In 1989 the Penguins found themselves in the Playoffs for the first time in the Mario Lemieux era and while the first round series against the New York Rangers went off without a hitch it was the Division Final against their cross state rival, The Philadelphia Flyers, which seemed to be a difficult challenge.
April 17, 1989 was Lemieux’s first time facing off against the Flyers in post-season hockey, while the series may not have gone the way many would have envisioned, Lemieux showed, once again, why he was the most prolific player in the NHL during his game 5 performance on April 25, 1989.
Many remember this game for The Flyers goalie, Ron Hextall, chasing Penguins forward Rob Brown around the ice after celebrating a goal scored in the second period. What many may not know is that this was the Penguins 7th goal of the game as well as Lemieux’s 7th point.
First off, just take in the Old Civic Arena, despite how great CONSOL Energy Center is I still miss the Igloo.
Ok back on point.
While Hextall getting so aggravated and chasing down Robbie Brown is still hilarious to this day, the fact the Penguins put up as many goals as they did makes understandable why the Flyers net-minder was so agitated.
In this game Mario Lemieux tied an NHL record for most goals and points in a postseason game (5 goals & 3 assists), most goals in a postseason period (4 in the first period!!) and most assists in a post season period (3 during the second period).
If you’re still not impressed how about look at Lemieux’s third goal of the game which was scored before 7 minutes was played in this game.
The Penguins ended up leading 6-1 at the end of the first period. Lemieux scored his fourth of the game while Troy Loney and Bob Errey scored one each. After Loney’s goal Ron Hextall was pulled but would later find himself back on the ice.
After assisting on 3 more goals in the 2nd period Lemieux capped off the game scoring an empty net goal to lead the Penguins to a 10-7 win… 10-7!!!!
As the game was winding down a brawl broke out between the two clubs.
While the Penguins unfortunately lost this series in seven games, Game five will go down in history as one of Lemieux’s greatest performances in his career if not one of the greatest playoff performances ever by any player.
– Robert Slavinsky