The final game at Mellon Arena was played last night, with the Stanley Cup favorite Pittsburgh Penguins going down in flames against the resurgent Montreal Canadiens, 5-2.
The Penguins have been playing at Mellon Arena — originally Civic Arena — since 1967, but will be moving this offseason to nearby Consol Energy Center. it surely is one of the most unusual places ever to host NHL hockey: built both as an arena and as a opera hall, the Civic Arena roof opened to allow a view of the Pittsburgh skyline. Of course, it’s been a long time since the roof opened (we were hoping there would be one last hurrah with a game played under open skies, but there wasn’t; the roof doesn’t open anymore), and the place has been configured strictly as a hockey facility for many year now.
In many ways it was fitting the Canadiens ended the Pens’ run at Mellon Arena: the first NHL game played there had the Montreal Canadiens defeat the expansion Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1, on Oct. 11, 1967.