A few sights some two hours before the drop of the puck tonight:
One lone fan surrounded by Detroit fans on the river front towards the back of Joe Louis Arena:
A few Penguins fans waiting on the steps:
They have a table set up for Gordie Howe to sign autographs in the concourse:
This place is empty and white right now:
The towels they're givng away tonight:
-A reader from across the pond writes:
"I've loved reading your Empty Netters blog since the start of the Stanley Cup final! Great info and collection of pics, etc from the series so far. Keep up the great work.
Here's hoping the Pens can pull off a great result tonight at 'The Joe.'
Just getting psyched up here for the game which faces off here about 1.20am (another Zombie day at work tomorrow then!) Lucky Penguin mascot Laraque at the ready, Pens jersey and Post Gazette cheer cards which have taken over the lounge here the last week.
I've been a Pens fanatic since 1990 and have managed to watch all 100 games this season so far. Here's hoping to make that 102 on Wednesday!"
-Diagonal P-I-T-T-S-B-U-R-G-H Mario Lemieux jersey:
-Again, we will not be able to produce photos for the rest of the night. There's something about Joe Louis Arena when it fills up that really prevents our phone from transmitting photos.
-If you're reading along, hit us up at email@example.com.
-There are a lot fewer Penguins fans here than in Games 1 and 2. We suppose it's a lot to ask of any fanbase to make a five hour drive and spend hundreds of dollars to potentially watch someone else's team to raise the Cup.
-At 7:58 p.m., the Penguins fans who are here begin a "LET'S GO PENS!" chant.
-An octopus is thown on the ice following warm ups. An attendant skates out to collect it and scrapes off the matter from the animal with his skate.
-At 8:04 p.m., Red Wings fans start a "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!" chant.
-The Penguins have scratched Alex Goligoski, Jeff Taffe, Dany Sabourin, Georges Laraque, Kris Beech and Kris Letang.
-Detroit's scratches can be found here. Darren McCarty is among them.
-Approximately four octopusses are thrown onto the ice during the national anthem. Al Sobotka picks one of them up and twirls it in the Zamboni gate.
20:00: As the puck is dropped, A "LET'S GO WINGS!" chant can be heard.
19:45: "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!" (clap, clap, clap)
18:55: Michel Therrien has put Gary Roberts on a line with Marian Hossa and Sidney Crosby.
18:05: Our apologies beforehand if we can't offer quality recap of certain plays. We only have NBC's horrible coverage available to us instead of CBC's. With NBC, it's obviously far more important to show Sidney Crosby scratching his butt instead of Adam Hall making an ice play to break up a pass.
17:54: Brooks Oprik is nailed for hooking Valtteri Filppula.
16:06: Marc-Andre Fleury appears to make a save on a shot from the point.
15:45: Just as Orpik's penalty expires, the Penguins go back into the box. Not a great way to start a game in which you're playing for your playoff life. It's a sloppy penalty too. Too many men on the ice. Tyler Kennedy serves it.
14:38: Pavel Datsyuk is called for tripping Jordan Staal in the corner. Replays of the "penalty" are shown. Red Wings fans boo. They should. It was a horrible call. Staal just fell. Penguins caught a break there. Four-on-four.
13:45: The Penguins' penalty expires. They will get 1:09 of power play time.
13:28: Controlling the puck in the corner, Sidney Crosby makes a bad pass and essentially gives it to the Red Wings who move the puck up ice to kill some time.
11:29: Nothing is over in the Penguin's minds. Pascal Dupuis digs a puck out of the corner and gets it Crosby then to Marian Hossa in the slot. Hossa doesn't need much time to get a shot off as he rockets a wrister that burns Chris Osgood. It's always huge to get the first goal against this team. The small cadre of Penguins fans here let loose with a pretty loud cheer. Penguins 1-0.
9:45: "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!"
9:10: The Wings get a puck on net. Fleury scoops it up. A Red Wings player and a Penguin give each other the business. A scrum ensues. A Red Wing looses his lid. Fleury skates over to the helmet and swats it away with his stick. Kirk Maltby and Maxime Talbot are sent off for roughing. Four-on-four.
