The Pittsburgh Penguins are a professional ice hockey team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The franchise was founded in 1967 as one of the first expansion teams during the league's original expansion from six to twelve teams. The Penguins played in the Civic Arena from the time of their inception through the end of the 2009-10 season. They moved into their new arena, Consol Energy Center, to begin the 2010–11 NHL season. They have qualified for four Stanley Cup Finals, winning 3 Stanley Cups in their history, in 1990–91, 1991–92, and 2008–09.
The 1969–70 season only got better as Pittsburgh celebrated its first NHL Playoff berth since the 1928 Pirates. Besting the original franchise the Penguins recorded the first NHL series victory in the city's history, defeating the Oakland Seals in four games. A series away from the Stanley Cup Finals, the defending conference champions St. Louis Blues got the best of the club during six games, but the Penguins had shown the hockey world that Pittsburgh was on the rise. The club was just the fourth expansion team to win an NHL series. The rookie Briere was even more impressive as the post season got underway, recording five goals (including three game winners) and eight points in just 10 games. Most dramatically he scored an overtime goal to win Pittsburgh its first NHL Playoff series in California. With the franchise two games shy of the Stanley Cup Finals and a promising rookie getting better with each game the future looked incredibly bright.
The Penguins began the 1980s by changing their team colors. In January 1980, the team switched from wearing blue and white to their present-day scheme of black and gold to honor Pittsburgh's other sports teams, the Pirates and the Steelers, as well as the Flag of Pittsburgh. Both the Pirates and Steelers had worn black and gold for decades, and both were fresh off world championship seasons at that time. The Bruins protested this color change, claiming a monopoly on black and gold, but the Penguins defended their choice by stating that an early hockey club in Pittsburgh also used black and gold as their team colors. They also argued that black and gold were Pittsburgh's traditional sporting colors. The NHL agreed, and Pittsburgh was allowed to use black and gold, a color scheme since adopted as well by the Anaheim Ducks when that team changed their uniforms in 2006.
Lemieux shocked the hockey world by deciding to come back as a player on December 27, 2000, having gained a stake in ownership of the franchise in 1999, becoming the first player–owner in NHL history. Lemieux helped lead the Penguins deep into the 2001 playoffs, highlighted by an overtime victory against the Buffalo Sabres in Game 7 of the second round. Kasparaitis scored the series-clinching goal to advance the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost in 5 games to the New Jersey Devils. No one realized it at the time, but it would be an end of an era.