With players such as Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins certainly have had an explosive offense in their history.
But during a game in 1972, the Penguins enjoyed a record-setting scoring outburst. In the third period of a 10-4 win over the St. Louis Blues, the Penguins scored five goals in a 2:07 span. It is a NHL record that still stands. November 22 marked the 45th anniversary of the feat.
On Nov. 12, 1972, the Penguins were blanked, 1-0, by the Buffalo Sabres and goalie Roger Crozier. But they won their next three games, outscoring the opposition, 18-5. They beat the Minnesota North Stars, 7-1, on Nov. 15; the Atlanta Flames, 6-1, on Nov. 18; and the New York Rangers, 5-3, on Nov. 19.
Facing the Blues at Civic Arena, the Penguins opened the scoring in the first period on goals by Syl Apps at 3:59 and Bryan Watson at 11:40. (Interesting note: it would be the only goal scored by Watson that season).
Phil Roberto put the Blues on the scoreboard at 13:50, but Al McDonough restored the Penguins’ two-goal lead just 41 seconds later.
St. Louis rallied, however. Roberto’s second goal of the game at 1:58 of the second period made it 3-2 and Danny O’Shea tied it, 3-3, at 7:36. Then, 1:22 into the third period, Fran Huck scored to give the Blues a 4-3 lead.
That’s when the Penguins offense went to work.
McDonough notched his second goal of the game just 34 seconds after Huck scored to retie the game, 4-4. Greg Polis put the Penguins back on top, 5-4, at the 9:05 mark.
Then came the blitz against Blues goaltender Wayne Stephenson.
Bryan Hextall started it, tipping in a shot by Jack Lynch at 12:00 to make it 6-4. Eighteen seconds later Jean Pronovost scored off an assist from Polis to make it 7-4.
At 13:40, McDonough took a feed from Apps and completed his hat trick at 13:40 for an 8-4 Penguins lead. Nine seconds later, Ken Schinkel scored the Penguins’ ninth goal. Ron Schock then capped the uprising at 14:07.
Five goals. Two minutes, seven seconds. An NHL record.
Two teams have since come close to surpassing the Penguins’ fastest five-goal feat.
On Dec. 19, 1974, the Boston Bruins scored five times in a 2:55 span in an 11-3 win over the New York Rangers. Bobby Schmautz started the spree at 19:13 of the first period. Then, Ken Hodge (:18), Phil Esposito (:43), Don Marcotte (:58) and John Bucyk (2:08) scored in the second period to complete it.
Then, the New York Islanders netted five goals in a 2:37 span on Jan. 26, 1982 — ironically against the Penguins. Duane Sutter scored at 1:31 of the first period, followed by John Tonelli at 2:30, Bryan Trottier at 2:46 and 3:31 and Sutter again at 4:08. The Islanders won, 9-2. It was victory No. 3 of what would become a then-NHL record 15-game winning streak.
Still, while it has been challenged, no team has been able to top the record for the fastest five goals that the Penguins set 45 years ago.