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Stanley Cup Final notes, nuggets and storylines

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

First Meeting: The 2008 Stanley Cup Final marks the first playoff series between the Red Wings and Penguins in the 41st season that both clubs have been members of the NHL. It is the first postseason meeting of pro franchises from Detroit and Pittsburgh since the 1909 World Series, when the Pittsburgh Pirates topped the Detroit Tigers four games to three in a celebrated competition between Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner for the Pirates and outfielder Ty Cobb for the Tigers.



The Red Wings and Penguins did not play each other in the 2007-08 regular season. Their most recent meeting occurred Oct. 7, 2006, a 2-0 Red Wings victory at Pittsburgh. Fifteen of the 20 Red Wings who dressed for that game are still with the club; 10 of the 20 Penguins remain with Pittsburgh.

Roster Additions: The four playoff participants acquired by the Penguins and Red Wings during the regular season -- who are now in the Stanley Cup Final -- were obtained from clubs that did not qualify for the postseason. The Penguins added wings Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis from Atlanta, and D Hal Gill from Toronto at the trade deadline on Feb. 26. The Red Wings added D Brad Stuart from Los Angeles, also at the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Tale of the Tape: The Stanley Cup Finalists are an interesting contrast in size and age. Among players who have appeared in at least one playoff game in 2008, the Red Wings' average age is 32.3, nearly five years older than the Penguins' average of 27.9. The Penguins measure in at nearly 6'2" (73.7 inches) and 208 pounds; the Red Wings average just under 6'0" (71.96 inches) and 195 lbs.

Crosby
We're Number One: The Penguins have 13 former first-round draft picks on their roster, including five players the club has selected in the top five: D Ryan Whitney (fifth overall in 2002), G Marc-Andre Fleury (first overall in 2003), C Evgeni Malkin (second overall in 2004), C Sidney Crosby (first overall in 2005) and C Jordan Staal (second overall in 2006). The others are LW Gary Roberts (12th overall by Calgary in 1984), D Darryl Sydor (seventh overall by Los Angeles in 1990), D Sergei Gonchar (14th overall by Washington in 1992), RW Petr Sykora (18th overall by New Jersey in 1995), RW Marian Hossa (12th overall by Ottawa in 1997), C Kris Beech (seventh overall by Washington in 1999), D Brooks Orpik (18th overall by Pittsburgh in 2000) and C Jeff Taffe (30th overall by St. Louis in 2000).

The Red Wings have three former first-round picks, one of which the club selected (D Niklas Kronwall, 29th overall in 2000). The others are RW Daniel Cleary (13th overall by Chicago in 1997) and D Brad Stuart (third overall by San Jose in 1998).

Connections: Detroit D Brian Rafalski and Pittsburgh RW Petr Sykora were teammates on the New Jersey Devils team that won the 2000 Stanley Cup; 46-year-old Detroit D Chris Chelios and Pittsburgh LW Gary Roberts, who turns 42 on May 23, opposed each other in the 1989 Final between Montreal and Calgary.

Players In The Final Whose Names Are Engraved On The Stanley Cup:

Detroit

D Chris Chelios (Montreal 85-86, Detroit 01-02)
C Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit 01-02)
C Kris Draper (Detroit 96-97, 97-98, 01-02)
G Dominik Hasek (Detroit 01-02)
LW Tomas Holmstrom (Detroit 96-97, 97-98, 01-02)
D Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit 96-97, 97-98, 01-02)
RW Kirk Maltby (Detroit 96-97, 97-98, 01-02)
RW Darren McCarty (Detroit 96-97, 97-98, 01-02)
G Chris Osgood (Detroit 96-97, 97-98)
D Brian Rafalski (New Jersey 99-00, 02-03)

Pittsburgh

LW Gary Roberts (Calgary 88-89)
D Darryl Sydor (Dallas 98-99, Tampa Bay 03-04)
RW Petr Sykora (New Jersey 99-00)

* Red Wings C Mark Hartigan could be a member of the Stanley Cup-winning club for a second consecutive season. Acquired by Anaheim from Columbus in January, 2007 trade, Hartigan made six regular-season and one playoff appearance for the champion Ducks. Although he did not meet the games-played criteria for his name to be engraved on the Stanley Cup, he enjoyed his day with the trophy in August at his father's house in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Stanley Cup Final Experience: Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is making his second trip to the Final: he guided the Anaheim Ducks to Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final before falling to the New Jersey Devils.

Lidstrom
Trophy Candidates: Five members of the Red Wings are 2007-08 NHL trophy finalists. Nicklas Lidstrom joins Boston's Zdeno Chara and Calgary's Dion Phaneuf in contention for the Norris Trophy as top defenseman; LW Henrik Zetterberg and C Pavel Datsyuk join New Jersey's John Madden as finalists for the Selke Trophy as top defensive forward; Datsyuk is competing with Buffalo's Jason Pominville and Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis for the Lady Byng Trophy (gentlemanly play); D Chris Chelios joins Toronto's Jason Blake and Edmonton's Fernando Pisani as finalists for the Masterton Trophy for sportsmanship and dedication; and Mike Babcock is vying for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year with Washington's Bruce Boudreau and Montreal's Guy Carbonneau . . . Penguins C Evgeni Malkin has been voted a finalist for the Hart Trophy as League MVP, joining Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Washington's Alex Ovechkin. Trophy winners will be announced at the 2008 NHL Awards Show, Thursday, June 12 at Toronto's historic Elgin Theatre.