7:28: A Red Wing comes up ice with the puck on a two-on-one against Rob Scuderi. Scuderi makes a fine play by sliding down to block the passing lane and prevents the Detroit player from getting a shot off.
5:39: Jarkko Ruutu tries to line up Andreas Lilja beind the net with a check but gets all boards.
5:19: Adam Hall for Conn Smythe! Hall works the puck from the corner into the crease. He forces it into Osgood's equipment. It squirts out into the slot. Niklas Kronwall's brain stops working apparently and he shoots it into his own net. What is about Swedish players named Niklas or Nicklas shooting the puck into their own net against the Penguins? Washington's Nicklas Backstrom did that March 9 in Washington in the Penguins' 4-2 win. Penguins fans here cheer. A "LET'S GO PEN'S!" chant starts. Penguins 2-0.
3:48: Hossa comes in on net and shoots low. Osgood denies him.
2:09: Darryl Sydor misplays a puck in the neutral zone. Darren Helm jumps on it and generates a breakaway. He approaches the net and shoots high to the stick side but totally misses the net. Darren Helm = Not clutch.
0:45: Crosby steals the puck off a Red Wing and gets a chance in deep against Osgood. A defender dives and forces Crosby to force his shot wide.
0:11: Jordan Staal forces the puck into the slot. A Red Wing forces him off it. Talbot follows up on it and appears to kick on net. Osgood keeps it out.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Red Wings 0.
-Uh... weren't the Red Wings supposed to be winning the Cup tonight?
-Each team made some mistakes in their own end. The only difference is the Penguins were able to capitalize on their chances while the Red Wings aren't. It sounced cliched to say, but that's the simple truth.
-Detroit is leading the Penguins in shots, 8-7.
-Detroit also has an edge in faceoffs, 9-8.
-Sergei Gonchar has already logged 9:59 of ice time.
-Marian Hossa is beginning to play like the player we saw in the first three rounds of the playoffs.
-EN reader Warren Lee informed us Kronwall's attempt at a clear actually hit Hall's skate and bounced into the net for a goal. So it's not quite in Nicklas Backstrom territory.
-Warren also informed us Ryan Whitney made a lunge to force Darren Helms shot high on his break away.
19:37: Talbot generate a quick breakaway off a turnover. He fires a shot high of the net.
19:32: Jordan Staal pumps a slapper on net from inside the blue line. Osgood eats it up.
19:08: Crosby gets behind the defense an appears to direct a shot wide of the net. The Red Wings have looked sloppy so far this period.
18:10: A few restless Detroit fans begin booing. A "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!" chant starts.
17:05: Detroit gets back in this thing with a little bit of luck. Darren Helm takes a pass on the left side from Kirk Maltby. He fires a shot. Scuderi slides down to block it. The puck deflects of Scuderi and is re-directed by Fleury. Darren Helm + Rob Scuderi's leg = Clutch. Penguins 2-1.
15:53: Dupuis steals the puck off of Brad Stuart at the Penguins blue line. Dupuis tries to force it up ice but Stuart appears to interfere with him.
15:03: Evgeni Malkin fires a backhander wide from the right side.
14:58: Rob Scuderi and Johan Franzen go down in a heap in front of Fleury.
14:12: Brooks Oprik clears a puck and upends Maltby. Maltby does something that gets him penalized. We'd tell you what but NBC can't be bothered to show a clean replay.
13:35: Dan Cleary shuffles a backhander on net. Fleury denies him.
12:12: The power play expires. The Penguins put a pretty poor effort into that. Can they just decline penalties at this point?
11:21: A Red Wing gets a shot on net. We'd tell you who, but NBC has to show some stupid sponsored graphic telling us who the Red Wings' leading scorer is instead of a replay. Fleury deflects the shot out of play.
9:42: The Red Wings have a chance to tie this game up as Crosby is called for high sticking.
8:47: Henrik Zetterberg fires a wrister from the slot. Fleury fights it off.
