For nearly 50 years Pittsburgh Penguins fans have had the joy of witnessing some of the most exciting goals scored in NHL history. With players like Lemieux, Crosby, Jagr, Malkin, Kovalev and Straka all leaving their marks in Penguins lore let’s take a look at some impressive goals scored by those who you may consider “unlikely candidates.”
The Bugsy Slide
Ryan Malone, in the early 2000’s, was looked upon as the future leader of the Penguins. And while things may have gone a bit south for him in his career he surely left a mark on the Penguins and here is one of my favorite goals I saw him score. Finding himself on a breakaway he slips on the ice and still finds a way to put the puck in the back of the net.
Penguins vs. New York Islanders on 3/24/06
After losing to the Senators in the 2007 playoffs the Penguins found themselves facing off against them once more in their second consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In many ways we knew the Penguins were ready and destined to be more than just a 1 and done team. We all knew that after the dark ages of the mid 2000’s things were on the verge of changing. While Crosby and Malkin were the proponents in making this change a possibility it was a fan favorite who would put them on the path to greatness.
April 9, 2008 the Penguins opened up their first playoff series of the 2008 post season against the Ottawa Senators. Less than two minutes into the game, fan favorite, Gary Roberts lit the lamp with this unlikely but HUGE goal to set the tone for the rest of the Playoffs.
Staals to the Wall
In 2009 the Penguins made it back to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in as many years. They faced a familiar foe in the Detroit Red Wings and just as everything felt like Deja Vu Game 4 proved to be a slight turning point in the series. The Red Wings were up 2-1 in the game and up 2 games to 1 in the series. With the Penguins slightly on their heels the Red Wings were attempting to take full advantage of a Powerplay until Jordan Staal did what he did best.
Because of this goal the Penguins went on to tie the series 2 game a piece. If Detroit scored on that PP opportunity, things could have been very different in 2009.
Kasper….Kaspari…UGH! You try and spell his name!
The final video I will share is one that is remembered by many today but unexpected by all when it occurred. Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in 2001 the Penguins found themselves going into Overtime against a very formidable opponent. What the Sabres didn’t know though was on this night the Penguins had a secret weapon up their sleeve in the form of a defender from Lithuania.
Darius Kasparaitis scored what could be one of my all-time favorite goals in Penguins history. I remember sitting on my living room floor not moving as my superstition mind had taken over. My brother on the coach a few feet away, both of us on edge, hoping that one of the Penguins stars would shine through and lead the team to the next round. What happened was something no one could have foreseen.
There you have it folks, four goals that were impressive to me and scored by some unlikely players. What are some of your favorite goals by unlikely candidates? Share them in the comment section and remember “It’s a great day for hockey!”
– Robert Slavinsky