Happy Birthday To You: Two players will celebrate their birthdays over the next two weeks: Pittsburgh LW Gary Roberts turns 42 on May 23, the day prior to Game 1; Detroit C Kris Draper turns 37 on May 24.

European Milestone: Born in Vasteras, Sweden, Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom has the opportunity to be the first European captain to hoist the Stanley Cup. Steve Yzerman served as captain on Lidstrom's three previous Stanley Cup-winning clubs with Detroit in 1997, 1998 and 2002. A Swedish-born captain has advanced to the Final for the second consecutive season, following Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson in 2006-07.

Common Thread: Scotty Bowman coached each of these Finalists to its previous Cup: Red Wings (2002), Penguins (1992).


DETROIT RED WINGS

NHL Playoff Appearance: 56th (17th consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 10 (last SC: 2002)
Last Stanley Cup Final Appearance: 2002
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 61-45
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 281-252-1
How They Got Here: Defeated the Nashville Predators, 4-2, in the Conference Quarter-Finals; defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 4-0, in the Conference Semifinals; defeated the Dallas Stars, 4-2, in the Conference Finals.

KEY DATES - 2007-08

Jan. 2/08 -- The Red Wings set an NHL record for most first-half victories with a 4-1 victory over Dallas, posting a 30-8-3 mark through 41 contests.

Chelios
Jan. 8/08 -- Against Colorado, D Chris Chelios becomes the second-oldest player in NHL history, second only to Gordie Howe.

Mar. 13/08 -- The Red Wings reach the 100-point mark for the eighth consecutive season with a 5-3 victory over Dallas, matching the Montreal Canadiens' record streak from 1974-75 through 1981-82. In addition, the victory clinches their seventh consecutive division title as well as a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 17th consecutive season, the longest active streak of qualifying for the postseason among the major pro sports.

Apr. 3/08 -- The Red Wings clinch the sixth Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history with a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, assuring themselves home-ice advantage throughout their participation in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

KEY DATES - BUILDING BLOCKS

June 17/89 -- With the 53rd choice in the 1989 Entry Draft in Minnesota, the Red Wings select 19-year old defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom from Vasteras, Sweden. In a Draft at which fellow countryman Mats Sundin makes history in becoming the first-ever European player to be chosen #1 overall in the Draft, Lidstrom is only the 38th-ranked European player.

July 17/97 -- Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland is promoted from assistant General Manager to General Manager, succeeding Jim Devellano. Devellano, at the time: "We put in this plan three years ago, and Ken Holland becoming the GM is something I'm very excited and very proud about. He'll probably be around here for another 10 to 15 years."

June 27/98 -- C Pavel Datsyuk is the Red Wings' eighth choice, 171st overall, in the 1998 Entry Draft in Buffalo. The Red Wings sign Datsyuk on July 12, 2001.

Mar. 23/99 -- In an effort to capture their third straight Stanley Cup, the Red Wings acquire defenseman Chris Chelios at the trading deadline from Chicago for Anders Eriksson, Detroit's first-round choices in 1999 (Steve McCarthy) and 2001 (Adam Munro). The Wings add 59 years of NHL experience to their lineup with the addition of Chelios, Ulf Samuelsson from the NY Rangers and Wendel Clark and Bill Ranford from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline.

June 26/99 -- About six and a half hours into the 1999 Entry Draft in Boston, the Red Wings call the name of Henrik Zetterberg with the 210th choice in the Entry Draft. "You hope to get one player," Red Wings' GM Ken Holland says at the time. "We're hoping a few years down the line, one of these kids will develop into a player."

June 27/04 -- For the sixth time in eight years, the Red Wings do not have a first-round draft choice. They use their first pick in the Draft -- 3rd round, 97th overall -- to select Johan Franzen from Linkoping, Sweden. Red Wings Assistant GM Jim Nill after the pick:  "He has a good size, he can control the puck, he's not a big scorer, but a good third- or fourth-line type of player. He has a good chance of playing for us down the road."

Aug. 8/05 -- After losing goaltender Chris Osgood in the 2001 Waiver Draft to the New York Islanders, the Red Wings sign him as a free agent four years later. Red Wings' GM Ken Holland at the time on the signing of Osgood: "He's been here and he's been through it. He's won a Stanley Cup (in 1998) here. He's familiar with the expectations to play goal in a hockey town like Detroit. Chris has shown the ability to bounce back. He puts bad games and bad streaks behind him."

Rafalski
July 1/07 -- The Red Wings sign free agent D Brian Rafalski. For Rafalski, a native of Dearborn, Michigan, it is about more than going home. "They've won in the past and have that experience. I hope I can add that much more to the team and bring them back to the Stanley Cup where they belong."

RED WINGS STORYLINES

Repeat After Me:
The Red Wings were the last team to win consecutive Stanley Cups, doing so in 1997 and 1998. Six of the players who competed for both champions are playing for the Red Wings in the 2008 playoffs: Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty and Chris Osgood.

Os-so-good: Detroit G Chris Osgood took over midway through Game 4 of the opening-round conquest of Nashville and won his first nine starts of the postseason (two against Nashville, four against Colorado, three against Dallas). Osgood surpassed the legendary Terry Sawchuk by winning his 48th career playoff game with the Red Wings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against Dallas.

