Twenty Years Later - Penguins 7, Devils 4 - 10-07-10

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' season-opening 7-4 win against the Devils, Oct. 7, 1990.


Much like their season opener in Washington, the Penguins' home opener at the Civic Arena was a high scoring affair. The Devils took an early 1-0 lead all of 51 seconds into the game when left winger Walt Poddubny beat Tom Barrasso off assists from right winger Brendan Shanahan and center Jon Morris.

Right winger Mark Recchi would tie the game, 1-1, at the 8:29 mark when he deflected a pass from defenseman Paul Coffey through the five hole of goaltender Chris Terrerri on a power play. Coffey and center John Cullen recorded assists.

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Just over two minutes later at 10:32, center Paul Ysebaert gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead on a goal with assists from Jarrod Skalde and future hall-of-fame defenseman Slava Fetisov.

The Devils increased their lead to 3-1 at 8:50 of the second period when defenseman Alexei Kasatonov put a puck behind Barrasso. Shanahan and Morris recorded assists once again.

At 12:54, Coffey took a pass from Cullen, moved up the left wing and blew a slapper under Terreri's blocker to make it, 3-2. Cullen recorded the only assist:

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Late in the period at 18:39, on a power play, Cullen slid a pass across the offensive zone from the right point to the left faceoff circle. Right winger Joe Mullen one-timed the puck off the near post and behind a sliding Terreri to tie the game, 3-3. Cullen and left winger Kevin Stevens were credited with assists.

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The Devils regained the lead at 4:31 of the third period when left winger Allen Stewart scored off a three-on-one to make it 4-3. Defenseman Bruce Driver had the only assist.

Just under 10 minutes later, center Bryan Trottier scored his first goal as a Penguin in an unconventional fashion. He controlled the puck behind the New Jersey net and centered a pass to the slot which was intended for right winger Tony Tanti. The puck hit off Driver and deflected behind Terreri however. Trotter was given credit for the goal. Right winger Rob Brown and Tanti recorded assists.

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The Penguins took the lead for good when rookie right winger Jaromir Jagr, the club's first-round pick that year, scored his first career goal at the 14:10 mark. Defenseman Jim Johnson chipped a puck on net from the right point. Terreri made the inital save but allowed a rebound. Jagr fought off a check from Driver and swept the loose puck by Terreri from the slot. Johnson and Stevens had the assists.

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An insurance goal 13 seconds later by John Cullen gave the Penguins a 6-4 lead. Off the ensuing faceoffs, Recchi pushed a backhanded pass from the left faceoff circle in the Devils' zone to the slot. Cullen took the pass, spun away from Kasatonov and whipped a wrister by Terreri on the blocker side. Cullen's "Option Line" linemates Recchi and Stevens were credited with assists:

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The game's final goal came from Trottier at 15:35. Mullen stole a puck off Festisov in the right wing corner in New Jersey's zone, moved behind the net and snuck a pass to Trottier who was left alone in the slot. Trottier took the pass and buried the puck behind a helpless Terreri:

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Towards the end of the game, after Stevens and long-time rival defenseman Ken Danyeko got involved in a scrum, Stevens fought with Shanahan:

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-Barrasso earn the win by making 21 saves. His record stood at 2-0-0.

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

-Barrasso actually was penalized for elbowing in the first period.

-Jagr, who had been in the United States for all of two-plus month up until that point, wasn't fluent enough in English to discuss his goal. Trottier told the Pittsburgh Press, "I don't know if he knows the expression for how to celebrate, but he'll learn them quick enough."

-Describing his first goal, Trottier joked, "I dropped my left shoulder, faked a pass to the right side, slipped it through the defenseman's legss, did a Spin-a-rama, the old Mike Bossy helicopter move, then dropped my right shouder and flipped it onto the top shelf."

-In only two games, Cullen (one goal, eight assists) and Stevens (two goals, four assists) each led the team in scoring with nine points.

-A sellout crowd of 16,164 saw the game.

-Penguins coach Bob Johnson announced he would rotate the team's captaincy between Coffey, Cullen and defenseman Randy Hillier until center Mario Lemieux could from a back injury.

-Two of New Jersey's top forwards - right winger John MacLean and center Patrik Sundstrom missed the game due to injuries. MacLean is currently the Devils' head coach.

-Pirates' all-star outfielder Bobby Bonilla took in the game and was spotted in the locker room afterwards hanging with Stevens.

Also in the news that day:

-Quarterback Bubby Brister connected with tight end Eric Green on two touchdown passes and led the Steelers to a 36-14 drubbing of the Chargers at Three Rivers Stadium. Brister threw for 132 yards. Cornerback Dwayne Woodruff had two interceptions for the Steelers.

-Prior to the game, a statue of late Steelers owner and founder Art Rooney, Sr., who had died two years earlier, was unveiled outside the stadium.

(Photo: Penguins Hockey Cards; Videos: pensgoals)

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