7:49: Orpik shoves Pavel Datsyuk to the ice as if he were pushing a 10-year-old kid.
7:10: Dallas Drake fires a quicks slapper on net. Fleury kicks it out with his right leg.
5:20: Drake races Scuderi for a puck behind the Penguins net. Scuderi plays it before Drake gets there. Drake stumbles a bit and falls face first into the boards. He drops his stick and skates to the bench a little dazed.
4:33: The smell of cruddy beer and menthol cigarettes is back. Kid Rock is in the house.
3:58: The Penguins appear to get away with another too many men on the ice. Tyler Kennedy plays a puck a bit early.
3:48: Datsyuk fires a shot from the left side. Scuderi blocks it with his foot.
2:49: The Wings come flying up ice on a two-on-one against Orpik. Filppula dishes it to Samuelsson. Samuelsson directs a shot on net and Fleury makes an amazing toe save with his left foot. Sergei Gonchar was trailing Samuelsson on the play and crashes head first into the boards.
2:39: Play is halted so trainer Chris Stewart can attend to Gonchar who is dazed behind the net. Gonchar gets to his feet and skates off the ice and into the locker room. Fans offer a polite applause. Penguins fans chant, "FLERR-EEEE!" FLERR-EEEE!"
1:21: Hal Gill blasts a one-time from the point. The puck rises and strike Ryan Malone right in the face. He drops and his gloves and stick go flying. Officials immediately halt play. Malone gets up and is helped to the bench by an official. That looked brutal. We hate to be the "told ya so" kind of folks, but if Malone is wearing a visor, some of that damage is probably prevented. Thankfully, no blood was visible.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Red Wings 1.
-The Penguins were lucky to escape the period stil in the lead. Detroit was slowly taking that period over. If not for Marc-Andre Fleury making some solid saves, the Red Wings have the lead.
-Detroit is out-shooting the Penguins 20-14. The Red Wing had 12 shots in the second period while the Penguins had seven.
-The Red Wings have 17 faceoffs wins while the Penguins have 15.
-Even after leaving the ice for the locker room, Gonchar still leads the Penguins in ice time with 16:54.
-Nicklas Lidstrom leads all skaters with 17:21.
-Henrik Zetterberg leads in shots with four.
-EN readers Jeff Cech and Donn Carpenter tell us blood could be seen on Malone's face. We can see so little from our vantage point.
-A few readers have informed us Mike Emrick has said Malone and Gonchar are expected back this period.
17:44: Datsyuk cuts across the slot and beats Fleury on the stick side. The shot hits the cross bar. And bouces out. The flame throwers go off and everyone in red cheers. Officials go to replay to confirm the non-goal. They wave it off. Fans boo but why? That's like booing someone for going for a swim and getting wet. The puck didn't go in.
16:36: Hal Gill blocks a shot by Samuelsson. He collects the puck and dishes it to Hossa on the left side. He streak up the wing and fires a shot that clanks off the post.
16:13: A Red Wing comes up ice on the left side. He tries to drag it to the inside but a Penguins player makes a fine play to dive and tip it away.
14:38: "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!" (clap, clap, clap, clap).
14:17: Samuelsson fires a quick wrister on the inside of Scuderi. Fleury robs him with a glove. Marc-Andre Fleury is the only readon the Penguins still have a lead.
13:39: Kennedy wraps up a Red Wing in the corner. Two minutes.
13:17: Zetterberg controls the puck on the right boards and fires a slap pass into the slot. Pavel Datsyuk is there in the slot uncontested and re-directs it into the net through Fleury's five hle for a beautiful goal. Red Wings fans erupt in a roaring applause. Penguins 2, Red Wings 2.
12:46: Osgood makes a save. We'd tell you more about it but fans are standing in front of us blocking our view and NBC again can't be bothered to show a replay. Fans chant "Ozzz-EEEE! Ozzzz-EEEE!"
