June 1, 1992, gas was $1.13 per gallon, “Jump” by Kris Kross was atop the Billboard Top 100, and Mario Lemieux raised Lord Stanley’s silver chalice for the second consecutive year after the Pittsburgh Penguins swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.
One game after Penguins winger Kevin Stevens buried the only tally of Game 3, Game 4 radiated with offense. Each team scored three goals in the opening period, including three goals in only 30 seconds; Blackhawks captain Dirk Graham scored two goals only 30 seconds apart, but Stevens scored only 12 seconds after Graham’s first marker. Graham scored again later in the first period for the hat trick.
After the shaky start, Blackhawks’ coach Mike Keenan pulled goaltender Ed Belfour during the first period in favor of unknown goaltender (but future Hall of Fame member) Dominik Hasek. Hasek, only in his second active season at the time, was brilliant against the league’s most potent offense but the Penguins still netted four goals against the young netminder, including the game-winning slapshot from Ron Francis, eight minutes into the third period.
It was Lemieux’s crowning achievement and the Pittsburgh Penguins second consecutive Stanley Cup.
The playoff run wasn’t easy. The Penguins looked dead to rights in the first round after a Game 4 defeat to the Washington Capitals, 7-2 and trailed the series 3-1, only to win in seven games. In round two, the New York Rangers won Game 3 to go up 2-1 in the series, but that was the final defeat those Penguins suffered. For the second year in a row, the Penguins beat the Boston Bruins in the Conference Finals, only this time via a clean sweep.
Head coach, Scotty Bowman later told reporters that “The Hawks had come in with an 11-game winning streak, so we were two teams that were really hot. Winning that first game is crucial.”
The Penguins one-upped the Blackhawks winning streak. By sweeping the Cup Final, the Penguins win streak reached 11.
It was not an easy series, however.
Jagr’s Greatest Goal Ever?
The Penguins fell behind 4-1 in Game 1, and later scored two goals in less than a minute in the waning moments of the second period. However, the ultimate series changer was Jaromir Jagr’s one-man battle through the entire Blackhawks’ tribe. Former Penguin, Bryan Trottier told NHL.com that “the stick-handling moves that Jaromir had, I think he stick-handled around three of our guys and all their guys twice.”
Less than five minutes after the jubilance of Jagr’s goal, the Igloo melted with joy when Lemieux scored a powerplay goal with only 13 seconds remaining in the game.
Lemieux added a pair in Game 2, a 3-1 victory and when the series shifted to Chicago for Game 3, Tom Barrasso stole show making 27 saves on 27 shots faced. Almost 48 hours later, Lemieux and the crew donned Starter hats and t-shirts, depicting another Stanley Cup Championship.