Patience, patience: Three of the most important Red Wings were extremely late draft picks -- LW Tomas Holmstrom was #257 in 1994, C Pavel Datsyuk was #171 in 1998 and LW Henrik Zetterberg was #210 in 1999. The Red Wings did not have a pick until some five hours into the 1999 Draft when they selected Finnish forward Jari Tolsa with the 120th choice overall choice. The Red Wings' Director of Scouting Hakan Andersson discovered Zetterberg.

More patience: Compared to Holmstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, who has scored 12 goals to set a Red Wings record for one playoff season, was an "early" pick -- #97 overall in 2004. (Brett Hull, who now shares the Dallas GM duties with Les Jackson, earned a share of the previous Red Wings playoff goal record with 10 in 2002. Hull collected his total across 23 games; Franzen scored his in 11 games).

Young At Heart I:
In Game 2 of the Conference Quarter-Final against Nashville, D Chris Chelios set the record for most Stanley Cup Playoff games with his 248th, surpassing the record set by G Patrick Roy. Chelios also has extended his own Stanley Cup record by appearing in his 23rd career playoff season.

Young At Heart II:
Chelios, who turned 46 on Jan. 25, passed the late Moe Roberts (45 years, 347 days) to become the oldest U.S.-born player in NHL history and the second-oldest NHL player ever, surpassed only by Gordie Howe (52 years, 6 days). Roberts, a goaltender, made his last NHL appearance was for Chicago -- against the Red Wings -- Nov. 25, 1951; by then he was assistant trainer for the Blackhawks but was pressed back into service (17 seasons after his previous NHL appearance) when Chicago's starting goaltender, Harry Lumley, was injured.

Young At Heart III: Chelios is older than Pittsburgh head coach Michel Therrien, 44, who was born Nov. 4, 1963.... Chelios played his first game March 8, 1984, or 12 days before teammate Valtteri Filppula was born.

Truly Presidential: Including this season, the Red Wings have won the Presidents’ Trophy six times since it was presented by the Board of Governors to the National Hockey League in 1985-86 to honor the team that finished the regular season with the League’s best record. No other team has won it more than twice.

In The Long Run: This is Detroit's 17th consecutive season in the playoffs – the longest such streak in pro sports. The New York Yankees are second with 13 in a row. This also is the Red Wings' eighth consecutive season of 100 points or more, matching the record the Montreal Canadiens set from 1974-75 to 1981-82.

Kronvall
Offensive Defense: Detroit is the only team in the NHL with three defenseman who scored 30 or more points during the regular season -- Nicklas Lidstrom (10-60--70), Brian Rafalski (13-42--55) and Niklas Kronwall (7-28--35). Lidstrom and Rafalski were the top-scoring defense pair in the NHL.

Zetterberg Tops the Charts: Red Wings LW Henrik Zetterberg leads or shares the lead in a host of statistical playoff categories entering the Stanley Cup Final, including points (11-10--21, tied with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby's 4-17--21), shorthanded goals (two, tied with three players), shorthanded assists (three), shots on goal (84) and plus-minus (+15).

Last Team To Win The Presidents’ Trophy And The Stanley Cup In The Same Year:
The Red Wings, in 2002.

March Madness: Johan Franzen scored 14 goals -- six of them game winners – in March, surpassing the single-month record Gordie Howe shared with Henrik Zetterberg.

Motor (City) Coach: Mike Babcock this season became the first coach in League history to win 50 or more games in his first three seasons with an NHL team. He also steered the Red Wings to the Presidents' Trophy in his first season in Detroit, 2005-06.

Flipping Over Lidstrom:
Nicklas Lidstrom has won the Norris Trophy five times in the past six seasons. Only Bobby Orr (8) and Doug Harvey (7) have won it more times.

Drake's Quest: Red Wings left wing Dallas Drake, who has played 1,009 regular-season and 84 playoff games in his 15-year NHL career, will be making his first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. The 39-year-old Trail, B.C. native tallied his 300th career assist in his 1,000th career game March 11 against Chicago. Drake was drafted by the Red Wings 116th overall in the sixth round of the 1989 Entry Draft, made his League debut with the club in 1992-93 and was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in March, 1994. He signed on for his second stint with Detroit 13 years later, signing as a free agent on July 9, 2007.

Welcome Back: Eight members of the 2008 Red Wings saw action with the team in the 2002 Stanley Cup Final against Carolina: D Nicklas Lidstrom, D Chris Chelios, LW Kirk Maltby, LW Tomas Holmstrom, C Kris Draper, RW Darren McCarty, C Pavel Datsyuk and G Dominik Hasek. Maltby, McCarty, Lidstrom and Draper have been members of the three Cup-winning Red Wings teams since 1997.

Welcome Back II: Hasek, McCarty, LW Dallas Drake and G Chris Osgood all are in their second tours with the Wings.

'The Rock' Cheers On Cleary:
Detroit RW Dan Cleary will become just the second native of Newfoundland and Labrador and the first in more than 40 years to compete in the Stanley Cup Final. Cleary, a native of Harbour Grace, will join Alex Faulkner, who skated for the Detroit Red Wings against Toronto in 1963 and 1964. With 209 points (84 goals, 125 assists) in 540 games over 10 NHL seasons, Cleary ranks second on the all-time NHL scoring list among Newfoundland-born players, trailing Keith Brown (68-274--342). Brown, whose Chicago Blackhawks faced the Penguins in the 1992 Stanley Cup Final, missed that series with a shoulder injury.

