That Buffalo team wasn't that bad defensively, they just played in a high scoring era. Mike Ramsey and Bill Hajt were top notch in their own zone.
If the goalies weren't Bob Sauve and Jacques Cloutier, they would have been much better than 6th in goals against.
Pittsburgh gets my vote as the worst. Journeymen like Grant Jennings, Gordie Roberts, Paul Stanton, and Peter Taglianetti --- yet they win the cup.
Hockey's a great sport.
6th in GA, but still 3rd in GA in their own division, the Adams, which was the most defensive and tightest checking division at the time. Plus, they only scored 33 more goals than they gave up. In the playoffs, they tightened up and shut down the Habs in three straight (2 shutouts by Sauve). Boston gave up 60 less goals and it paid dividends as they won the division and lost in the CF in 6 games to NYI.
93/94 you can blame that on Cheveldae, who over his 30 starts was giving up .50 and .75 more goals a game then Osgood or Essensa. He was at GAA 3.47 to 2.86 and 2.67. That is good for 15 or 20 goals right there.
How could he coach defense with an offensive juggernaut like those Penguins, leading the league in goals for. You can only work with what you have and the only way the Pens were going to win was to score.
So the 91/92 is definitely the worst defensive team Bowman coached, but they still won the cup, that tells you a lot.
Interestingly, Bowman turns the Penguins around into a more defensive team in 92-93 and Barrasso has a really terrific season in an anomalistically high scoring year...the 1993 Penguins were one of the more defensively conscious teams in their history according to my own brain...maybe outside of the Constantine years, 2008 under Therrien and maybe last year where they showed some flashes...it ranks along with them.
Adaptions from Lemieux missing over a quarter of the season...and only Larry Murphy could move the puck forward, and he was no Coffey...the best offensive d-man on the team - in terms of skill - was the dozen, swashbuckling games of Bryan Fogarty...