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DESPERATE PENGUINS.....Pittsburgh 2, RED WINGS 1,  6/9/09
Posted on: 06-09-2009

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>>caption:  PENS (R), NOT OZ (L)


    The Penguins lost the Stanley
Cup to the Red Wings on home ice
in game six last year.
    They were not about to let history repeat itself.
    The Pens took a 2-0 lead, then hung on for a 2-1 victory Tuesday to force
a deciding game seven at Detroit on Friday night.  
    The Penguins skated harder, had more hits, more blocked shots and had
a little bit of luck too in a game where both netminders played great.
    The scoreless 1st-Per had a furious pace with the Penguins out-shooting
the Red Wings 12-3 in part due to two Detroit penalties. The first was called
on Henrik Zetterberg for goaltender interference even though Zetterberg was
shoved into Pens netminder Marc-Andre Fleury by Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal.
The second was whistled against Valtteri Filppula for tripping although Penguin
Bill Guerin jumped into Filppula before going down. Wings goaler Chris Osgood
was great in close on a half dozen power play shots. Fleury robbed Zetterberg
twice on Detroit's three SOG.
    The Penguins came out strong to start the 2nd-Per too and Staal (#4) came
hard on a right wing rush to pot his own rebound 51-sec into the middle frame.
Staal's initial shot caromed off Osgood's mask before he pounced on the rebound.
Staal almost scored again 7-mins in to the period when Pavel Datsyuk turned the
puck over deep in his own end and Osgood made a kick save on Staal.
    The pace remained intense and gradually the Wings began to get some chances.
With 1:58 remaining in the 2nd-Per Zetterberg worked around Pens DEF Hal Gill and
wristed a shot off the far left post which almost deadlocked the contest. Twice with
a half-minute remaining Osgood robbed Evgeni Malkin. Pittsburgh out-shot Detroit
12-9 with the Wings getting most of their SOG in the final 8-mins of the 2nd-Per.
    Detroit had some pressure at the start of the 3rd-Per, but it was Pittsburgh
who scored again and once again it was a player who tapped in his own rebound.
Tyler Kennedy (#5) came out from behind the net and swept the puck at Osgood,
then jabbed at the rebound to squirt it past Ozzie on the far side for a 2-0 margin
at 5:35/3.
    Less than two and a half minutes later Detroit finally scored to make it 2-1
when Kris Draper (#1) delivered a solid shift. Draper started the play from the right
corner and then finished it when he scooped a Jonathan Ericsson rebound and
quickly went backhand to forehand to shoot from just inside the left circle at 8:01/3.
    From there on it was almost all Detroit, thanks in part to Detroit's only two power
plays of the game, but the Wings could not get the equalizer to force overtime. Detroit's
best chance came when Datsyuk head-manned the puck to Dan Cleary for a solo rush.
Trailing on the play, Pittsburgh DEF Brooks Orpik repeatedly stick-poked Cleary in an
attempt to disrupt rhythm. Cleary was undaunted, went to his backhand, but was robbed
by Fleury's outstretched glove at the lower right corner with 1:42 to play.
    Detroit pulled Osgood for an extra attacker with just over a minute on the clock.
The Wings continued to buzz and a goalmouth rugby scrum failed to produce a poke-in
because Pitt DEF Rob Scuderi made a pair of leg saves before Fleury smothered the puck.
Detroit won the ensuing faceoff with 13.2-sec left in regulation, but the Pens then cleared
the zone and preserved the decision.   
    Detroit out-shot Pittsburgh 14-7 in the 3rd-Per to make Pittsburgh's 31-26 SOG edge
in the game look less lopsided.


R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK:   "I thought they were better than us at the
start of the game, probably for the first almost 32 minutes. They won more races
and more battles, had more play, were on top of us more, and they kept us to the
outside...I thought we started to build some momentum at the end of the second
period, and then obviously we had a good third period...(Osgood) was real good
early. he had to be...Both goaltenders gave their team a chance."

