ISLANDERS BEAT PENS, 1975: I CRIED

Last week I spoke and wrote about the five biggest wins in Pittsburgh sports history. Today it’s the five biggest losses. To read my TribLive.com column, click HERE.

I’ll leave the top three for the show. But No. 4 is the defeat that ruined my youth, the Penguins’ 1-0 loss to the New York Islanders in Game 7 of the 1975 Stanley Cup quarterfinals. The Penguins led that series, three games to none. They were only the second team in NHL history to blow that overwhelming edge.

There used to be zero video of what happened. That was OK by me. But more has appeared in recent years. Witness below.

You can see Pierre Larouche score a goal as a Penguin. He netted 119 times in 240 games with Pittsburgh, but surprisingly little film of that production exists. The Pens had great uniforms, too: My all-time favorites.

But you can also see Ed Westfall’s third-period series-winner for the Islanders, and the wild celebration of Islanders goalie Glenn “Chico” Resch.

I was 14. I was at the Civic Arena for that game. I saw all that up close. I cried.

Blowing that series lead scarred me. I never believe a team I support is going to win until it’s final and official. By way of current evidence, Liverpool FC have a 23-point lead in the Premier League with eight games remaining, and I still keep inventing scenarios where they blow it. Yesterday’s 0-0 draw at Everton got me depressed.

LFC supporters have a song: “We’re gonna win the league,” etc. I won’t sing it. I don’t even like to hum it. That’s because of what happened in 1975.

"Chico" Resch ruined my life. He's now the radio analyst for New Jersey, and I tell him so every time I see him.

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