The Pittsburgh Penguins as a franchise have had a few bonafide Hall Of Fame level goalies, Tom Barrasso, Less Binkley, and Marc-Andrea Fleury. But for the most part, their goaltending history is made up of guys who weren’t great in between the pipes but we’re fan favorites anyway. So with the most recent entry of the playoff champion, spicy pork-eating Louis Domingue, I decided to rank the top 10 cult heroes of the Penguins goaltending tree. Keep in mind, that stats will have nothing to do with this, it will be based entirely on the legend they left.
10 – Antti Niemi
The first entry on this list is not for something cool they did. But instead for how remarkably bad they are. Antti Niemi played in just three games for the Penguins, losing all three and allowing sixteen goals on just sixty-three shots. That is an average of over seven goals allowed per game. Honestly, it’s hard to be that bad. It is even more impressive when you consider this same guy backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to a Cup in 2010.
09 – Louis Domingue
Spicy pork and broccoli should permanently be on the menu inside of the PPG Paint arena forever. Being forced into a double-overtime game of the Stanely Cup playoffs is hard enough. Let along with a belly for spicy pork and broccoli. But that was benign of the origin story of Louie Domingue. A journeyman goalie Louie was an insurance policy the Penguins were forced to cash in on. He would end up winning the double-over-time game and became it so facto starter for the PEgnuins until Tristan Jarry returned to the lineup for game seven. Louie managed to win three games in the series and become a Pittsburgh Cult Hero overnight.
08 – Jeff Zatkoff
Mr. Game one! In 2016 the Penguin’s goaltending situation was looking Cup-worthy. That is until Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray were both hurt leading into the playoffs. That’s when Jeff Zatkoff came in! Starting in game one against the Rangers and winning it. This kicked off what would end up being a Stanely Cup-winning run for the Penguins. All thanks to Mr. Game 1.
07 – Sebastian Caron
Later in this list, we will talk about “The Save” but for now, let’s stick with the mini save. This version of the save came against the hated Flyers in Sid’s rookie year. The save was pretty freaking sweet, just look at the look on Sid’s face in this video.
06 – Andy Chiodo
The Penguin’s current goalie coach had quite the reputation as a player. Known for not being shy when it came to dropping the mitts. Including going toe to toe with the legendary Ray Emery. With a total of 4 fights in his career, Andy Chiodo is truly a legend.
05 – Ken Wregget
Known to smoke a joint in between periods Kenny Wregget was just an all-around good dude, a decent goalie, and had an eye for style. Whether it’s painting Danny Davito and the Penguin on his mask or checkerboard pads Kenny was an awesome goalie in Penguins history.
04 – Patrick Lalime
In 1996 the Penguins were the benefactor of one of the greatest rookie goalie performances in the history of the NHL. For 16 games straight Patrick Lalime was undefeated. He would go on to have a good NHL career for a number of other franchises dawning a rad Marvin Martian helmet. But ultimately was never as good as his early start for the Penguins.
03 – Brent Johnson
Imagine you are pitching a shutout and with about 30 seconds left in the game a fight breaks out. You go to center ice and challenge the opposing goalie, then with one punch, you knock him out and effectually end his career. That ladies and gentlemen is the true story of Brent Johnson. F*ck that’s cool.
02 – Frank Pietrangelo
The Save! Essentially a mix of Lious Domingue and the immaculate reception. In 1991 the hope of the Penguins was dim, facing the New Jersey Devils in an elimination game 6 without starting goaltender Tom Barrasso. Frank Pietrangelo was called upon to do the unthinkable to keep the Pengs alive. He did more than that with a glove save that lives on to this day. After “The Save” the Penguins would go on to beat the Devils in game six and then again in game seven behind a shut-out performance from Frank. They advanced to the next round and would go on to win the franchise’s first cup.
01 – Johan Hedberg
Th Penguins entered the 2000-01 seasons with goaltenders Jean-Sébastien Aubin and Garth Snow. But due to injury they found themselves in a pinch. In walks a kid in an oversized jersey sporting a blue helmet with a moose painted on it. And for the next five years the Penguins goaltending was int he safe hands of Johnan Hedburg aka The Moose! Traded for mid season Johan Hedburg was flown directly to Pittsburgh to start in an emergency after both starting goalies were hurt. The crowd noticing the distinc helmet rained down cheers of MOOOOOOSE!