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 Civic Arena
Team leaders
Goals Mario Lemieux (50)
Assists Mario Lemieux (72)
Points Mario Lemieux (122)
Penalties in minutes Dave Roche (155)
Wins Patrick Lalime (21)
Goals against average Patrick Lalime (2.94)

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.

Off-season[edit]

Regular season[edit]

The 1996–97 season featured Mario Lemieux in his final season before his first retirement. Lemieux won his sixth (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 sixth-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 five unmemorable games and led to the promotion of Lalime from the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League (IHL). Lalime debuted in relief of Ken Wregget in a loss to the New York Rangers on November 16. His first win came in relief of Wregget on December 6, and the next day, on December 7, he was given the start against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, beating the Mighty Dcuks 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 did not win a road game after February 5, which led 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 sixth seed at 38–36–8. The Penguins finished the season first in scoring, with 285 goals for.[1]
In the Eastern Conference Quarter-finals, the Penguins took-on the third-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 Pittsburgh, in which Lemieux scored on a breakaway against Flyers goaltender 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 Buffalo Sabres NE 82 40 30 12 237 208 92
3 Philadelphia Flyers ATL 82 45 24 13 274 217 103
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 Playoffs
Legend:           = Win           = Loss

Player statistics[edit]

Skaters
Goaltenders
Regular Season[5]
Player GP TOI W L T GA GAA SA SV% SO G A PIM
Lalime, PatrickPatrick Lalime 39 2057:35 21 12 2 101 2.95 1166 0.913 3 0 0 0
Wregget, KenKen Wregget 46 2514:23 17 17 6 136 3.25 1383 0.902 2 0 1 6
Barrasso, TomTom Barrasso 5 269:37 0 5 0 26 5.79 186 0.860 0 0 0 0
De Rouville, PhilippePhilippe De Rouville 2 111:08 0 2 0 6 3.24 66 0.909 0 0 0 0
Total 4952:43 38 36 8 269 3.26 2801 0.904 5 0 1 6
Playoffs[6]
Player GP TOI W L T GA GAA SA SV% SO G A PIM
Wregget, KenKen Wregget 5 297:28 1 4 0 18 3.63 211 0.915 0 0 0 2
Total 297:28 1 4 0 18 3.63 211 0.915 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 Penguins only.

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 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]

October 25, 1996 To Los Angeles Kings

1997 conditional pick (not exercised)

To Pittsburgh Penguins

Petr Klima

November 17, 1996 To New York Islanders

Bryan Smolinski

To Pittsburgh Penguins

Andreas Johansson
Darius Kasparaitis

November 19, 1996 To Florida Panthers

Chris Wells

To Pittsburgh Penguins

Stu Barnes
Jason Woolley

November 19, 1996 To Anaheim Ducks

Shawn Antoski
Dmitri Mironov

To Pittsburgh Penguins

Alex Hicks
Fredrik Olausson

January 27, 1997 To Detroit Red Wings

Tomas Sandstrom

To Pittsburgh Penguins

Greg Johnson

February 21, 1997 To Anaheim Ducks

Jean-Jacques Daigneault

To Pittsburgh Penguins

Garry Valk

March 18, 1997 To Anaheim Ducks

Richard Park

To Pittsburgh Penguins

Roman Oksiuta

March 18, 1997 To Los Angeles Kings

Glen Murray

To Pittsburgh Penguins

Ed Olczyk

March 18, 1997 To Vancouver Canucks

future considerations (1998 5th round pick)

To Pittsburgh Penguins

Josef Beranek