In the end, Hossa didn't re-sign, instead opting to ink a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings (the team that beat Pittsburgh in that year's Stanley Cup Final) leaving the Penguins with nothing to show for the truckload of youngsters they sent to Atlanta. Well, almost. The Penguins also received Pascal Dupuis in that deadline deal, and two years later, he's still with the club. On Saturday night, he scored the game-winner in overtime to complete a come-from-behind 4-3 win in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against Ottawa, sending the Penguins to the second round of the playoffs.
Obviously, at the time of that trade, Dupuis was far from the key player involved (more like a throw-in), but he's been a valuable asset to the Penguins this season, tallying 18 goals and 20 assists, while also playing a role on a penalty kill unit that finished the regular season ranked ninth in the NHL. His 38 points this season were more than any player Pittsburgh sent to Atlanta during that trade, while he did it for a cap hit of just over $1 million.
Not a bad throw-in.
He ended Saturday's game midway through the first overtime period on a perfectly placed shot -- while he was falling to the ice -- that beat Ottawa goaltender Pascal Leclaire high on the glove side.
The Senators, coming off a triple-overtime win on Thursday, stormed out of the gate and outplayed the Penguins for much of the first two periods, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Matt Cooke finally put the Penguins on the board at the 10:56 mark of the second period. For as dominant as Ottawa was in the first period, Pittsburgh was equally dominant in the third, scoring a pair of goals (Cooke, his second, and a power play goal from Bill Guerin) while out-shooting the Sens by an 18-4 margin.
This game ended up being a carbon copy of the Penguins' series-clinching win in last season's opening round against Philadelphia: After jumping out to a 3-1 series lead, just like this season, they dropped Game 5 at home, just like this season, and fell behind 3-0 in the early stages of Game 6, only to storm back and win, 4-3.
Still, you have to give a ton of credit to the Senators for pushing this series as far as they did when you consider the firepower they didn't have in the lineup. They played without two of their top-five scorers (Alex Kovalev and Milan Michalek), their top offensive-defenseman (Filip Kuba) and eventually turned to their backup goaltender (Pascal Leclaire) who finished the regular season with the 45th best save percentage (out of 46) in the NHL.
There were a pair plays in this game that had to undergo lengthy reviews by the officials in Toronto, including a save by Leclaire on Mike Rupp that was stopped right along the goal line, and a shot by Matt Cullen that would have given Ottawa a 4-1 lead late in the second period. Upon review, it was determined that the net had been dislodged before the puck crossed the goal line.
Pittsburgh's opponent in the second round has yet to be determined, but could be any number of teams (