11:40: The Penguins are getting really sloppy when they can least afford to be. Whitney throws a bad pass into the slot. A Red Wing scoops up the loose puck and directs it on net with a backhander. Fleury makes the save despite having a Red Wing in his crease. Michel Therrien calls a time out to get organized.
10:37: That may have done it. Brian Rafalski scores to put the Red Wings up by a goal. NBC again fails to deliver a decent replay. Orpik seemed to be in Fleury's lap which probably didn't help matters. Time to watch the Red Wings choke the life out of this game the rest of the way. Detroit fans begin chanting, "WE WANT THE CUP! WE WANT THE CUP!" Red Wings 3-2.
7:23: "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!" (clap, clap, clap, clap) "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!" (clap, clap, clap, clap)
5:50: The Penguins are being out-shot 12-2 this period.
5:35: We have the direct NBC feed here without commercials. They're warming up the clip of the Cup being pulled out of its case in the bowels of the arena.
4:58: Hossa cross the blue line and rips a shot. The officials call him offsides. Regardless, Osgood makes the save.
4:24: The Penguins are down by a goal with just over four minutes left in a game that could potentially decide the Stanley Cup champion. Why is Adam Hall out there?
3:34: Whitney throws a shot on net from the point that misses the mark.
2:22: "WE WANT THE CUP! WE WANT THE CUP!"
1:18: Fleury is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:56: Sydor fires a shot that gets re-directed wide of the net.
0:34: Oh dear Lord. The Penguins just tied this game up. They're not quitting. Crosby directs a puck around the boards. Hossa collects it and throws it on net from the corner. Osgood makes the save. Talbot bangs in the rebound from the side of the cage to keep the Penguins alive. Maxime Talbot = Clutch. Penguins 3, Red Wings 3.
0:03: A Red Wings blasts a slapper from the point> A Penguin flops down to get a piece of it.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Red Wings 3.
-Why do we have the feeling it's only a matter of time before the Red Wings get a goal here?
-We're still trying to wrap our mind around the fact that this game is tied. The Penguins were completely out-played that period. We should be seeing Gary Bettman awkwardly hand the Cup to Nicklas Lidstrom right now.
-Detroit has a 34-18 advantage in shots at the moment. They had 14 in the third period while the Penguins only had four.
-Faceoffs are 24-22 in favor of Detroit.
-It's probably not a good thing that Ryan Whitney is leading the Penguins in ice time with 24:21.
-Lidstrom leads all skaters with 25:56.
-Orpik leads the game with five blocked shots.
-Samuelsson leads the game with five shots.
17:28: Jiri Hudler spins and fires a shot from the right boards. Fleury makes a save despite traffic. Every shot from now on takes your breath away.
16:34: Darren Helm gets clipped by Dupuis in the offensive zone. Helm falls to the ice, gathers himself and limps to the bench. Dupuis could've been called for interference there at least.
15:43: Just a reminder, there are no commercial stoppages in overtime except for the intermissions between ovetime periods. So if you have to use the restroom, hold it.
15:04: Gill pops Filppula to the ice with a nice shoulder check.
14:53: Franzen shoots a shot in tight. Fleury fights it off.
13:53: Hudler comes down the left wing and fires a rising wrister.
13:29: Fleury is just made two saves. NBC can't offer a replay. Every one of Fleury's teammates owe him a beer regardless of how this game turns out. He's the only reason they're still playing
13:21: Holmstrom has a chance in deep and Fleury kicks it off. Fleury refuses to lose this game.
11:32: As Fleury makes another save the rebound kicks into the meshing stopping play.
10:39: Jarkko Ruutu brings the puck up ice. He drops it off in the slot for a teammate. That teammate takes a shot. Osgood has some trouble with it but eventually collects the rebound.
9:54: Fleury makes another save. We can't even tell who is shooting anymore for Detroit.
7:37: Ruutu directs a shot on net. Malkin is there to create a screen. He grabs the puck but can't quite get a shot on net.
7:09: Osgood collects a loose puck. Several nervous Red Wings fans breath a siigh of relief. Malkin rests on his knees in discompfort. Replays show him getting popped by a Red Wing. With a stoppage, attendants come out to clean the ice. Play is starting to get sloppy for both teams as some fatigue seems to be setting in.
