Game 7 memories: Penguins have long history of thrillers

The Penguins and New York Rangers will meet tonight at Consol Energy Center in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series.

It will be the 14th Game 7 in franchise history for the Penguins. They are 2-6 in them at home, 5-0 on the road.

The Rangers, who forced the game tonight by winning Games 5 and 6 after losing three of the previous four, have won four consecutive Game 7s, including one in their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers this season.

A look at the first 13 Game 7s in which the Penguins have been involved:

• April 26, 1975, New York Islanders at Penguins. New York’s Ed Westfall shoveled in a shot from the inner edge of the right circle late in the third period to break a 0-0 tie and give the Islanders a 1-0 victory, making them the second team in NHL history to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games.

• April 29, 1989, Philadelphia at Penguins. Flyers backup goalie Ken Wregget stepped in for Ron Hextall, who was injured, and was outstanding in Philadelphia’s 4-1 victory.

• April 15, 1991, New Jersey at Penguins. Penguins backup goalie Frank Pietrangelo, who had authored “The Save” a few nights earlier in the Meadowlands, rejected everything the Devils threw at him in a 4-0 Penguins victory.

• May 1, 1992, Penguins at Washington. The Penguins, who were the defending Stanley Cup champions, had spotted the Capitals a 3-1 lead in the series but completed their comeback with a 3-1 victory at the Capital Centre in Landover, Md., on their way to another Cup.

• May 19, 1993, Islanders at Penguins. The Penguins, heavily favored after winning the Cup the previous two years, scored twice late in regulation to force overtime, but David Volek of the Islanders beat Penguins goalie Tom Barrasso at 5:16 of overtime for a 4-3 New York victory.

• May 18, 1995, Washington at Penguins. As they had three years earlier, the Penguins spotted the Capitals a 3-1 advantage in the series before running off three consecutive victories, the final one a 3-0 shutout by Wregget.

• June 1, 1996, Florida at Penguins. The Panthers grabbed their first (and only) berth in the Cup finals with a 3-1 victory. A long-distance goal against Barrasso in the third period by Tom Fitzgerald, now a member of the Penguins’ front office, provided Florida’s margin of victory.

• May 4, 1999, Penguins at New Jersey. Jaromir Jagr, playing with a severe groin injury, lifted the Penguins back from a 3-2 deficit in the series, and they clinched a spot in the next round with a 4-2 victory at the Meadowlands.

• May 10, 2001, Penguins at Buffalo. Defenseman Darius Kasparaitis became one of the most unlikely playoff heroes in franchise history by beating Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek at 13:01 of overtime for a 3-2 Penguins triumph.

• May 13, 2009, Penguins at Washington. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury set the tone by rejecting Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin on a breakaway three minutes into the game and his teammates never looked back as they trampled the Capitals, 6-2.

• June 12, 2009, Penguins at Detroit. Max Talbot scored both Penguins goals at Joe Louis Arena and Fleury denied Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom on a rebound as time expired to give their team a 2-1 victory and a third Stanley Cup.

• May 12, 2010, Montreal at Penguins. The Canadiens got a power-play goal from Brian Gionta 32 seconds after the opening faceoff and never looked back, building a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-2 victory that ended the Penguins’ bid for a second consecutive Cup.

• April 27, 2011, Tampa Bay at Penguins. Lightning forward Sean Bergenheim scored the only goal at 5:41 of the second period and goalie Dwayne Roloson turned aside 36 shots as Tampa Bay became the 24th team in NHL history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.

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