How Swede It Is: Six of the Red Wings' top 10 scorers in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs hail from Sweden: LW Henrik Zetterberg, Njurunda (1st, 11-10--21); RW Johan Franzen, Vetlanda (3rd, 12-3--15); D Niklas Kronwall, Stockholm (5th, 0-12--12); LW Tomas Holmstrom, Pieta (6th, 3-7--10); D Nicklas Lidstrom, Vasteras (7th, 2-8--10) and RW Mikael Samuelsson, Mariefred (9th, 2-7--9). D Andreas Lilja (Helsin) has tallied one assist in six postseason appearances, while two young prospects, D Jonathan Ericsson (Karlskrona) and C Mattias Ritola (Borlange) are practicing with the club.

Draper
Face-Off Wizard: Red Wings center Kris Draper leads the NHL in face-off win percentage during the playoffs (min. 100). Draper has won 154 of 243 draws for a 63.4% win percentage.

Elder Statesman:
D Chris Chelios was drafted 40th overall in the 1981 Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. Four members of that Draft class -- Ron Francis (4th overall), Al MacInnis (15th overall), Dale Hawerchuk (1st overall) and Grant Fuhr (8th overall) already have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Other Chelios notes:

* One month after competing with the U.S. Olympic team in Sarajevo, Chelios played his first NHL game (on March 8, 1984) for the Canadiens at the Montreal Forum against the Hartford Whalers. The 22-year old defenseman was plus-1 and had four shots on goal against Whalers' netminder and current Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Greg Millen in a 4-2 Montreal win. Chelios' teammates included current Canadiens General Manager Bob Gainey and head coach Guy Carbonneau. Penguins left wing Ryan Malone's father, Greg, played against Chelios in that game as did Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett and former Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville.

* Six members of the Pittsburgh Penguins were not born when Chelios made his NHL debut: Jordan Staal (9/10/88), Marc-Andre Fleury (11/28/84), Tyler Kennedy (7/15/86), Kris Letang 4/24/87), Evgeni Malkin (7/31/86) and Sidney Crosby (8/7/87).

Lidstrom in Red Wings' Record Book: Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom is appearing in his 16th consecutive playoffs, setting a team record for consecutive appearances in the post-season. Lidstrom eclipsed the mark of Steve Yzerman, who played in 15 consecutive post-seasons with Detroit from 1991-2006.

* In Game 5 of Detroit's first-round playoff series vs. Nashville, Lidstrom moved past Steve Yzerman for most career post-season games played in Red Wings history. Lidstrom has played 208 career postseason games with Detroit. Yzerman played for Detroit in 196 playoff contests.

* In Game 3 of Detroit's second-round playoff series vs. Colorado, Lidstrom moved past Jari Kurri (200) for most playoff games played by a European-trained player.

* Lidstrom recorded his 100th career postseason assist in Game 3 vs. Colorado. Since then, he has added four assists to bring his career total to 104. Lidstrom needs four more playoff assists to tie Denis Potvin for seventh all-time among NHL defensemen.

* With his shorthanded goal in Game 6 of the Conference Quarter-finals against Nashville, Lidstrom moved into a tie with Ray Bourque for third all-time in post-season goals by a defenseman with 41. Following are the NHL's all-time leaders among blueliners: 1. Paul Coffey 59; 2. Denis Potvin 56; 3. Ray Bourque and Nicklas Lidstrom, 41; 5. Al MacInnis 39.

Perennial Playoff Performers: Since 1991, the Red Wings have played 215 playoff games, more than any other professional sports franchise. The NBA's San Antonio Spurs rank second with 201, followed by the New Jersey Devils (190), Los Angeles Lakers (186) and Colorado Avalanche (175).

Franzen
Franzen On Fire: Dating back to the Red Wings' game on March 2nd in Buffalo, RW Johan Franzen has scored 27 goals in his last 27 games, including 11 game-winning goals (6 regular season and 5 postseason). He also has 13 power-play goals (8 regular-season and 5 post-season); two shorthanded goals (both in post-season) and two hat tricks (both in postseason).

Franzen's playoff franchise records:

* Most game-winning goals, one playoff year (five). Franzen set a franchise record with his fifth game-winning goal of the postseason in Game 1 against Dallas. Franzen also tallied game-winners in Games 1, 2 and 4 of the second-round series vs. Colorado and a Game 5 OT winner vs. Nashville in Round 1.

* Most goals, one playoff year (12): Franzen broke the Red Wings' record of 10 set by Petr Klima in 1988 and matched by Sergei Fedorov (1998) and Brett Hull (2002).

* Most goals, one playoff series (nine): Franzen broke Gordie Howe's franchise mark of eight (1949 vs. Montreal) by tallying nine against Colorado in the Western Conference Semifinal.

Franchise Record: The Red Wings set a franchise record for most consecutive playoff victories in one postseason (nine) with a 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, May 12. The previous record (eight) was established by the 1952 Red Wings team that swept best-of-seven series against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens and the 1995 team that won eight straight against the Stars, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks.

