December 27, 2008
It was one of those perfect moments in sports. A hero comes home and the impact he left is remembered again.
One of those perfect moments came on December 27, 2000 at Mellon Arena. It wasn't just any ordinary game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was the return of Le Manifique, Mario Lemieux.
Lemieux tallied his first assist on a, who else, Jaromir Jagr goal in the first period. Just over ten minutes into the second period, Penguin fans were taken back a few years when Jagr and Lemieux hooked up for a beauty of a goal like old times. Lemieux's first goal back was vintage. Jagr pulls up in the Leafs zone, spins around and fires a cross-ice pass where, of course, No. 66 was there to put it home.
Pittsburgh ended up winning the game 5-0 and Lemieux finished the night with a goal and two assists. He'd finish the 2000-01 season playing 43 games and compiling 35 goals and 76 points, putting him 31st on the league scoring list.
After playing parts of four more seasons, it was time for Lemieux to leave the game for good, but not before giving Penguin fans a wonderful Christmas present back in 2000.