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Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Top Ten Pittsburgh Penguins Moments of the Sidney Crosby Era

On July 30th, 2005 Sidney Crosby was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was known as "The Next One" and he came into the post-lockout NHL bringing the promise of a new golden age for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He delivered.

Today we're going to look at the Top Ten Pittsburgh Penguins Moments since Sidney Crosby arrived on the scene. This list will cover the time period from the day Sid was drafted until the present day, therefore Sidney being drafted does not qualify. Not all of these moments involve Sidney Crosby, but many of them do.

Here we go:

10. Sidney Crosby's shootout winner against Montreal (November 10th, 2005) - It was the first shootout ever in Pittsburgh. It was Sidney Crosby's first game against a Canadian team. Penguins legends Mark Recchi and Mario Lemieux had both missed their shots. The pressure was on. The Penguins could win the game with a Sidney Crosby goal. And they did. [VIDEO]

9. Sidney Crosby becomes the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points (April 17th, 2006) - There weren't many highlights to the 2005-2006 season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team had a very disappointing season finishing in 29th place. In the Penguins last home game that year Sidney Crosby scored his 100th point and the arena exploded. [VIDEO]

8. The Penguins Return to the NHL Playoffs (April 11th, 2007) - The Penguins finished the 2006-2007 regular season with 105 points, 47 more than the previous season and they returned to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2001. Although they were beaten by the Senators in round one, this season marked the arrival of Crosby's Penguins as a force on the NHL scene. [VIDEO]

7. The Pittsburgh Penguins trade for Marian Hossa (February 26th, 2008) - No one expected it, but when Ray Shero traded Colby Armstrong, Eric Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first round draft pick for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis at the trade deadline it showed that the Penguins wanted to win now. While Hossa left the team at the end of the season, the move showed that the Penguins were ready to contend for the Cup and gave Sidney Crosby a top caliber winger for the playoff run. [VIDEO]

6. Evgeni Malkin "Defects" From Russia and Arrives in Pittsburgh (Summer 2006) - It looked like 2004 second overall draft pick Evgeni Malkin would stay in Russia for one more year when he signed a 1 year contract extension with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in 2006. However, Malkin left the team on a Finnish road trip and seemingly disappeared. He showed up in the United States and declared his intention to play in the NHL that year. The Russians filed a lawsuit against him, but the case was dismissed as Malkin had given his two weeks notice. Malkin was injured prior to the season but when he did start playing he did so in dramatic fashion. Malkin scored a goal in his first six NHL games, setting a modern NHL record. Malkin's arrival gave the Penguins two of the greatest players in the game. [VIDEO]

5. The 2007 NHL Awards (June 14th, 2007) - The 2007 NHL Award Show in Toronto was the Penguins' night. Crosby won the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson trophy. Malkin won the Calder trophy, an award that fellow Penguin Jordan Staal was also nominated for, and Michel Therrien was nominated for the Jack Adams award. The Penguins took home a lot of hardware that night, but it was obvious that a larger trophy was their ultimate goal. [VIDEO]

4. The 2008 NHL Playoffs (April 9th, 2008) - The Pittsburgh Penguins returned to the NHL playoffs one year older and with a lot more experience. They faced the same opponent in the first round, the Ottawa Senators, but this time there was a much different result. The Penguins swept the Senators in four games. They proceeded to cruise their way to the Stanley Cup finals losing only twice along the way, including a 6-0 victory at home that eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers. That was where it ended however, as the Detroit Red Wings overwhelmed the Penguins and won the Stanley Cup. The run not only gave the team more experience but getting that close to the Cup and losing just made them want it that much more. [VIDEO]

3. The NHL Winter Classic (January 1st, 2008) - In front of 71,000 fans, the largest crowd in NHL history, the Penguins faced off against the Buffalo Sabres in what would become a New Years Day tradition. The storybook ending could not have been scripted better for the NHL and the Penguins as Sidney Crosby scored the game winning goal in a shootout. [VIDEO]

2. Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals (June 2nd, 2008) - This moment deserves its own spot on the list as it was the highlight of the Penguins playoff run. The fans in Detroit were chanting "WE WANT THE CUP!" The trophy was removed from its case and ready for presentation. It seemed inevitable. But with 34 seconds left in the third period Maxime Talbot scored to tie the game. The teams played on late into the night, but then almost ten minutes into the third overtime Petr Sykora scored to send the series back to Pittsburgh. The fact that Sykora told Pierre McGuire he was going to score earlier in the night made the moment even more special. [VIDEO]

1. A New Arena Agreement is Reached (March 13th, 2007) - It looked bleak for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Talks had apparently broken down and it seemed like the Pittsburgh Penguins were set to move to Kansas City. But on March 13th, 2007 Mario Lemieux stepped on Mellon Arena ice and announced that "your Pittsburgh Penguins will remain right here in Pittsburgh where they belong." It cemented Lemieux's legacy in Pittsburgh and the team's future was finally stable. [VIDEO]

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