Super Mario lifted the Penguins
March 26, 1996 - Although leading the league in goals, points, power-play goals, shorthanded goals and hat tricks this season, Mario Lemieux's head had been elsewhere the last couple of months.
Two days earlier, that burden was lifted when his wife Nathalie, who had been confined to bed for the last two months with a troubled pregnancy, gave birth to Austin Nicholas, the couple's third child and first son. Though Austin was born three months premature and weighed only two pounds and five ounces, doctors reported the two were out of harm's way.
With their health assured, Super Mario had a super night. Facing his rival Wayne Gretzky and the St. Louis Blues, the Penguins center scored five goals for the third time in his career and recorded two assists to reach the career 800-assist plateau.
With seven points in the 8-4 victory in Pittsburgh, he personally outscored Gretzky for just the second time in 20 head-to-head meetings. Basking in the glow of a new child, five goals and a standing ovation, No. 66 had led his Penguins to a win and had turned No. 99 upside down.
Odds 'n' Ends