Not so fast: Penguins win in third OT
Petr Sykora scored the winner from the right dot on a power play at 9:57 in the third overtime.
Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates Marian Hossa's goal in front of Red Wings Chris Osgood and Henrik Zetterberg in the first period Monday night.
Sidney Crosby celebrates goal by Marian Hossa in the first period.
Penguins' Marian Hossa battles with Red Wings' Niklas Kronwall.
Penguins winger Adam Hall celebrates with teammates Maxime Talbot and Jarkko Ruutu after scoring his team's second goal Monday night.
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save in front of Red Wings Tomas Holmstrom.
Sidney Crosby moves the puck against Red Wings' Kris Draper in the first period.
Ryan Malone loses his gloves in between the Red Wings' Niklas Kronwall and Chris Osgood in the second period Monday night.
Ryan Malone is hit with a slapshot and leaves the game in the second period.
Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save in front of the Red Wings' Tomas Holmstrom.
Jordan Staal tries to get a shot on Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood.
Sidney Crosby has a scoring chance in the second period.
Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save against Red Wings Dan Cleary in the third period.
Penguins center Maxime Talbot reaches to shoot the tying goal against the Red Wings in the third period.
Evgeni Malkin and Maxime Talbot celebrate the tying goal against the Red Wings in the third period.
Penguins players celebrate their win in triple overtime against the Red Wings in game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit Monday night.
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DETROIT -- This game was supposed to be nothing more than a 60-minute formality.
The Penguins had been penciled in as props, a 20-man ensemble charged with offering just enough resistance to keep TV viewers and the Joe Louis Arena crowd interested until Detroit earned the opportunity to parade the Stanley Cup around their home rink.
Did anyone expect genuine suspense? Yeah, right. About as much as a typical North Korean election.
These Penguins apparently didn't understand their season was destined to end last night.
And it didn't.
They earned one of the most dramatic victories in franchise history by defeating Detroit, 4-3, in triple-overtime of Game 5 to slice the Red Wings' lead in the Cup final to 3-2. Game 6 will be at 8:08 p.m. tomorrow at Mellon Arena.
"It's a huge game," winger Petr Sykora said. "We just wanted to get this one and go back to Pittsburgh."
Sykora scored the winner at 9:57 of the third overtime -- the fifth-longest game in Cup final history -- when he threw a shot past Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood from the right dot.
"I hated to see Petr Sykora get that puck," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "You just know it's going in."
The goal was Sykora's sixth of the playoffs, but his first on the road.
The power play that led to his goal was made possible when Detroit forward Jiri Hudler smacked Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi in the face with his stick and received a double-minor.
- What: Game Six
- When: 8:08 p.m. Tomorrow
- Where: Mellon Arena
- TV: WPXI
- PG video: Pens fans don't stop believin'
"I was just praying for blood," Scuderi said.
Although Sykora ended the game, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is the primary reason the Penguins won it. On a night filled with heroic efforts by both teams -- like Ryan Malone who earlier took a puck in the face, throwing himself in front of a Detroit shot in the waning seconds of regulation -- his might have been the most spectacular.
He finished with 55 saves -- a number of them breathtaking -- and came through with one of the most clutch performances of his career in his most important game as a pro.
"He stole the show for us," Malone said.
The Penguins won despite losing defenseman Sergei Gonchar because of an unspecified injury he received late in the second period. Gonchar left the ice long before Max Talbot scored with 34.3 seconds left in regulation to put the game into overtime, although he was on the bench for the third overtime and assisted on Sykora's winner.
Talbot's goal was a season-saver for the Penguins and was the payoff for coach Michel Therrien's decision to use him as the extra skater in a late-game situation for the first time this season.
"He had a feeling, and he went with it," Talbot said. "I was at the right place at the right moment, and the puck was in the back of the net."
The game started well for the Penguins, as Marian Hossa staked them to a 1-0 lead for the second game in a row, beating Osgood from inside the right circle at 8:37 for the Penguins' first goal in 128 minutes, 37 seconds of play in Detroit.
Sidney Crosby got the primary assist after throwing a pass to Hossa, but Pascal Dupuis made the goal possible by outworking Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski for the puck in the right corner and tossing it to Crosby, whose point was his 25th of the postseason.
Adam Hall made it 2-0 at 14:41 as he bounced off a hit by Detroit's Johan Franzen in the left corner and went toward the net with the puck.
Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall ended up with it, but when he tried to clear the puck, it struck Hall's left skate and sailed past Osgood for Hall's third of the playoffs and second in the past three games.
Red Wings center Darren Helm made it 2-1 at 2:54 of the second, when his shot from near the outer edge of the left circle caromed off Scuderi and skidded between Fleury's legs.
Pavel Datsyuk tied the score on a power-play at 6:43, when he deflected a Henrik Zetterberg shot between Fleury's legs, and Rafalski put Detroit in front, 3-2, by scoring from inside the right circle at 9:23.
That figured to be the series-winner until, with 34.3 seconds left, Talbot jammed a shot inside the right post to force overtime. After 49 minutes and 57 seconds of extra hockey, Sykora made Game 6 a reality.
And the Penguins returned home with an improbable victory. And, more important, legitimate hope.
"We got a big win, but we have to go back home," Talbot said. "There's still a lot of work to do."
First Published June 3, 2008 1:07 am