Boston would take control of the series early by winning the opening two games in Boston, however, the Penguins responded by winning the next two in Pittsburgh to even up the series. Pittsburgh would return to Boston for the fifth game, and surprise the Bruins with a 7–2 victory, going up 3–2 in the series and returning home for the sixth game. The Penguins finished off Boston 5–3 in the sixth game, winning the Prince of Wales Trophy and going to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in team history.

Stanley Cup Finals[edit]

Pittsburgh faced the surprising Minnesota North Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals. While the North Stars had a 27–39–14 record during the regular season, they had been red hot in the playoffs, defeating the Presidents' Trophy winners Chicago Blackhawks, the St. Louis Blues and the defending Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers to reach the Finals. Minnesota would continue their hot streak with a 5–4 victory in Game 1, but the Penguins tied the series in Game 2 as the series shifted from Pittsburgh to Minnesota. The North Stars won Game 3 with solid goaltending, but the Penguins rebounded in Game 4 to tie the series as it returned to Pittsburgh. Game 5 was a close, hard-fought game, with the Penguins winning 6–4 to take a 3–2 series lead, and in Game 6, Pittsburgh would defeat the North Stars 8–0 to win the series, and the first-ever Stanley Cup in club history. Mario Lemieux, recording 44 points in 23 games, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Playoff log[edit]

1991 Stanley Cup playoffs
Legend:           = Win           = Loss           = Playoff series win
  • Scorer of game-winning goal in italics

Player statistics[edit]

Regular Season[5]
Tom Barrasso 48 2753:51 27 16 3 165 3.59 1579 0.896 1 0 5 40
Frank Pietrangelo 25 1310:35 10 11 1 86 3.94 714 0.880 0 0 1 24
Wendell Young 18 772:57 4 6 2 52 4.04 428 0.879 0 0 1 0
Total 4837:23 41 33 6 303 3.76 2721 0.889 1 0 7 64
Tom Barrasso 20 1175:23 12 7 0 51 2.82 629 0.919 1 0 1 2
Frank Pietrangelo 5 287:42 4 1 0 15 2.80 148 0.899 1 0 1 2
Total 1463:05 16 8 0 66 2.71 777 0.915 2 0 2 4

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 Penguins only.

Awards and records[edit]

  • Mario Lemieux became the first person to score 500 assists for the Penguins. He did so in a 5–7 loss to Edmonton on February 11th.
  • Paul Coffey established a franchise record for assists (278) and points (376) by a defenseman. He broke the previous records of 277 assists and 343 points, both held by Ron Stackhouse.


Player Award
Phil Bourque Baz Bastien Memorial "Good Guy" Award
Randy Gilhen Unsung Hero Award
Jaromir Jagr Michel Briere Memorial Rookie of the Year Award
NHL All-Rookie Team
Mario Lemieux Donadeo Sullivan Pittsburgh Penguins Masterton Nominee
Conn Smythe Trophy
Mark Recchi Bowser Pontiac Leading Point Scorer Award
Murray Hill Jewelers Player's Player Award
Booster Club Award
Foodland Most Valuable Player Award
Kevin Stevens NHL Second All-Star Team


The Penguins were involved in the following transactions during the 1990–91 season:[7]


June 16, 1990 To Calgary Flames:

1990 second round pick
(#26–Nicolas Perreault)

To Pittsburgh Penguins:

Joe Mullen

October 27, 1990 To St. Louis Blues:

Future considerations
(1992 eleventh round pick
(#259–Wade Salzman))

To Pittsburgh Penguins:

Gordie Roberts

December 11, 1990 To Minnesota North Stars:

Jim Johnson
Chris Dahlquist

To Pittsburgh Penguins:

Larry Murphy
Peter Taglianetti

December 13, 1990 To Calgary Flames:

Jim Kyte

To Pittsburgh Penguins:

Jiri Hrdina

December 21, 1990 To Hartford Whalers:

Rob Brown

To Pittsburgh Penguins:

Scott Young

March 4, 1991 To Hartford Whalers:

John Cullen
Zarley Zalapski
Jeff Parker

To Pittsburgh Penguins:

Ron Francis
Ulf Samuelsson
Grant Jennings

March 5, 1991 To Edmonton Oilers:

Brad Aitken

To Pittsburgh Penguins:

Kim Issel

March 5, 1991 To Buffalo Sabres:

Tony Tanti

To Pittsburgh Penguins:

Rights to Ken Priestlay

Free agents[edit]

Player Acquired from Lost to Date
Alain Chevrier Detroit Red Wings July 5, 1990
Bryan Trottier New York Islanders July 20, 1990
Richard Zemlak Calgary Flames November 9, 1990
Jeff Parker Winnipeg Jets February 5, 1991


Player Date Contract terms
Paul Coffey October 24, 1990 Multi-year contract


Name Date Details
Rod Buskas October 1, 1990 Lost to Los Angeles Kings in waiver draft
Randy Gilhen May 30, 1991 Lost in expansion draft (Minnesota North Stars)
Greg Carval June 21, 1991 Acquired in supplemental draft

Draft picks[edit]

Pittsburgh Penguins' picks at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.[8]