Recap of Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup Championships

2002 - The Detroit Red Wings became the first team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup after starting the playoffs with two losses at home. After losing the first two games in their Conference Quarter-final to the Vancouver Canucks, the Red Wings then won 16 of their next 21 games en route to their third Cup win under coach Scotty Bowman. Bowman established a coaching record with his ninth Cup victory, surpassing the mark he shared with legendary Montreal coach Toe Blake. After the slow start in their showdown against the Canucks, Detroit proceeded to win the series in six games. The Red Wings then defeated the St. Louis Blues in five games before eliminating the Colorado Avalanche in a seven-game Conference Final. Those series wins set up a Stanley Cup Final against the Eastern Conference champion Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes stunned the Red Wings in Game 1 of the Final on the strength of Ron Francis’ overtime goal. That would be Carolina’s only win in the series as the Red Wings won four straight, including a triple-overtime win in Game 3 that proved to be the turning point in the series. The Cup win would be the first for many veterans on the team including goaltender Dominik Hasek, forward Luc Robitaille, as well as defensemen Steve Duchesne and Fredrik Olausson. It also marked the second Cup win for Chris Chelios, 16 years after he first won the Cup as a member of the Montreal Canadiens in 1986.

1998 - With a four-game sweep of the Washington Capitals, the Detroit Red Wings became the first team since the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991 and 1992) to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. The Red Wings were led by Steve Yzerman, who became just the fifth player to receive the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs while captain of his team. Scotty Bowman equaled Toe Blake’s NHL record of eight Stanley Cup coaching victories. Despite the four-game sweep in the Final, Detroit did not have a smooth road to the Cup, as they were forced to play six games in each of the three series leading up to the Final. Overall, the team had equal success at home and on the road, posting identical 8–3 records. A total of 10 Red Wing players contributed the 16 game-winning goals scored en route to the Stanley Cup. The on-ice celebration produced one of the most emotional moments in NHL history, as injured teammate Vladimir Konstantinov participated in the post-game festivities from his wheelchair. Konstantinov had been a key part of Detroit’s Stanley Cup championship in 1997, but nearly lost his life in a car accident one week after the victory.

1997 - The Detroit Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup title since 1955 with a four-game final series sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers. The series opened at the CoreStates Center in Philadelphia in front of 20,291 fans, the largest crowd ever to witness a hockey game in the state of Pennsylvania. Goaltender Mike Vernon made 26 saves in a 4–2 Detroit win as unheralded Red Wings Kirk Maltby and Joe Kocur gave Detroit a 2-1 lead after the first period. Sergei Fedorov tallied the game-winner just after the midway point of the second. Maltby scored again in game two, breaking a 2–2 tie in the second period with what would prove to be the game-winning goal. Rod Brind’Amour scored both of the Flyers’ goals in the game, connecting for two power-play markers 1:09 apart late in the first period. The Red Wings returned home to a vocal and supportive crowd for Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena and responded with a 6–1 win to take a commanding 3–0 lead in the series. The Flyers opened the scoring on a first-period goal by John LeClair, but Detroit replied with three unanswered goals before the period ended. The win snapped Detroit’s eight-game and 33-year home-ice losing streaks in the Stanley Cup Final. Sergei Fedorov and Martin Lapointe each tallied twice to pace the Red Wings. The Red Wings completed the series sweep by defeating the Flyers 2-1 in game four. Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom’s goal late in the first period gave Detroit a lead it would not relinquish and Darren McCarty scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal on a spectacular individual effort at 13:02 of the second period. Goaltender Mike Vernon was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the playoffs, finishing the postseason with a 16–4 record and 1.76 goals-against average. He allowed two goals or fewer in 17 of his 20 playoff games.

1955 - On March 17, Maurice Richard had been suspended for the remainder of the regular-season and playoffs for punching a linesman. The high-scoring right-winger’s absence was sorely felt by the Canadiens. In game two of the Final, Detroit’s Ted Lindsay scored four times to set a modern record for goals in a championship game, and the Red Wings won their 15th consecutive contest (including the regular season) to establish another NHL record. Lindsay then tallied one assist, his last of the series, in game four to tie Elmer Lach’s record of 12 playoff assists set in 1946. Gordie Howe set two records in the series. He amassed 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in the Final to establish a new mark, and snapped Toe Blake’s overall playoff record with 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 11 games. For the first time in a best-of-seven final, the home team won all seven games.

1954 - Tony Leswick’s Cup-winning tally was only the second goal ever scored in overtime during the seventh and deciding game of a Stanley Cup Final series. Leswick, who notched the winner at 4:29 of the first extra period, matched the feat first accomplished by former Red Wing Pete Babando in 1950. Marguerite Norris, president of the Detroit club, was presented with the Stanley Cup by NHL President Clarence Campbell at the conclusion of the series. She became the first woman in history to have her name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

1952 - Terry Sawchuk made his debut in the Cup Final and rose to the occasion, recording two shutouts and limiting Montreal to just two goals during the four-game series. Meanwhile, Gordie Howe contributed his first two career goals in a Stanley Cup championship series. The Red Wings set an NHL record by winning all eight postseason games, including a four-game sweep over Toronto in the first round.

1950 - Bumped from Madison Square Garden by the circus, the New York Rangers opted to play games two and three in Toronto. Gordie Howe failed to appear for Detroit in this series as a result of a serious head injury sustained in the first game of the playoffs. After sliding head first into the boards, Howe required surgery to repair a fractured nose and cheekbone. Despite the seriousness of the injury, he resumed his career the following season. Even without Howe, Detroit managed to capture the Cup in seven games, but not without a fight. New York battled Detroit to a 3–3 tie at the end of regulation in game seven, which the Red Wings’ Pete Babando ultimately ended at the 28:31 mark of overtime. Babando’s goal was the first sudden-death tally ever scored in the seventh game of a final series. New York’s Don Raleigh set a record that would remain unmatched until 1993 when he scored two overtime goals in one Stanley Cup Final series.

