Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Resilient Penguins force Game 7

PITTSBURGH — The Penguins wouldn't let the Red Wings celebrate with the Stanley Cup, not again. Not in this Game 6 in their arena. Not without going the distance in a final where home ice means everything and momentum means nothing.

Third-line teammates Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy gave the Penguins a two-goal lead, and Marc-Andre Fleury held off the defending champion Red Wings during a frantic third period Tuesday as Pittsburgh beat Detroit 2-1 to tie the unpredictable series at three games.

Game 7 is Friday night in Joe Louis Arena, where Detroit is 3-0 but, as the oldest of NHL playoff adages goes, anything can happen when a single game determines who raises a silver trophy.

"That's a big as it gets. You get a chance to play for the Cup and it's Game 7," Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.

Fleury, yanked during Detroit's 5-0 blowout in Game 5 after giving up four goals in the second, regrouped to make 25 saves and hold off the Red Wings, who went winless in Pittsburgh as they go for their fifth Stanley Cup since 1997.

"I thought the best thing coach (Dan Bylsma) said to us after that was, 'It's the same as last game. We still need two wins to win the Stanley Cup,' " defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "That calmed the room down. Instead of thinking, 'We're down, we're down, we're down,' you're thinking, 'Okay, two more wins.' "

Now, it's down to one — for both teams.

The Red Wings won the Cup by taking Game 6 in Pittsburgh 3-2 last year but were denied a second successive clincher there, and on the 25th anniversary of one of the biggest days in Penguins' history: the drafting of Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, now the team's owner, in 1984.

No silver trophy, not on this silver anniversary. Mostly because Fleury, so bad in Game 5, couldn't have been much better as the Penguins won for the first time in the playoffs without a point from stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

"He was unbelievable for us," said Crosby, who, like nearly every Penguins player, said Fleury has repeatedly bounced back from off nights with exceptional performances.

Maybe it was the good luck kiss Fleury got from his mom as he arrived at Mellon Arena, one that caused him to blush a bit when asked about it afterward.

Crosby taped a commercial last summer in which he watched the Red Wings celebrate wildly, then vows that it won't happen again. In nearly identical circumstances, it didn't as the Penguins forced the first Cup final Game 7 in their 42-year history.

"We weren't thinking about last year at all," Crosby said. "But we found a way to survive. And now it's anyone's game. It's going to be a great challenge … but it's an unbelievable opportunity."

Staal, whose key short-handed goal carried the Penguins to a 4-2 victory in Game 4, skated in on a 2-on-1 break started by Kennedy. Staal's initial shot deflected off goalie Chris Osgood's chest, but Staal gathered the rebound near the right post and pushed it in only 51 seconds into the second.

"It ended up coming right back to me, so I just buried my head and fired it," said Staal, who didn't pass because, "I'm a shooter, not a passer."

Detroit, outshot 15-4 at the start, finally began generating some offensive momentum only to have Kennedy, who has scored in each of Pittsburgh's last two home games, make it 2-0 at 5:35.

"They were a desperate team and I thought it showed," Lidstrom said.

Ruslan Fedotenko and Max Talbot pressured to keep the puck in the Detroit zone, allowing Kennedy to gather it behind the net and carry it in front. Osgood stopped his initial shot but Kennedy pushed in the rebound.

"He made a goal out of nothing," Bylsma said.

A two-goal lead with Pittsburgh playing with discipline and determination looked big, but the Red Wings sliced it to 2-1 when an undefended Draper — one of four players who has been on all four of Detroit's Stanley Cup winners since 1997 — grabbed Jonathan Ericsson's rebound in the left circle and put it past Fleury 2½ minutes after Kennedy scored.

"It's a great feeling that we won this one," Fleury said. "Last year was tough, now we're alive and we're going to Game 7. It's awesome."

Penguins 0 1 1 2
Red Wings 0 0 1 1
Series tied 3-3

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesZetterberg, Det (goaltender interference), 3:35; Filppula, Det (tripping), 13:29.

Second Period1, Pittsburgh, Staal 4 (Kennedy, Scuderi), :51. PenaltiesNone.

Third Period2, Pittsburgh, Kennedy 5 (Talbot, Fedotenko), 5:35. 3, Detroit, Draper 1 (Ericsson, Lidstrom), 8:01. PenaltiesMalkin, Pit (cross-checking), 9:18; Guerin, Pit (high-sticking), 12:40. Shots on GoalDetroit 3-9-14—26. Pittsburgh 12-12-7—31. Power-play opportunitiesDetroit 0 of 2; Pittsburgh 0 of 2. GoaliesDetroit, Osgood 15-7-0 (31 shots-29 saves). Pittsburgh, Fleury 15-8-0 (26-25). A17,132 (16,940). T2:24. Referees—Bill McCreary, Marc Joannette. LinesmenJean Morin, Steve Miller.

Red wings 3, Penguins 3
Game 1 Red Wings 3, Penguins 1
Game 2 Red Wings 3, Penguins 1
Game 3 Penguins 4, Red Wings 2
Game 4 Penguins 4, Red Wings 2
Game 5 Red Wings 5, Penguins 0
Tuesday Penguins 2, Red Wings 1
Friday at Detroit, 8, Ch. 8

Penguins 2

Red Wings 1

Resilient Penguins force Game 7 06/09/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 6:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 3: What we learned


    Take the knee … well, not NOW

     1. Photo of Roger Mooney for Times Sports.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Chris Archer's primary problem Sunday, as in much of September, was a lack of slider command. When he can't throw it where he wants, and doesn't have the confidence in the changeup to throw it often, he can't win with just his fastball.

  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. High school senior Chasten Whitfield inspires young anglers


    MADEIRA BEACH — The kids lined up single file, snow cones in hand, a procession of sweaty, excited grade schoolers watching Chasten Whitfield throw a cast net.

    Whitfield, a senior at Bradenton Manatee, demonstrates how to throw a cast net at the FishKids tournament in Madeira Beach. She also taught knot tying.
  5. Wreck helps Kyle Busch take control of Monster Cup's ISM 300

    Auto racing

    LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch saw little but billowing white smoke that engulfed the track and blinded enough drivers that it caused a tremendous wreck that notably altered the race running order.

    Kyle Busch celebrates with a burnout after his third victory of the season that earns a berth in the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs. He also has some fun with Loudon the Lobster.