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Breaking down the Penguins at Mellon Arena

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By Rob Rossi and Kevin Gorman
Thursday, April 8, 2010

In celebration of the Penguins' final regular-season game at Mellon Arena, the Tribune-Review takes a look at some of the more memorable moments and personalities at the Igloo:

Top 10 games at Mellon Arena

Nov. 22, 1972 — The Penguins set an NHL record for fastest five goals when five players scored in a span of 2:07 in the third period, in which they scored a record seven goals. They beat St. Louis, 10-4.

April 26, 1975 — Ed Westfall's backhander beat Gary Inness with 5:18 left, and the Penguins became the second team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead when they lost Game 7, 1-0, to the New York Islanders in the quarterfinals.

March 24, 1976 — Two Penguins' fan favorites achieved club firsts in the same game, as Jean Pronovost scored his 50th goal and Pierre Larouche his 100th point in a 5-5 tie with the Boston Bruins.

Jan. 19, 1980 — In Wayne Gretzky's first visit, the Penguins (144) and Edmonton (123) set arena records for most penalty minutes in a game, and D Russ Anderson set a team record with 51 PIM. The Oilers won, 5-2.

Nov. 27, 1991 — The Penguins commemorated the death of coach "Badger" Bob Johnson, who led them to their first Stanley Cup championship, with a candlelight ceremony before a game against New Jersey at Mellon Arena.

May 9, 1992 — Ron Francis scored an overtime goal to beat the New York Rangers, 5-4, in Game 4 to even the Patrick Division Final and start an 11-game win streak that would lead to the Penguins' second Cup title.

May 26, 1992 — The Penguins trailed, 4-1, before Rick Tocchet and Mario Lemieux scored in a span of 59 seconds, Jaromir Jagr tied it with what Lemieux called "the greatest goal I've ever seen," and Lemieux won the game with 12.6 seconds left for a 5-4 victory over Chicago in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

May 2, 1999 — Sidelined by a groin injury, Jaromir Jagr returned to score the game-tying goal in the third period and the winner 8:59 into overtime for a 3-2 victory over New Jersey in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

May 4, 2000 — Philadelphia's Keith Primeau scored at 12:01 of the fifth overtime for a 2-1 victory over the Penguins - goalie Ron Tugnutt stopped 70 shots - in Game 4 to even the Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2.

June 4, 2009 — Trailing defending champion Detroit, 2-1, in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, Jordan Staal tied the score on a shorthanded goal at 8:35 of the second, and Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy scored for a 4-2 victory that turned the series and helped the Penguins win their third Cup championship.

Love birds

Five Penguins who were cult heroes at the Igloo:

Bryan Watson — "Bugsy" the first

Bob Kelly — You couldn't sink this "Battleship"

Ulf Samuelsson — Jack Lambert on skates

Darius Kasparaitis — Ironically, a Game 7 OT goal was his greatest hit

Gary Roberts — What he would do is bring the pain

Boo birds

Five opposing players who weren't welcomed at the Igloo:

Barclay Plager — "Bar-clay!" "Bar-clay!"

Bobby Clarke — The Commonwealth Cold Sore

Wayne Gretzky — Great• Sure. Super• Hardly.

Dale Hunter — A Capital offender

Marian Hossa — See my Marian walking away ...

Six before 66

Trib staffers and Penguins broadcasters pick a goalie, two defensemen and three forwards whose stars shined brightest before Mario Lemieux arrived in 1984:

Denis Herron (Goalie, 1972-7 91982-86): 290 games, 88 wins, 133 losses, 44 ties, 3.87 GAA

Dave Burrows (Defense, 1971-7 81980-82): 573 games, 24 goals, 108 assists, 132 points

Randy Carlyle (Defense, 1978-84): 397 games, 66 goals, 257 assists, 323 points

Rick Kehoe (Right wing, 1974-85): 722 games, 312 goals, 324 assists, 636 points

Pierre LaRouche (Center, 1974-77): 240 games, 119 goals, 134 assists, 253 points

Jean Pronovost (Right wing, 1968-78): 753 games, 316 goals, 287 assists, 603 points

Source: Pittsburgh Penguins media guide

Six other than 66

Trib staffers and Penguins broadcasters pick a goalie, two defensemen and three forwards whose stars shined brightest after Mario Lemieux arrived in 1984 (excluding Lemieux):

Tom Barrasso (Goalie, 1988-2000): 458 games, 226 wins, 153 losses, 53 ties, 3.27 GAA

Paul Coffey (Defense, 1987-92): 331 games, 108 goals, 332 assists, 440 points

Larry Murphy (Defense, 1990-95): 326 games, 78 goals, 223 assists, 301 points

Jaromir Jagr (Right wing, 1990-2001): 806 games, 439 goals, 640 assists, 1,079 points

Ron Francis (Center, 1991-98): 533 games, 164 goals, 449 assists, 613 points

Sidney Crosby (Center, 2005-current): 368 games, 180 goals, 317 assists, 497 points

Source: Pittsburgh Penguins media guide

The Igloo by the numbers

857 — wins

576 — losses

205 — ties

28 — OT/SO losses

6,127 — goals for

5,366 — goals against

13 — scoring champions

134 — consecutive shutouts

58 — most wins (Flyers)

44 — most losses (Flyers and Canadiens)

Arrive early to send out the Igloo

Gates will open at 6 p.m. Thursday for the final regular-season NHL game at Mellon Arena between the Penguins and New York Islanders.

The Penguins are requesting that fans be seated by 7:20 p.m., because a special pre-game ceremony will begin soon after. The ceremony will involve more than 50 former Penguins — players, coaches and general managers — who will be on hand to send off the NHL's oldest facility.

Trib Total Media readers are encouraged to send their Mellon Memories via e-mail to .

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