Stanley Cup Parade postponed as Fleury, Penguins win Game #5
Detroit has no answers for hot goalie
Game #5 – Pittsburgh Penguins 4 - Detroit Red Wings 3 (3 OT)
Do or die for the Penguins in game #5; no other option but to win. What a performance by the Detroit Red Wings, who dominated this game in every aspect possible, except for the score. Both teams had many opportunities and there must have been about 9 goal posts hit during the entire game. Petr Sykora ended the marathon in the 3 rd overtime thanks to a donkey-like 4 minute penalty by Jiri Hudler. Sykora did score the game winner but was no way the game hero.
The Wings outshot Pittsburgh 34-18 in regulation and 58-32 in the game. In my opinion, Marc-Andre Fleury deserves the Conn Smythe Award, for most valuable player in the playoffs, win or lose. He has made 30+ saves in every night, and game #5 was close to the all time best goalie shows in NHL history, without question.
Marian Hossa scored with assists from Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis followed by an Adam Hall goal to surprise the Detroit crowd by being down by 2 after the opening frame. The lone goal in the 2 nd period was snapped in by 21 year old speedster Darren Helm for Detroit at the 2:54 mark, assisted by Kirk Maltby.
The final period saw Pavel Datsyuk tip in a Henrik Zetterberg shot to tie the game on the power play, 6:43 into the frame. Minutes later, Brian Rafalski beat Fleury to give the Wings the lead for the first time in the game, with a little over 10 minutes left to the raising of the 11th Stanley Cup in Red Wing’s history.
The Penguins only managed 4 shots on net in the third period but Maxime Talbot made his count. With less than a minute left in the game, Pittsburgh pulled Fleury to get the man advantage and it worked. Sidney Crosby and Hossa assisted on Talbot’s biggest goal of his short career; a wrister to extend the series into overtime with 30 seconds left in game #5.
Overtime was needed to proclaim a winner.
The first overtime was all Detroit for the opening 17 minutes but Fleury held his ground making 13 saves. Pittsburgh only provided offense when Zetterberg was accused of goalie interference at the 17:25 point, when it was actually Fleury who slid into him. Either way, the Penguins failed to score and overtime #2 was coming.
Each team had a power play in the 2 nd overtime and both failed to claim victory. It was more of a defensive even played period with players waiting for their opponents to have a mental lapse. The Wings fans kept the tempo high; chanting loud and wearing red but the patience battle lead to a 3 rd OT.
Detroit’s Hudler made the final mistake of the game by taking a double minor high-sticking penalty. The Pens now had 4 minutes to finish game #5 and head to game #6 in Pittsburgh. The black and yellow jersey’s only needed 36 PP seconds as Sykora scored at the 9:57 mark of the 3 rd OT assisted by Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar. Joe Louis Arena was upset as the Stanley Cup parade had to be rescheduled.
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Here are the key factors in this series as stated in our 2008 Stanley Cup Finals preview:
Pittsburgh had 3 secondary scorers in Hossa (debatable), Hall, and Sykora pop a goal to Detroit’s 2, in Helm and Rafalski. The Red Wing defense once again out scored the terrible D of the Pens but there is only 1 reason why Pittsburgh won this game and it had nothing to do with the offense.
Hmmmm, who ever watched the game knows that the Wings completely owned puck possession; especially in the offensive zone. It is very rare to outshoot your opponent by 26 shots and still lose. The Wings did nothing wrong, the Pens did not much right except for starting Fleury in net.
Okay, let us start with Chris Osgood. He made 28 of 32 saves and was great when called upon again if we ignore the final goal. There was just no way possible he could have played better than Fleury.
I did predict Detroit in game #6 and now it looks to be coming true on Wednesday, June 4th. Beating Detroit is hard to do, even harder at the Joe Louis Arena but Fleury did it by himself. There is nothing more that the Wings can do. They played extremely well in the offensive and defensive zones and are facing a goalie who improves by game. If the Red Wings can attempt 30 more shots in game #6, the pads of Fleury must start to get wobbly.
Detroit leads series 3-2.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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