1943 - A new era in hockey history was ushered in with the 1942–43 season. The departure of the New York Americans franchise left the NHL with just the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens — the so-called “Original Six.”  After losing the Stanley Cup Final in 1941 and 1942, the Red Wings’ third straight trip to the Final proved to be the charm as they swept the Bruins, avenging the similar treatment they had received from Boston two years before. Goaltender Johnny Mowers blanked the Bruins at Boston Garden in the last two games to ice the championship.

1937 - The Rangers, turned away from Madison Square Garden once again by the incoming circus after game one, agreed to play the remainder of the series on Detroit’s home ice. First-year goaltender Earl Robertson, who would never play a regular-season game for the Red Wings during his career, became the first rookie netminder to post two shutouts in the Final, blanking the Rangers in the last two games of the series. With their second straight Stanley Cup title, Detroit became the first U.S.-based squad to repeat as champions.

1936
- Under the coaching guidance of Jack Adams, the Detroit Red Wings captured their first Stanley Cup championship after 10 NHL seasons. The series marked Frank “King” Clancy’s sixth and final appearance as a player in the Final. However, it would not be his last Stanley Cup series, for Clancy went on to earn prominence as an NHL referee, working 20 Stanley Cup games in that capacity.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

NHL Playoff Appearance: 22nd (2nd consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 2 (1991, 1992)
Last Stanley Cup Final Appearance: 1992
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 23-20
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 122-105
How They Got Here: Defeated Ottawa Senators 4-0 in Conference Quarter-Final; defeated New York Rangers 4-1 in Conference Semifinal; defeated Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 in Conference Final.

KEY DATES - 2007-08

Dec. 8/07 -- The Penguins complete a three-game sweep of their 'Crosby-Mania' swing through Western Canada with a 2-1 shootout victory at Vancouver. In the most exciting stretch of the Penguins' season, the club scores four goals in the third period to defeat Edmonton 4-2 and posts consecutive shootout victories at Calgary and Vancouver.

Conklin
Dec. 20/07 -- G Ty Conklin makes his first career start in a Penguins uniform, stopping 37 shots and both shootout attempts in a 5-4 victory at Boston. Conklin, recalled from the AHL Dec. 6 after an injury to starter Marc-Andre Fleury, goes on post victories in each of his first nine starts.

Jan. 1/08 -- The Penguins strike just 21 seconds into the game and C Sidney Crosby scores the game-winning shootout goal in a 2-1 victory over Buffalo in the AMP Energy Winter Classic in front of more than 71,000 at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Feb. 10/08 -- C Evgeni Malkin tallies his fifth consecutive multiple-point game with a goal and three assists in a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia. Malkin ups his total to 21 points in 10 games without the injured Sidney Crosby in the lineup.

Feb. 26/08 -- Pittsburgh acquires RW Marian Hossa and RW Pascal Dupuis from Atlanta for RW Colby Armstrong, C Erik Christensen, C Angelo Esposito and Pittsburgh's 1st-round draft pick in 2008 at the trading deadline. The club also acquires D Hal Gill from Toronto for a 2nd-round draft pick in 2008 and 5th-round pick in 2009.

Mar. 4/08 -- Crosby returns to the lineup in a 2-0 victory at Tampa Bay after missing 21 games with a high ankle injury suffered Jan. 18.

Mar. 25/08 -- The Penguins clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-0 victory at New Jersey.

KEY DATES - BUILDING BLOCKS

June 26/04 -- Despite finishing last in the NHL in 2003-04 (one point behind Washington and Chicago), the Penguins do not win the 2004 Draft Drawing. The Washington Capitals do, and go on to select Alex Ovechkin with the first pick. With the second overall pick in the 2004 Draft, the Penguins select center Evgeni Malkin from Magnitogorsk. Less than four years after the historic day that saw Russian players claimed one-two in the Draft for the first time, earlier this week (May 18), Malkin helped the Penguins qualify for the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1992 while his countryman Ovechkin helped Russian defeat Canada 5-4 at the World Hockey Championships, marking Russia's first win at the Worlds since 1993.

July 22/05 --With all 30 teams in the Draft Drawing, the Penguins, with a 6.25% chance of winning, have their lucky number (12) drawn, thereby giving the team the opportunity to select Sidney Crosby with the first selection in the 2005 Draft. Then General Manager Craig Patrick at the time: "I didn't anticipate we'd ever do it by winning a lottery. A forward who can score goals and make plays and be a superstar. People have said he's got the vision of a Wayne Gretzky and the goal-scoring and playmaking ability of Mario Lemieux. It's a very, very lucky day. It's about time. Sidney won't have to carry the load early. But you can see that three or four years down the road, Sidney is going to be the leader on this team and the one we'll rely on to make us a successful franchise."

May 25/06 -- On the 15th anniversary of their first Stanley Cup win (May 25, 1991), the Penguins hire Ray Shero as their General Manager. Shero, at his opening press conference:   "My goal here is to re-establish that winning tradition, and that's just not one year of winning hockey. I am more interested in re-establishing a winning tradition in Pittsburgh, and that means doing things right, having a vision, having a plan and having patience."

