The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the National Hockey League for the 1967-68 season. The team name, Penguins, came about because the team would be playing their home games in the "Igloo," which was the nickname of the Civic Arena. The original logo, the penguin in front of a triangle, signified the "Golden Triangle" of downtown Pittsburgh.
Their first season ended without a playoff appearance, but one good thing did come out of it: they became the first expansion team to beat an "Original Six" team with a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on October 21, 1967.
Throughout the 1970s, the Penguins made great strides but came up short of winning the Cup. In 1983 and 1984, the team finished with the worst record in the League. Toward the end of the 1984 season, the Penguins were neck-and-neck with the New Jersey Devils in the standings for last place overall. The Penguins went on three separate six-game losing streaks within the last 21 games of the season to end up with the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, and were able to select a player by the name of Mario Lemieux.
Lemieux opened the 1984-85 season with a bang, scoring on his first shot, on his first shift in the NHL. The first four seasons that Lemieux was with the team, they failed to make the playoffs. That all changed, however, in 1989 when they began a stretch that included 12 playoff appearances and two Cup wins in 13 seasons.
In the 1990 Entry Draft, the Pens selected Jaromir Jagr and paired him on the same line with Lemieux for the 1990-91 season. That season, the Pens added numerous quality players through their farm system, free agency and trades. Mark Recchi developed into a star, Bryan Trottier signed as a free agent and Joe Mullen, Larry Murphy, Ron Francis and Ulf Samuelsson were all acquired by trades. The Pens went on to beat the Minnesota North Stars in the 1991 Stanley Cup Final in six games. Following the victory, they became the first NHL team to visit the White House, as President George Bush invited them.
The following season, the team lost coach Bob Johnson to cancer and Scotty Bowman took over. The Penguins then swept the Blackhawks en route to their second straight Cup victory. During the 1992-93 season, the Pens were dealt another tough hand when Lemieux was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Even though he missed 24 out of the team's 84 games that year, he came away with his fourth Art Ross Trophy as the league's scoring champion.
The Penguins were a solid team throughout the '90s but couldn't come away with a third Cup. They eventually traded away Jagr to the Washington Capitals in the summer of 2001 and in 2002 they missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons. This started a downward spiral for the Pens that lasted until 2005, when they drafted Sidney Crosby with the No. 1 pick. A year later, the Pens were back in the playoffs behind Crosby and emerging star Evgeni Malkin.
The Pens returned to the top of the NHL in 2009 when they beat the Detroit Red Wings in seven games to earn their third Cup in franchise history.