6:54: Zetterberg blasts a slapper from inside the blueline. Fleury juuuust tips that away with his glove.
6:20: Staal and Kennedy come up ice with the puck. Staal dishes it to Kennedy. Kennedy can't quite control the puck and fails to get a shot away.
3:36: Zetterberg comes down the left side and throws a wrister on net. Fleury makes the easy save.
2:35: Pavely Datsyuk jumps on a loose puck inside the blueline. He drives to the net. Fleury manages to keep it out. Samuelsson has a chance to poke in the rebound but he shuffles into the crease. Zetterberg is called for interference. That's a odd call to be kind. The Penguins will take it either way.
0:35: The Red Wings kill off the penalty. The Penguind didn't mount much of an attack once again.
0:13: Someone wearing red directs shot towards the net. We don't even know who it is at this point. Chris Osgood the the only Detroit player without a shot.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Red Wings 3.
-We can't believe we're in Detroit, Mich. watching a Stanley Cup final game go to overtime.
-Detroit has 47 shots to the Penguins' 20.
-Every Red Wings player except Osgood has literally recorded a shot.
-We think Jimmy Carson has three at this point.
-Marc-Andre Fleury is playing out of his mind.
-What tells us someone at NBC's evil corporate layer is mad Jay Leno and all his lame jokes your grandparents would like are being delayed?
-We assume Gonchar has not returned and is done for the night. His minutes have not changed on the stat sheet after that period.
-Whitney leads the team in ice time with 33:15.
-Lidstrom leads the game with 34:36.
-Hossa and Talbot lead the Penguins with three shots.
-Samuelsson and Zetterberg lead the game with six.
17:53: Sykora trips and directs a shot just wide of the net. Don't expect a pretty goal to win this game.
16:50: Why does Jarkko Ruutu only have 7:05 of ice time? We know he's not a guy you
16:29: Dan Clearly drives to the net down the right side getting by Kennedy. He shoots a quick on on net. Fleury makes the save. Cleary knocks Fleury over.
16:19: Clearly is called for goaltenders interference. If the Penguins don't score here, they probably don't win this.
15:13: Whitney blasts a slapper on net from the point. Osgood fights it off despite traffic. "OZZZ-EEEE! OZZZ-EEEE!"
14:11: The Red Wings kill the penalty. Not that the Penguins' power play has been ripping it up in the first four games, but Gonchar's absence is killing them right now with the man advantage.
13:55: Helm fires a quick shot from the left side. Fleury kicks it out.
12:47: Ruutu clinks a knuckler off the far post. So close.
11:42: Zetterberg directs a shot on net from the left boards. Fleury shuffles it to the side.
11:15: Fleury makes another save. Gordie Howe shot it we think. A small scrum ensues.
10:38: A somewhat weary "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!" (clap, clap, clap, clap)
10:07: Fleury doesn't want to go home a loser tonight. Dan Cleary or Ted Lindsay (we can't tell at this point) gets a shot through traffic. Fleury holds it out.
8:41: Malkin shoots from the slot and the puck is blocked. He collects the rebound and slides another shot juuuust wide of the cage. Whatever is wrong with Malkin, it's not his heart. He's doing whatever he can to win this game.
7:12: Kennedy shoots from the left side. Osgood traps the puck and freezes play. As Bon Jovi's "Living On A Prayer" blares, crews clean the ice:
6:28: "Ozzzz-Eeeee! Ozzzz-Eeeee!"
5:48: Sykora falls in the slot and just lays there for a few moments. This has to be exhuausting for the players.
4:02: Talbot comes up ice and gets planted by Brad Stuart on a solid check. Osgood covers a loose puck. Even the sticks are getting tired at this point. As Zetterberg put his blade down for the faceoff, it snaps.
2:56: "WE WANT THE CUP! WE WANT THE CUP!"
2:16: Sykora is nabbed for hooking. That's a fatigue penalty. Replays show a puck bouncing off the top of the Penguins net.
