A scrapbook full of goals, guts 'n' glory


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The Penguins didn't bring the Stanley Cup back to Pittsburgh, but, from Gary Roberts' goal just 68 seconds into the first playoff game against Ottawa to Marian Hossa's near-miss at the end of the final game against champion Detroit, they gave us wonderful memories that will last long after Sidney Crosby is a very old man.

See how my list compares to yours:

• Roberts' goal, 44 days before his 42nd birthday and in only his second game back from a broken left leg and high-ankle sprain ...

WWGRD? Become a cult hero, actually.

• Ryan Whitney's fight with Ottawa's Wade Redden in Game 1 ...

No one will ever confuse Whitney with Georges Laraque, but he makes it clear to the Senators they won't be able to take liberties with Crosby. "You earn respect by sticking up for your teammate," said appreciative Penguins coach Michel Therrien.

• Ryan Malone's wraparound goal with 1:02 left wins Game 2 against the Senators after the Penguins blow a 3-0 lead ...

• Jarkko Ruutu's spinning backhanded goal late in the second period of Game 4 is the series clincher against Ottawa ...

That name, that sliced-and-diced face, that edge to his game make Ruutu a cult hero of Roberts-like proportions.

• Second-period goals by Ruutu and Pascal Dupuis within a 24-second span and third-period goals by Hossa and Petr Sykora in a 20-second span help bring the Penguins back from a 3-0 deficit in Game 1 against the New York Rangers ...

Old friend Jaromir Jagr will say later this was when the series was decided.

• Young Jordan Staal breaks a scoreless second-period tie against the Rangers in Game 2 by chipping in a goal after a sweet pass from Evgeni Malkin, who beats Staal's brother, Marc, a Rangers defenseman, with an otherworldly move ...

• Malkin's two goals help the Penguins win Game 3 against the Rangers and go 7-0 in these playoffs ...

It's hard to believe the goals are Malkin's first at Madison Square Garden.

• Hossa's all-out dive to keep the puck in the Rangers' end in Game 5, setting up his power-play goal ...

"You don't see superstars diving for the puck like that very often," Whitney said.

• Hossa's Game 5 winner in overtime eliminates the Rangers ...

It's hard to say what made the old arena shake more -- that goal or big Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton jumping up and down like a kid in his first-row seat.

• Malkin's shorthanded breakaway goal -- on a slap shot, no less -- freezes Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Biron in Game 1 ...

It was, simply, the most amazing Penguins goal of the playoffs.

• Tyler Kennedy's spirited fight with the Flyers' Scottie Upshall early in Game 2 after Upshall had cross-checked Kris Letang from behind late in Game 1 ...

Laraque jokingly referred to Kennedy -- the smallest player on the Penguins' roster -- as a "bantamweight," then said, "I thought that fight was spectacular to see. [Kennedy] wanted to fire up the crowd. He wanted to fire up our team. That's what he did."

• Max Talbot, returning after missing three games with a broken foot, gets the third-period goal that finishes off the Flyers in Game 2 ...

"Now I can say I did it. I could stop playing tomorrow and say I scored a game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs," said Mad Max, whose biggest goal was yet to come.

• Sergei Gonchar dives to poke check the puck away from the Flyers' Mike Richards on a shorthanded breakaway in Game 3 ...

It was, simply, the most amazing Penguins defensive play of the playoffs.

• Staal scores two goals against the Flyers in Game 4 a day after burying his grandfather ...

"It was my first funeral ever," Staal said. The kid grew up in a hurry this spring.

• Where's Jeff Reed when you need him? ...

The Penguins trounced the Flyers, 6-0, in Game 5 to win the series. Does it get any better than beating your hated rival by a touchdown?

• Marc-Andre Fleury trips and falls taking the ice for Game 1 against Detroit at Joe Louis Arena ...

It's OK to laugh at Fleury. He laughed at himself. A priceless moment the next day: Fleury repeatedly practiced stepping on and off the ice.

• Crosby gives the Penguins life at Mellon Arena by scoring the first two goals against Detroit in Game 3 ...

"What a true leader," Talbot said. "The rest of us have no choice but to follow."

• Brooks Orpik's seek-and-destroy shift late in Game 3 when he drills four Red Wings in a 15-second span ...

"That might have been the loudest moments I've heard with the crowd here," Talbot said.

• Is Adam Hall living right or what? ...

The fourth-line defensive specialist scored the winning goal in Game 3 against Detroit when he banked in a shot off goaltender Chris Osgood's rear end and was credited with a goal in Game 5 when Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall put the puck in his own net.

• Therrien's decision to use Talbot as an extra attacker late in Game 5 with the Penguins down, 3-2 ...

Talbot rewarded the faith by scoring the tying goal with 34.3 seconds left, temporarily silencing the bedlam in Joe Louis Arena.

• Sykora's power-play winner in the third overtime ...

This silenced the bedlam for the night after 109:57 of breathtaking hockey.

• The gauze in Malone's broken nose ...

He played through the pain and was on the ice for Sykora's winning goal.

• Gonchar's back injury ...

He left Game 5 in the second period and didn't return until the deciding power play, picking up an assist on Sykora's goal.

• Whitney's 50:46 of ice time in Game 5 ...

And we say this guy is soft?

• Fleury's 55 saves ...

None was more spectacular than a toe save on Detroit winger Mikael Samuelsson.

• Hossa's goal on the deflection of a Gonchar slapper with 1:27 left cuts Detroit's lead to 3-2 in Game 6 and gives the Penguins a chance before last-second shots by Crosby and Hossa dance harmlessly through Osgood's crease ...

What? You thought this team was going to go out quietly?

• One final "Let's Go Pens!" chant even as Red Wings captain Nick Lidstrom prepares to lift the Stanley Cup ...

The fans' message was clear:

Thanks for the terrific season, the great effort, the spilled blood and the broken bones.

Thanks for the fabulous memories.


Ron Cook can be reached at rcook@post-gazette.com .


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