PenguinsExperience.com - A Pittsburgh Penguins Blog © 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Last Season At This Time


We all know that last season was a success for the Pittsburgh Penguins. It didn't end with them raising the Stanley Cup, but finishing just out of first place in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, running over the competition in the playoffs and coming within two games of hockey's holy grail can be considered a good season.

We all know that this season (thus far) has been a disappointment. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost several players over the offseason and are currently struggling to catch the eighth playoff seed.

A lot has changed in one year.

So what were things like for Mario Lemieux's storied franchise just one year ago?

On January 13th, 2008 the Pittsburgh Penguins were coming off a shootout loss to the Atlanta Thrashers in which former Penguin Mark Recchi scored the winning shootout goal. The Atlanta loss has snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Penguins.

One year ago the Pittsburgh Penguins were preparing to host the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena, where the Pittsburgh Penguins were about to become almost unbeatable. Starting with a 4-1 victory over the Rangers on January 14th, the Penguins would only suffer three more regular season losses at the Igloo.

On this day, one year ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a 25-16-3 record. Ty Conklin was embarking on his outstanding run and Sidney Crosby didn't yet know what a high ankle sprain felt like. Despite the eventual injury to Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins were riding high. They would go 22-11-5 for the rest of the season, coming within one win of finishing first in the Eastern Conference.

Obviously things are different this year. This year the Penguins are struggling. They will need to put together an impressive winning streak quickly if they hope to salvage this season. Games this month again Philadelphia, New Jersey and the Rangers could decide the Penguins' playoff fate.

One year ago today, making the playoffs seemed inevitable. This year it seems almost impossible.

What a difference a year makes.

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