Round # Player Pos Nationality College/Junior/Club Team (League)
1 5 Jaromir Jagr Right Wing  Czechoslovakia HC Kladno (Czechoslovakia)
3 61[a] Joe Dziedzic Left Wing  United States Edison High School (USHS–MN)
4 68 Chris Tamer Defense  United States University of Michigan (CCHA)
5 89 Brian Farrell Left Wing  United States Avon Old Farms (USHS–CT)
6 107[b] Ian Moran Defense  United States Belmont Hill School (USHS–MA)
6 110 Denis Casey Goaltender  Canada Colorado College (WCHA)
7 130[c] Mika Valila Center  Sweden Tappara (Finland)
7 131 Ken Plaquin Defense  Canada Michigan Tech (WCHA)
7 145[d] Patrick Neaton Defense  United States University of Michigan (CCHA)
8 152 Petteri Koskimaki Center  Finland Boston University (Hockey East)
9 173 Ladislav Karabin Left Wing  Slovakia Slovan Bratislava (Czechoslovakia)
10 194 Timothy Fingerhut Left Wing  United States Canterbury High School (USHS–CT)
11 215 Michael Thompson Right Wing  Canada Michigan State University (CCHA)
12 236 Brian Bruininks Defense  United States Colorado College (WCHA)
S 5 Joe Dragon Center  Canada Cornell University (ECAC)
S 9 Savo Mitrovic Center  Yugoslavia University of New Hampshire (Hockey East)
Draft notes[9]
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins' second-round pick went to the Calgary Flames as the result of a June 16, 1990, trade that sent Joe Mullen to the Penguins in exchange for this pick.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins' third-round pick went to the Philadelphia Flyers as the result of a September 1, 1989, trade that sent Wendell Young and a seventh-round pick to the Penguins in exchange for this pick.
  • a The Buffalo Sabres' third-round pick went to the Pittsburgh Penguins as a result of a November 12, 1988, trade that sent Doug Bodger and Darrin Shannon to the Sabres in exchange for Tom Barrasso and this pick.
  • b The Vancouver Canucks' sixth-round pick went to the Pittsburgh Penguins as a result of an October 24, 1989, trade that sent Rod Buskas to the Canucks in exchange for this pick.
  • c The Philadelphia Flyers' seventh-round pick went to the Pittsburgh Penguins as a result of a September 1, 1989, trade that sent a third-round pick to the Flyers in exchange for Wendell Young and this pick.
  • d The Buffalo Sabres' seventh-round pick went to the Pittsburgh Penguins as a result of an October 3, 1988, trade that sent Wayne Van Dorp to the Sabres in exchange for this pick.

Pittsburgh Penguins 1991 Stanley Cup champions[edit]


  • †† Goalie Wendell Young missed the first three rounds with an injury. Tom Barrasso also missed the last two games of Round 1 and first two games of Round 2 while injured. Bruce Racine was called up from the minors to serve as back-up to Frank Pietrangelo. Racine's name was left off the Stanley Cup because he had not played in the NHL – in fact, Racine never played for Pittsburgh. His only NHL experience came in 1995–96 for the St. Louis Blues. Racine was included in the team picture, and does have a 1991 Stanley Cup ring.
  • † 4 more players were included on the 1991 Stanley Cup picture, but were not engraved on the Cup. They did not play in the playoffs or qualify to be on the Cup.

Coaching and administrative staff:

Stanley Cup engraving

  • Bob Johnson became the second American-born head coach to win the Stanley Cup. Bill Stewart was the first in 1938 with the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • Barry Pederson (C) did not play a single game in the 1991 playoffs, but his name got engraved on the Stanley Cup and got a Stanley Cup ring, because he played 46 games during the season.
  • Jay Caufield spent the whole 1990–91 season with Pittsburgh. He played only 23 regular season games and did not dress in the playoffs. His name was engraved on the Stanley Cup due to the team's petition, even though he did not qualify.

Farm teams[edit]

The IHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks finished in fourth place in the East Division with a record of 38-40-5. They lost to the Kalamazoo Wings in the first round of the playoffs 4-1.

The East Coast Hockey League's Knoxville Cherokees won the Henry Brabham Cup as the team with the league's most outstanding record (46-13-5). They were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Louisville Icehawks. Don Jackson was named coach of the year, Stan Drulia was named league MVP and was leading scorer, and Dan Gauthier was the league rookie of the year.

Media affiliates[edit]


Flagship station Play-by-play Color commentator Studio host
KDKA-AM 1020 (main)
WDVE-FM 102.5 (backup)
Mike Lange Paul Steigerwald

Some of the games broadcast on WDVE because of KDKA-AM's broadcast conflict with the Pittsburgh Pirates.


Local TV Play-by-play Color commentator
Mike Lange Paul Steigerwald


  1. ^ Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 153. ISBN 9781894801225.
  2. ^ "1990–1991 Conference Standings". National Hockey League. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  3. ^ "1990–1991 – Regular Season – Pittsburgh Penguins – All Skaters – Summary – Points – NHL.com – Stats". NHL.
  4. ^ "1990–1991 – Playoffs – Pittsburgh Penguins – All Skaters – Summary – Points – NHL.com – Stats". NHL.
  5. ^ "1990–1991 – Regular Season – Pittsburgh Penguins – Goalie – Summary – Wins – NHL.com – Stats". NHL.
  6. ^ "1990–1991 – Playoffs – Pittsburgh Penguins – Goalie – Summary – Wins – NHL.com – Stats". NHL.
  7. ^ "Hockey Transactions Search Results". ProSportsTransactions.
  8. ^ "NHL Entry Draft Year by Year Results". NHL.com. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  9. ^ "1990 NHL Entry Draft Pending Transactions". Pro Sports Transactions. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  • National Hockey League Guide & Record Book 2007

External links[edit]