Tuesday, June 3, 2008
When Peter Sykora scored at 9:57 of the 3rd OT on a power-play, a goal he actually predicted that he would score, the Pittsburgh Penguins have at the very least forced a game 6 Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
A double minor for high sticking provided the Pens with a glorious opportunity and they capitalized with Sykora's high wrist shot that beat Chris Osgood on the short side. The Penguins had 2 heroes tonight: One was Maxime Talbot, who's "never say die" attitude provided the Pens with the tying goal with only 35 seconds remaining. It was a huge shock to the Detroit Faithful, who are the time were singing about winning the cup (a little early, don't you think?). The other, of course, was Marc Andre Fleury. He was in a word: Fantastic.
The Penguins had a 2-0 lead early on thanks to goals by Marian Hossa and a fluke goal by Adam Hall (Hey, they don't draw pictures on the score sheet!). Detroit answered in the 2nd period on a goal by Darren Helm to make the game 2-1 going into the 3rd period. In the 3rd I had this eerie feeling that Pittsburgh needed to score that important next goal, but it didn't happen and Detroit pressed on. Tyler Kennedy's penalty gave Detroit the chance they needed, and a deflected shot from Zetterberg by Pavel Datsyuk tied the game at 2 (more on the penalty call later). A few minutes after that, Brian Rafalski appeared to have clinched the cup for Detroit with a seeing-eye wrister that beat Fleury on the left side. That looked like it was the final dagger, Pittsburgh looked dead and it was a "done deal".
If not for Maxime Talbot's energy, game tying goal, and Fleury's play in net - it would have been all over for the Pens. Hockey is a great game, sometimes strange. How else do you explain being outplayed, outshot, outhit, and basically outeverythinged and still manage to win?
Some other points from the game
- Ryan Malone took on a slap shot to the already broken nose he suffered earlier in the series. He was back on the bench as fast as he could be, of course. That's what I call a true hockey player!
- Malkin was once again a mess on the ice. They are gonna need him and he better snap out of this funk! And please stop making excuses for him... he's "tired", are you kidding me?
- The NHL is really getting exposed with their post-lockout rule changes. No consistency in the calls (I wish they would have just left the game the way it was, let the players play - as I've said many times before!). The penalties called on both teams were terrible (Tyler Kennedy's hooking call was garbage). Detroit players crashing the net - I agree with Mike Milbury and Co., what are the players supposed to do? Sorry NHL, you goofed and you know it.
*Pictures in all blog posts are taken from Yahoo! Sports & Getty Images