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Look Back: 12-Game Winning Streak

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
As the final seconds ticked away in the Penguins’ 3-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks Nov. 17 at CONSOL Energy Center, the team never could have imagined the journey it was about to embark upon.

Over the next three-plus weeks, the Penguins would string together a run of success that is among the greatest accomplishments in NHL history. Starting with the triumph over Vancouver, Pittsburgh went on an absolute tear, winning 12-straight games from Nov. 17 to Dec. 11.

The Penguins’ 12-game winning stretch ties for the eighth-longest run in NHL history and ranks as the second longest in team history (bested only by the NHL’s best winning streak of all time – 17 games set by Pittsburgh in 1992-93).

During Pittsburgh’s milestone winning streak, 16 Penguins scored a goal and 21 notched a point. The Penguins outscored their opponents, 42-19, and only trailed for 28:53 minutes during the 12 games (compared to holding the lead for 489:14 minutes).

To put together a winning streak of such magnitude takes a little skill, a little sweat and a little luck. The team must be clicking on many cylinders. Captain Sidney Crosby led the way with 14 goals and 23 points, but contributions came from throughout the lineup.

“It’s not always the same guy (leading the way),” winger Pascal Dupuis said. “Yes, (Crosby) will get his points, but some guys are stepping in and scoring some big goals for us, making the right plays, not only on the scoreboard, but blocking shots. everything.”

“I think that’s kind of a testament of a good team,” defenseman Paul Martin said. “You have your guys that are going to be there night in, night out, the top-end guys. Everyone’s there working and doing the same thing night in, night out, but in certain games you get certain players to chip in and that’s always what you need to be successful.”

The 12-game winning streak was the second longest in the NHL since 2002 (Washington, 14 games, 2009-10). The Penguins’ chase at history expired Dec. 14 in Philadelphia, where the team was defeated for the first time in nearly a month.

Now that the season is over, the players and team can look back and reflect on their monumental accomplishment. Any extended winning streak at the professional sports level is quite an accomplishment. During those 12 games the Penguins were unbeatable, and that’s an accomplishment worthy of historic proportions.

  • 489:14: Number of minutes holding a lead
  • 28:53: Number of minutes trailing
  • 42-19: Penguins goals for-against differential
  • 23: Crosby's total points during streak (14G-9A)
  • 21: Number of Penguins recording a point
  • 16: Number of Penguins recording a goal
  • 14: Crosby's goals during streak - 33.3% of the team's scoring
  • 12: Number of Penguins scoring two or more goals
  • 8: Number of times Pittsburgh scored the opening goal
  • 89.4: Penalty kill percentage (42-47)
  • 23.7: Power-play percentage (9-38)

NOV. 17Sidney Crosby, Maxime Talbot (shorthanded) and Arron Asham all score for Pittsburgh as the Penguins post a 3-1 victory over eventual NHL Presidents’ Trophy winner Vancouver Canucks at CONSOL Energy Center to kick off a remarkable run of victories.

NOV. 21 – The Penguins embark on the fifth annual “Dads’ Trip” with stops in Florida and Buffalo.

NOV. 24 – The Penguins defeat the Buffalo Sabres, 1-0, at HSBC Arena to complete a two-game sweep on the fifth annual “Dads’ Trip.”

NOV. 27 – Crosby scored his first hat trick of the season – and sixth of his career – in a 4-1 victory over Calgary at CONSOL Energy Center. Crosby became the sixth player in franchise history to score 200 career goals. He scored each goal a different way – even strength, power play and shorthanded.

DEC. 2 – Crosby scored all three Pittsburgh goals to record his second hat trick of the season and seventh of his career in a 3-2 win over Atlanta at CONSOL Energy Center. Crosby became the first Penguin to record hat tricks in back-to-back home games since Alex Kovalev in 2001.

DEC. 6 – The Penguins tied the second-best mark in franchise history with their 10th straight win following a 2-1 triumph over the New Jersey Devils at CONSOL Energy Center. Earlier in the evening, winger Bill Guerin ended his 18-year career by retiring as a Penguin.

DEC. 14 – Pittsburgh recorded the second-longest winning streak in franchise history as its run hits 12 games following a 5-2 besting of the Sabres in Buffalo. 

For a look back at some of the coverage from the Pens' 12-game winning streak, check out:

GM # Date Opp  Result Video
1 11/17 W 3-1 Highlights
2 11/19 W 5-4 Highlights
3 11/22 W 3-2 Highlights
4 11/24 W 1-0 Highlights
5 11/26 W 2-1 Highlights
6 11/27 W 4-1 Highlights | Sid Hat Trick
7 11/29 W 3-1 Highlights
8 12/2 W 3-2 Highlights | Sid Hat Trick
9 12/4 W 7-2 Highlights
10 12/6 W 2-1 Highlights | Guerin Retires
11 12/8 W 5-2 Highlights
12 12/11 W 5-2 Highlights
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