Ranking the 5 Most Insane Pittsburgh Penguins Goals in the Last Decade
While the idea of great players making great plays may at times seem commonplace, every once in a while you come across a great play that makes you stop and marvel.
In order to pay homage to the great players and the great plays they made, let's look at the top-five insane Penguin goals of the last decade.
No. 5: Mario Lemieux's Grand Finale
Of the 690 career goals Mario Lemieux scored during his 17-year NHL career, no goal demonstrated the resilience and drive that made him a legend as much as the last goal he ever scored.
Facing his hometown Montreal Canadiens, Lemieux took a high stick to the face from defenseman Mathieu Dandenault and went down to the ice. As the Mellon Arena crowd held its collective breath, Lemieux got to his feet and skated to the Pens bench to a thunderous applause.
Less than a minute later, Lemieux returned to the ice as part of the Pens' power-play unit. After winning the faceoff, Lemieux went to the front of the net and, despite being tied up by Dandenault, deflected a pass by goaltender Jose Theodore.
While no one knew it at the time, this amazing goal would be the last one Lemieux would score in the NHL as he was forced to retire midseason after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.
No. 4: Sidney Crosby Falls Down but Does the Job
Having spent his rookie season playing alongside Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby entered the 2006-07 season as the face of the Penguins franchise.
It didn't take long for Crosby to show Pens fans that he also had a knack for scoring dramatic and unforgettable goals. After Alexander Ovechkin wowed the hockey world with an amazing goal against the Phoenix Coyotes in 2006, Crosby would get his turn in the desert one year later.
While on the ice during a power play, Crosby picked up a loose puck on the goal line, turned his body to shield the puck from a defender and, while falling backwards, flipped a backhand shot off the inside of the crossbar and into the net.
The stunned reaction of players on both sides says it all.
No. 3: Evgeni Malkin Strikes Against the Lightning
After he was forced to sit out the second half of the 2010-11 regular season and the playoffs with a major knee injury, many wondered if Evgeni Malkin would be as dominant as he had been in years past.
Those doubts were quickly erased as Malkin would lead the league in points the following season and, in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, show that he was just as dominant as ever.
Picking up a pass in his own end, Malkin would stickhandle through the Lightning's neutral zone trap, dance around the defensemen and beat goaltender Dwayne Roloson low to the blocker side for an unforgettable goal.
While Malkin would go on to score 49 other goals and was named MVP that year, this amazing exhibition of skill was nominated for "Goal of the Year" by the NHL.
No. 2: Evgeni Malkin’s Conn Smythe Moment
For every Conn Smythe Trophy winner, there comes a moment during the playoffs that defines their performance and establishes their place among the NHL's greatest playoff performers.
For Evgeni Malkin, that moment came during Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes.
With the Penguins clinging to a one-goal lead in the third period, Malkin won a faceoff in the Hurricanes' zone, skated behind the net, spun around and lifted an amazing backhand shot over the shoulder of a stunned Cam Ward.
The Pens would win the game 7-4 to take a 2-0 series lead. Malkin would score two more goals in a 6-2 win in Game 3 and the Pens would eventually sweep the Hurricanes en route to winning the franchise's third Stanley Cup.
No.1: Sidney Crosby’s Crazy Deflection
It's been said that luck is simply the point where preparation meets opportunity. While some might dismiss the No. 1 goal on this list as simply luck, that would ignore the preparation that led to it.
Widely known for his work ethic and commitment to improving through hard work and practice, Sidney Crosby has shown an insatiable desire to constantly improve his game and his amazing deflection goal against the Flyers is a prime example of that desire.
Having stayed on the ice after an optional skating session the day before to work on deflecting pucks on net, Crosby got the opportunity to translate that work into an amazing goal. In a one-goal game late in the third, Crosby deflected a slap pass from Sergei Gonchar into an open net to clinch a win against the Flyers.
While a lot of fans might dismiss this goal as mere luck, the unseen work that went into it makes it the most insane Penguins goal in the last ten years.