Apr. 19/07 -- After a 3-0 loss to the Senators in Game 5 of their Conference Quarter-final series, the Penguins season draws to a close with the team gaining some valuable playoff experience. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after the loss: "I think we learned that it takes a lot to win. It's not going to happen with just one or two guys. Everybody's got to show up every night." ... Crosby: "We're proud of the way we prepared for this season and really came together. Maybe [losing] is something that needed to happen."

Hossa
Feb. 26/08 -- As the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline approaches, Penguins' General Manager Ray Shero completes one of the biggest trades in franchise history, acquiring RW Marian Hossa and RW Pascal Dupuis from Atlanta for RW Colby Armstrong, C Erik Christensen, C Angelo Esposito and the Penguins' first-round choice in the 2008 Entry Draft. Penguins' defenseman Brooks Orpik on the trade: "Even if you make a minor move, it sends a message that they're trying to improve the team. One like this, it sends one pretty loud and clear that they want to win now."  Earlier in the day, Shero sends a second- and fifth-round draft pick to Toronto for defenseman Hal Gill.

PENGUINS STORYLINES

No Looking Back: The Penguins trailed only 4:28 in their first-round elimination of the Ottawa Senators and have trailed only 115:37 of their 847:10 of total playing time over their 14 playoff games (13.6%).

Successful season: The Penguins captured their first division title since the 1997-98 season . . . They earned 100 points in consecutive seasons for the second time in franchise history, following 1992-93 and 1993-94 . . . They posted a +31 goal differential, second in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the NHL . . . They closed the season earning at least a point in 11 consecutive home games (9-0-2), in 16 of the final 17 home contests (13-1-3) and in 22 of the final 24 (19-2-3) . . . They sold out all 41 home games in 2007-08, drawing 700,137 fans for an average crowd of 17,076. It marked the first time the Penguins sold out every home game in an entire season.

(Winter) Classic turnaround: The Penguins entered the Jan. 1 Winter Classic at Buffalo with a 20-16-2 record and went 27-11-6 thereafter, posting the second-best points percentage (.682) after Dec. 31. Only the Eastern Conference Washington Capitals (28-12-3, .686) and the Western Conference Anaheim Ducks (28-10-3, .720) and San Jose Sharks (27-11-5, .686) were better in 2008.

Ringing in the New Year:
C Evgeni Malkin was the NHL's leading scorer from Jan. 1 forward, tallying 65 points (32 goals, 33 assists) in 44 games. He tallied 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in 28 games while Sidney Crosby was out with an ankle injury.

The Crosby chronicles: C Sidney Crosby was in contention for a second consecutive Art Ross Trophy as NHL scoring leader until he was sidelined with an ankle injury Jan. 18 - he had 63 points (20-43--63) at the time of his injury, which was tied for the NHL lead. His 43 assists also ranked first in the League at that time. The injury sidelined him for 28 of 31 games from Jan. 19 to Mar. 25. Crosby still ranked second on the Penguins in scoring with 72 points (24 goals, 48 assists) in 53 games. His per-game scoring average of 1.36 was second in the League to Washington LW Alex Ovechkin (1.37).

Malkin
Sparkling Resumes: 20-year-old C Sidney Crosby and 21-year-old C Evgeni Malkin have assembled impressive resumes in their brief NHL careers on the eve of their first Stanley Cup Final:

Crosby in 2005-06: At 18 years, eight months, Crosby became the youngest player to tally 100 points in a season, three months younger than Winnipeg's Dale Hawerchuk was in 1981-82. . He led all rookies in assists (63), ranked second in goals (39) and points (102) and finished sixth in the League scoring race.

Crosby in 2006-07:
Crosby became the first teenager in major pro team sports history to win a scoring title. NHL great Wayne Gretzky captured his first points title in 1980-81 at 20 years, three months. Crosby tallied 36 goals and 84 assists for 120 points. In addition, he captured the Hart Trophy as League MVP and NHL First-Team All-Star honors at center. Crosby was named captain of the Penguins on May 31, 2007, becoming the youngest team captain in NHL history, and signed a five-year contract extension in July that will keep him with the Penguins through the 2012-13 season.

Crosby in 2007-08: Crosby was in contention for a second consecutive Art Ross Trophy as NHL scoring leader until he was sidelined with an ankle injury Jan. 18 -- he had 63 points (20-43--63) at the time of his injury, which was tied for the NHL lead. He still ranked second on the Penguins in scoring with 72 points (24 goals, 48 assists) in 53 games. Crosby enters the Stanley Cup Final with a share of the League playoff scoring lead (4-17--21 in 14 games).

Malkin in 2006-07: Malkin launched his NHL career in memorable fashion, becoming the first player in 89 years to tally goals in each of his first six NHL games. Before Malkin, only three players in NHL history had scored at least one goal in each of their first six (or more) games and all did so in 1917-18, the League’s inaugural season. He went on to lead all rookies in goals (33), power-play goals (16), assists (52) and points (85) and captured the Calder Trophy as the League's outstanding first-year performer.

Malkin in 2007-08:
Malkin was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy as League MVP after leading the Penguins in scoring and ranking second in the League overall with 106 points (47 goals, 59 assists) in 82 games. Malkin was the NHL's leading scorer after Dec. 31, tallying 65 points (32 goals, 33 assists) in 44 games; the Penguins posted a 27-11-6 record in that span.

