Tonight we are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. To most of the NHL the Penguins are infamous for their players and their cup wins. To us they’re infamous for Sidney Crosby and the times we have played against each other in the playoffs. I’m going to dive into the history of the rivalry. This is a different type of article than I usually do. Warning about this article it may hurt a bit.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were founded in 1967 and Capitals in 1974. The rivalry however didn’t start until we met for the first time in the playoffs in 1991 in the Patrick Division finals. The Capitals won game 1 but lost the other 4. The Penguins then won their first stanley cup against the Minnesota North Stars in 6 games.
The year after the Penguins and the Capitals played in the second series against the penguins. We led the Penguins in a 3-1 however the Penguins won 3 games straight and won the series. The Penguins later went on to win their second Stanley Cup against the Blackhawks in 4 games.
In 1994 the 7th seed Capitals played against the 2nd seed Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. We beat the Penguins 4-2. This was first and unfortunately only time we have beaten the Penguins in the playoffs. We however lost the New York Rangers a round later.
1n 1995 the Penguins unfortunately took back our pride in the first round of the playoffs. We held a 3-1 lead and then the Penguins scored in overtime to win game 5 and won both game 6 and 7. The Penguins were then taken out by the New Jersey Devils 4-1 the round later.
In 1996 we played the Penguins again in the first round. We were leading 2-0 and then the Penguins came back and won the next 4 games. The Penguins later lost in the Conference finals against the Florida Panthers 4-3.
We didn’t met the Penguins again til 2000 the 7th seed Penguins played our second seed Capitals in the first round. The beat us in 5 games. The Penguins then were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 in the second round.
ln 2001 we met the Penguins in the first round. We lost to the Penguins in 6 games with an overtime goal. They lost later against the Buffalo Sabres in the conference finals. This was the last time the Penguins had would make it into the playoffs until the 2007 playoffs. We made it into the playoffs after that until the 2004 playoffs.
We then got lucky and got the first round pick off 2004 and picked our star Alexander Ovechkin. We were all so excited to see Ovechkin play in the NHL and then a bit of bad news happened, we were locked out. The Stanley Cup wasn’t given to anyone that season nor was the President’s trophy or the Calder trophy. The Penguins got the luck of the draw and picked Sidney Crosby. This made the rivalry grow stronger.
In the 2009 playoffs we faced of against the Penguins for the first time with Ovechkin and Crosby. We won game 1 and then the most legendary playoff game happened. In that game Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby scored a hattrick each. It was an incredible game we beat the Penguins 4-3. We then lost game 3,4 and 5. In game six David Steckel scored an overtime goal taking us back home for game 7. Unfourtunatly we fell to the Penguins 6-2 in game seven and Crosby would win his first Stanley Cup in game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings.
In 2011 we met again in an important setting. Unlike the past games I’ve talked about it wasn’t on the playoff stage it was on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field during the Bridgestone Winter Classic. Former Capital (and current Penguin) Eric Fehr scored 2 goals and we beat them 3-1.
We met again in the Playoffs last year in the second round. We took Game one when Oshie scored a hat trick including a goal in overtime. We lost 3 games after that. We then played in game 5. We were down 3-1 and many fans had lost hope. We won the game 5 3-1 and moved elimination off a day. Unfortunately game 6 arose. This was the most intense game of the series. We were down 3-0 until Oshie scored at the end of the second. We then scored another two more goals taking it to overtime. Then this is the painful part (don’t say I didn’t warn you) 6:32 seconds into overtime Nick Bonino lit up the light. The Penguins went on and beat the San Jose Sharks in 6 games.
This is the history now lets move on to the future and win tonight!