While the NHL now consists of a wide variety of international players, it used to be very Canadian. So when, in 1972, a team of Canadian stars had to score in the last minute of the last game to win an eight-game series against the Soviet national team, there was suddenly a recognition that there might be good hockey elsewhere in the world. (This is an 82-minute documentary about the 1972 Summit Series.)
From time to time after that, Russian teams would tour North America to play exhibitions against NHL teams. Five of those games took place in Pittsburgh.
The first was December 29, 1975, against the Soviet Wings. Penguin coach Marc Boileau was worried about his team thinking too much about the matchup as they lost in Atlanta three nights before. "I can see that would be a problem," said Flames coach Fred Creighton. "I'm glad I'm not in Marc's position."