The thing we love about the playoffs are the moments, the big and the small. Reputations are born in the playoffs. Careers are made. Money is made. (see: Brad Richards). Legends are remembered forever.
We all know about the big moments. Talbot's goals in Game Seven. Pietrangelo's save. Ron Francis's entire Game 4 against the Rangers in 1992. Jagr's heroics against the Devils in '99. Kasparaitis. Sykora.
We all know about the big moments that went against the Pens, as well. Florida's trap in '96. Volek in '93. Valk in '98. New Jersey's 2001 suffocation. Halak possibly.
But what about the unsung moments that stay with us? Like Dan Kesa's goal in Game One against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1999? Children were conceived based solely on that goal.
The best thing about unsung moments is everyone has their own. So what follows are some of our favorite unsung moments. Please feel free to share your own. Or suck it.
May 26, 1991– Shawn McEachern's interference on Jagr's game-tying goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game One of the SCF.
One of our favorite all-time unsung moments. Jaromir Jagr's game-tying goal in this game is one of the biggest goals ever scored. But you have to wonder if it would have ever happened without Shawn McEachern.
Now go back and watch McEachern as Jagr comes off the boards:
What awareness. He knows Jagr isn't going to pass. Old NHL play. He is looking to keep Jagr free.
He is even holding the Blackhawk player's stick. What an asshole.
This is a penalty so hard in the new NHL. Jagr free to deal. Also, McEachern jumped before the shot was taken, tricking Belfour into making a save attempt, freeing up the five-hole when the Eagle repositioned.
Go-ahead goal in third period of Game 6 against the Bruins in the WCF.
Depending on how long you've been reading the blog, you've probably seen us reference this Gordie Roberts goal on more than one occasion. Consider the circumstances: the Pens could smell their first-ever SCF appearance, the Bruins were fighting to take the series back to Boston for a seventh game, the Pens had come back from a 2-0 deficit in this game to tie it in the second.
This was just an instance of a player being in a place he had no business being in at a time when everyone least expected it.
3:55 mark. You can hear the unreal buzz in the arena at the time. And this goal gets sent to goosebump level when you hear the unfiltered emotion in Mike Lange's voice. It's grainy video, but it's the only video on YouTube that includes Mike Lange's voice.
Mark Recchi has the eventual game-winner soon after in this video, but look who made sure it wasn't gonna be a two-line pass as he executes a perfect bank pass off the boards onto Recchi's tape. It's Gordie Roberts.
Plus Lemieux effin buries it.
The Yanni Scandal
We never said it had to be a hockey-only moment.
Yanni played a huge role in the Pens run to the Cup in '09.
Three events in eight days at Mellon Arena required the NHL to schedule the Capitals and Penguins to play Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series in Pittsburgh on Friday night and Game 5 at the Verizon Center in Washington on Saturday.
"You don't want to play back-to-back," Capitals general manager George McPhee said. "Neither team wanted it."
The teams are playing every other day during the series except for the back-to-back games. Normally, the teams would have played Friday in Pittsburgh, Sunday in Washington and Tuesday (if necessary) in Pittsburgh, but the concert conflict ruled out Tuesday.
Instead, Game 6 would be played Monday night in Pittsburgh, the third game between the teams in four days.
A WWE wrestling event this past Tuesday and a Dane Cook show on Thursday in Pittsburgh also factored into the NHL schedule.
"It is a shame that both teams will have to play back-to-back games … because the Pittsburgh building — against NHL rules — booked a series of concerts and forced the league to alter the playoff schedule," Leonsis wrote recently on his blog, Ted's Take. "This is bad for the league, both fan bases and for the players.
As fate would have it, the Penguins won Game Four then won Game Five in Washington. Even though the Caps won Game Six in Pittsburgh, Yanni had clearly gotten the best of them.
Philippe Boucher's interference in Game Five of the Yanni Series™.
It's right in your mouth as soon as this YouTube starts. Clearly a penalty. It frees up Malkin to cruise down the wing. Game.
April 24, 1996 – The Caps fan who threw something onto the ice.
This happened. It is just hard to prove. At some point during the Pens/Caps 4-OT classic, a Capitals fan threw something onto the ice. It fell right in front of the net closest to the visiting bench. We believe it happened sometime during regulation.
Fast-forward to overtime. Chris Tamer saves a goal then knocks the net off by accident. Somehow, a penalty shot is awarded to Joe Juneau of the Caps.
Juneau vs. Wregget city. But while coming down on the penalty shot, the puck jumps on Juneau. The spot where it jumped? Right where whatever the Capital fan threw had landed. No idea how that could have caused it. But we'll always believe it.
In 1991, the Devils were up three games to two over the Penguins in the first round. New Jersey clawed back from a three goal deficit and would have tied game six (at home) with this goal by Laurie Boschman, however, the goal was waved off by referee Bill McCreary even though replays showed it hit Boschman's stick after it hit his skate. The call on the ice stood and the Devils ended up losing the game (and the series) by a count of 4-3.
(4:29 mark, thanks to @jscazcar for the find)
And just to remind everyone, including ourselves, about what road playoff games are all about, here are the highlights from Game 6 last year.