Teen Idol: Pittsburgh C Jordan Staal, who does not celebrate his 20th birthday until Sept. 10, will be the first teenager to skate in a Stanley Cup Final since Philadelphia LW Dainius Zubrus appeared in all four games of the 1997 Stanley Cup Final against Detroit. Staal has recorded an even or plus rating in 13 of 14 games in the 2008 playoffs and is tied for third in goal-scoring on the Penguins with six.

Home Sweet Home: The Penguins have won 16 consecutive games at Mellon Arena, capturing the final eight home contests of the regular season and all eight in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs to date. It marks the Penguins' longest home win streak in a single playoff season; they won six games from May 9-28, 1992.

Scoring in Bunches: Of the 10 games in which C Sidney Crosby has recorded a point in this season's playoffs, nine have been multi-point games, most recently his two-assist effort in the series-clinching Game 5 win over Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference Final.

Fleury
A Fleury of Victories: G Marc-Andre Fleury is 26-4-1 with a 1.54 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and six shutouts in his past 33 games (regular season and playoff) since Nov. 22. After starting the regular season 5-8-1, Fleury went 14-2-1 the rest of the way, posting a 1.40 goals-against average, .949 save percentage and three shutouts in 19 appearances. He has a 12-2 record with a 1.40 GAA, .938 save percentage and three shutouts in 14 playoff games.

Fleury also has won his past 18 starts at Mellon Arena (regular season and playoff). His last loss at home was Nov. 21, 2007, a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils.

On a Roll: The Penguins are 12-2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, defeating Ottawa 4-0 in the Conference Quarter-Finals, New York Rangers 4-1 in the Conference Semifinals and Philadelphia 4-1 in the Conference Finals. The Penguins are the 11th club since 1980 to enter the Stanley Cup Final with two losses or fewer.

Fewest Losses Entering Stanley Cup Final Since 1980

1983 Edmonton Oilers, 11-1 (lost Final 4-0 to NY Islanders)
1980 Philadelphia Flyers, 11-2 (lost Final 4-2 to NY Islanders)
1981 New York Islanders, 11-2 (won Final 4-1 over Minnesota)
1982 Vancouver Canucks, 11-2 (lost Final 4-0 to NY Islanders)
1985 Edmonton Oilers, 11-2 (won Final 4-1 over Philadelphia)
1987 Edmonton Oilers, 12-2 (won Final 4-3 over Philadelphia)
1988 Edmonton Oilers, 12-2 (won Final 4-0 over Boston)
1992 Chicago Blackhawks, 12-2 (lost Final 4-0 to Pittsburgh)
1995 Detroit Red Wings, 12-2 (lost Final 4-0 to New Jersey)
2003 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, 12-2 (lost Final 4-3 to New Jersey)

Spreading it around: Eight different Penguins have scored a game-winning goal in the playoffs. Evgeni Malkin leads with three, followed by Marian Hossa and Ryan Malone with two. Gary Roberts, Sidney Crosby, Jarkko Ruutu, Jordan Staal and Maxime Talbot have the others.

Laraque
La Belle Province in Pittsburgh: The Penguins have drawn a strong following in the province of Quebec: Penguins owner and chairman Mario Lemieux is a Montreal native; head coach Michel Therrien was born in Montreal and had head coaching stints in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Laval, Granby), the American Hockey League (Quebec) and with the Montreal Canadiens; assistant coach Andre Savard was born in Temiscamingue, played in the QMJHL (Quebec), played and coached with the Quebec Nordiques and served as GM of the Montreal Canadiens; C Sidney Crosby played in the QMJHL (Rimouski); D Kris Letang was born in Montreal and played in the QMJHL (Val d'Or); RW Georges Laraque was born in Montreal and played in the QMJHL (St-Jean, Laval, St-Hyacinthe, Granby); C Maxime Talbot was born in Lemoyne and played in the QMJHL (Rouyn-Noranda, Hull and Gatineau); LW Pascal Dupuis was born in Laval and played in the QMJHL (Rouyn-Noranda and Shawinigan) and G Marc-Andre Fleury was born in Montreal and played in the QMJHL (Cape Breton).

Recap of Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Championships

1992 - The Penguins captured their second consecutive Stanley Cup title, winning the championship in four consecutive games against the Chicago Blackhawks, who were making their first appearance in the Final since 1973. Both finalists established a new record for consecutive playoff wins with 11. The Blackhawks’ victories spanned the first three rounds of the playoffs. The Penguins’ 11 wins included their four-game final series sweep. Mario Lemieux captured the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP for the second straight year, becoming just the second player in NHL history (the Flyers' Bernie Parent, 1974 and 1975) to accomplish the feat.

1991 - The Penguins captured their first Stanley Cup championship, defeating the Minnesota North Stars in six games. The North Stars were making their second appearance in the Final. Pittsburgh center Mario Lemieux, despite missing one game in the series due to a back injury, recorded 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in five games to lead all scorers. His overall playoff performance earned him Conn Smythe Trophy honors. Penguins defenseman Larry Murphy tallied 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in six games, the second highest total for a defenseman in Stanley Cup Final history. Four Pittsburgh players — Bryan Trottier, Paul Coffey, Joe Mullen and Jiri Hrdina — won a Stanley Cup championship with their second team. Trottier won four previous titles with the New York Islanders, Coffey captured three with Edmonton, while Mullen and Hrdina were members of the 1989 Stanley Cup-champion Calgary Flames.



 

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