Twenty Years Later: Penguins 9, Devils 5 - 12-13-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

"Twenty Years Later" is a segment with a highly unimaginative name which will appear on Empty Netters throughout the 2010-11 season. We will examine the Penguins' 1990-91 season which led to the first Stanley Cup title in franchise history. We will look back on games on a particular date and catch up with former players, coaches, executives and media members who were a part or around that team.

Today, we look at the Penguins' 9-5 defeat of the Blackhawks, Dec. 13, 1990.

The Penguins broke a four-game winless streak at the Civic Arena. Defenseman Gordie Roberts gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead 4:16 into the game when he got his first goal of the season when he beat goaltender Sean Burke with a backhander from the right circle. Assists went to center John Cullen and right winger Mark Recchi.

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Defenseman Zarley Zalapski made it 2-0 when he scored just over three minutes later at 7:40 with a slapper from the left point off an assist from center Bryan Trottier's faceoff win.

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The Devils got on the board, 2-1, when right winger John MacLean put a puck behind goaltender Wendell Young at 9:47 on a power play off assists from defensemen Bruce Driver and Alexei Kasatonov.

New Jersey tied it, 2-2, when left winger Brendan Shanahan scored at 14:02 off assists from center Patrick Sundstrom and center Jon Morris.

Right winger Joe Mullen reclaimed the lead, 3-2 at 19:34 of the period with a slapper from the left circle on a power play. Assists went to defenseman Paul Stanton and Zalapski.

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At 6:42 of the period, Cullen made it 4-2 on a breakaway. Assists went to Stanton and defenseman Peter Taglianetti.

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MacLean scored again at 9:31 on another power play to make it 4-3. Left winger Kirk Muller and Kasatonov were credited with assists.

Right winger Tony Tanti scored off a turnover at 9:31 to make it 5-3. Assists were credited to Trottier and left winger Troy Loney.

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The Devils responded with a power play goal by Muller at 10:36 that made it 5-4. Driver and MacLean had assists.

Early in the third period, defenseman Paul Coffey scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 0:42 mark when his slap shot hit off the stick of MacLean then off the skate of Driver and beat goaltender Chris Terreri. Assists went to Mullen and Recchi.

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Left winger Kevin Stevens added to the lead, 7-4, with a wrister by Terreri's glove hand. Assists went to Barry Pederson and Roberts.

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Peter Stastny made it 7-5 at 6:50 of the period. Kasatonov and Muller were credited with assists.

A short-handed empty-net goal by left winger Phil Bourque at 19:42 made it 8-5. Trottier recorded the only assist.

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At 19:54, center Randy Gilhen scored an unassisted short-handed goal to make it 9-5.

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-Young made 27 saves to record the win.

-The three stars were: 1.) Trottier 2.) MacLean 3.) Cullen.

-The win was the Penguins' third in 13 games.

-In the evening, Penguins acquired center Jiri Hirdina from the Flames in exchange for defenseman Jim Kyte. Hrdina, a 32-year-old veteran, was expected to serve as a mentor and translator for 18-year-old right winger and fellow Czechoslovakian Jaromir Jagr. Hrdina was a member of the Flames Stanley Cup winning team in 1989.

Patrick Division standings:

Record Points
Rangers 18-11-5 41
Flyers 18-14-3 39
Capitals 18-15-0 36
Devils 16-13-4 36
Penguins 13-16-3 29
Islanders 10-17-3 23

Also in the news that day:

-The Big East announced it would add a football league. Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse, Boston College and Miami would join the conference for football.

(Photo: Penguins Hockey Cards)

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