Recchi Drags Penguins Kicking And Sceaming Into The 2nd Round - Season 2

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Mark Recchi delivered an incredible two-way performance in the first round of the 91 Cup Playoffs, topping Jaromir Jagr and sending the Penguins to the 2nd round. In game 1, Jagr quickly asserted himself, scoring the first 2 goals of the series and adding an assist on the 3rd Minnesota tally. Pittsburgh then stormed back with 4, the first scored by Vincent Damphousse, assisted by Recchi and Dino Ciccarelli. Recchi then scored a "natural" hat trick to put the Penguins up 4-3. Brian Leetch tied it early in the 3rd, but Ciccarelli would then score to make it 5-4 less than 40 seconds later. An incredible play by defenseman Steve Chaisson saved a sure tying goal with less than 15 seconds left, securing the victory for Pittsburgh.

Game 2 was another seesaw battle as the lead quickly swung back and forth. Gagne opened the scoring for Minnesota, but Coffey (with an assist from Recchi) tied it 16 seconds later, then Recchi again scored. Jagr tied it less than a minute later, beginning a scoring run from Minnesota that put them ahead 4-2. Ciccarelli scored with 3 seconds left in the 2nd to close the gap, then Recchi took over in the third scoring twice to lead the Penguins to a 7-5 win despite a late goal from Jagr.

Despite being knocked out of the game by Recchi in the 3rd period, game 3 belonged to Jagr and the North Stars despite the 4-3 score. The game was never really that close. Minnesota scored the first 4 goals of the game, with Jagr getting 2 goals and an assist. The Penguins knocked both Jagr and defenseman Slava Fetisov out for the game in the 3rd period with vicious hits while mounting a furious rally including a late goal from Recchi but it wasn't enough.

Minnesota tied the series in game 4, taking another close game 5-3. Kovalev scored the first goal (as he did in game 3) then assisted on three more, giving Minnesota another 4-0 lead. Ciccarelli scored in the middle of the 2nd to give Pittsburgh a pulse, but Leetch scored to open the 3rd, putting the game out of reach. Two late goals from Damphousse and Chaisson gave Pittsburgh a slight momentum swing as the series headed back to Minnesota with each game being won by the visiting team.

Recchi again began to come alive in game 5, perhaps spurred on by the cold air and trees in Minnesota. He scored 2 goals in the first 2 minutes of the first, which would end with Pittsburgh on top 4-1. Recchi scored again 1:52 into the 2nd, and despite a hat trick from a returning Jagr (knocked out of the game 4, this time by Ciccarelli), Recchi was just too much to handle, finishing with 4 goals on 8 shots.

Pittsburgh finally won a home game, ending the series at the Civic Arena in game 6 thanks in large part to another hat trick from Recchi, who scored the only goal in the first. Adam Graves tied the game at 2:15 of the 2nd, sending it to the 3rd tied at 1. The Pittsburgh fans were on pins and needles, cheering nervously in an attempt to spur the Penguins into recapturing the momentum. Ciccarelli scored 50 seconds in, and the second round was within their sights. Recchi added another goal 11 seconds later, but the series was far from over as Gagne scored 12 seconds later to pull Minnesota within 1. Recchi scored again 1:20 later, putting Pittsburgh up 2, and following a late slashing call on Recchi which forced him to spend the end of the series in the box, Ciccarelli scored shorthanded to put it away.


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