0:54: Steve Duschene tees up a shot from the point. Fleury makes a save we think.
0:16: The Penguins come up with a huge penalty kill.
0:00: End of period. Dear Lord. Penguins 3, Red Wings 3.
-We don't know what to say about this. We can't describe what we're watching.
-Marc-Andre Fleury has made 51 saves so far. The team's playoff record is 70 by Ron Tugnutt in that five overtime thriller loss to the Flyers in 2000.
-This is now the third-longest playoff game in team history.
-We're really happy we took that nap at the hotel today.
-Detroit has a 54-28 advantage in shots.
-Faceoffs are 42-38 Detroit.
-Lidstrom has played a billion minutes (42:04 actually.)
-Ryan Whitney leads the Penguins with 44:51.
-There are quite a few empty seats here. We don't blame anyone for leaving though. At some point you have to live your life and place work, school, family, etc above being a fan.
19:27: Slava Fetisov fires a puck off the boards behind the net. It rebounds into the crease. A Red Wing slides the net off its moorings.
18:50ish: Sykora gets dumped on a nice check in the offensive zone.
18:30ish: Holmstrom puts a backhander off a post.
16:41: Dupuis throws a puck at the net. Osgood easilty gloves it.
16:28: Hossa fires a wrister at the top of the slot. Osgood kicks it out.
14:44: "WE WANT THE CUP! WE WANT THE CUP!"
13:45: Franzen has about as good of an opportunity we've seen since the clock struck midnight. He takes a pass in the right faceoff circle and fires a low wrister. Fleury eats it up.
12:43: Drake chops a slapper on net from the left point. Fleury fights it off with his glove hand.
11:13: Samuelsson puts a wrister from the slot just wide of the cage.
10:39: Hudler clips Scuderi in the face and draws blood. That's a four-minuter as Bob Errey would say. Gonchar returns to the ice. Gutsy showing by Gonchar.
10:03: Oh wow! They stay alive. Malkin controls the puck behind the net and dishes it to Sykora. Sykora controls it and rips a wrister that catches the crook of Osgood's arm and deflects into the the cage. Wow. We can't believe we just watched that. Insane. "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!" Petr Sykora = Clutch. End of game. Penguins 4, Red Wings 3.
-If you stayed up all night with us and kept reading or e-mail, thank you. You're all troopers. More postgame commentary after we maker our way downstairs and find a restroom. We've had to go for about four periods.
We still are having trouble trying to figure out what we just witnessed in person. We've seen countless playoff games go multiple overtimes on television before. But it's another thing to witness one in person. You see the players become fatigued. You see players become less willing to go into a corner to dig for a puck. You see goaltenders sink or swim. You see all the little things that make a mutlti-overtime game the one magical aspect of this sport the NHL can't screw up. If someone came up to us right now and suggested the NHL adopt shootouts for the postseason, we'd probably be in jail based on our response.
-If there were any doubts about the man remaining, they're totaly erased now. Marc-Andre Fleury played the game of his life. It's also possible the greatest game ever by Penguins goaltender. His defense was short a man and was struggling to keep up with the Red Wings potent attack. He didn't have a lot of help. But he refused to lose this game. He wanted to extend his season by one more game at least.
-Apparently Sykora called his shot. During one of the overtime intermissions, he told Pierre McGuire he would score the winning goal.
-No word yet on what injury Gonchar suffered. He showed a lot of guts coming back into the game.
-Sykora and Malkin each recorded their first point of the series on the winning goal.
-Ryan Whitney led the game with an insane 50:46 of ice time.
-When asked how he stayed energized into the later periods, Sykora explained he at some pizza. When pressed for who delivered it, Sykora said "Dominos" which was a bit of an insult (unintentional perhaps) to the Illich family which owns the Red Wings and Little Ceasar's pizza chain.
-EN roommate Derek Kassimer sent us a text message prior to the game calling for a 4-3 Penguins win. We said 3-1 Red Wings. No word yet if we have to pay double rent this month yet.