R-WING GOALIE CHRIS OSGOOD:   "They played real well tonight. They played better
...They took it to us pretty good for two periods. I was just trying to give us a
chance at the end, trying to keep it as close as I could for as long as I could, hoping
the tide would turn. I did a bit at t he end, but not enough...They dumped pucks,
put us on our heels. We couldn't generate offensively, just couldn't get to the net
...When it's 0-0 and you're kind of on your heels for 25 minutes you can't be giving
up two-on-one's."

R-WINGS FWD HENRIK ZETTERBERG:   "We had enough desperation, we wanted to
win this badly. We can't forget we're playing a good team, too...We've been solid at
home. We just have to go back and play well."

R-WINGS DEF/CAPT NICKLAS LIDSTROM:   ""(Osgood) played well throughout the
whole game. We need Ozzie to play the way he did. We know he's going to respond
the same in Game 7...That's something we've been fighting for all year, to gain that
home-ice advantage. Now you want to take advantage of it.'

R-WINGS CEN DARREN HELM:   "They played harder and better than us for the first
two (periods). They got some big goals...They came at us hard...We had chances.
It took us until the third period to get going...(Fleury) made big stops (in the 3rd-Per)."

R-WINGS Rt-WING MIKAEL SAMUELSSON:   "It was nothing that we didn't expect (at
the hot start of the contest)...They're good hockey players...We had our chances
...Both goalies played great...They blocked a lotta shots (on defense)...We feel
confident (for game seven)."

R-WINGS DEF NIKLAS KRONWALL:   "They kept it very simple. They took the red line
and dumped it in. And then they went really hard forechecking. We weren't able to
get the puck out as quick as we were able to a lot of times. They got a lot of shots,
maybe not that many scoring chances, but a lot of grind time in our zone."

PENS CEN TYLER KENNEDY:   "It helped us out a little bit, getting that two-goal lead.
You have to build as big a lead as you can on those guys because they have a lot of
offensive players and are a good team...Offense starts in the defensive zone, and I
thought we played well in the defensive zone tonight. We're trying to keep the puck
out of our end and keep it in their end."

PENS GOALIE MARC-ANDRE FLEURY:   "Great job in front of me (by his teammates).
A lotta blocked shots...We're still alive for game seven....I think we gotta live it to
learn what it's like."

PENS CEN/CAPT SIDNEY CROSBY:   ""Both teams were patient, but also worked hard
and battled for their opportunities...(Fleury) was unbelievable for us...now we've got
an amazing opportunity."

PENS DEF HAL GILL:   "We won the battles, getting the stick on the puck, all the little
things. That makes the game a little easier. You don't think about the big things. You
take the little things and go step by step."

PENS DEF ROB SCUDERI:   "They're all very talented players (on Detroit)...Just try
and take away time and space to keep them from getting started."

PENS H-COACH DAN BYLSMA:   "I think I juggled the lines a fair amount a number of
times (depending on situations)...(Fleury is) a guy who's come up big in a lotta big
games...There were two (early) stops on Zetterberg that were big...(Kennedy) made
a goal out of nothing."


    Pittsburgh's Petr Sykora played for the first time since May 4th and had two key
blocked shots on the backcheck.
    Tuesday was the 25th anniversary of the date Pittsburgh drafted HoFamer
Mario Lemieux, now the team's part owner.
    Detroit fell to 4-6 in the road in the 2009 playoffs, but have out-scored Pittsburgh
11-2 at The Joe.
    This year is the first time since New Jersey defeated Anaheim in 2003 all the Finals
games have been won at home. That year, (Detroit coach) Mike Babcock was the Ducks'
coach and (Pittsburgh coach) Dan Bylsma was one of his players.
    Only two times in NHL Finals history has a team trailing 3-2 come back to win the
Stanley Cup with a game six win at home and a game seven victory on the road. Those
two clubs were Detroit in 1950 and Montreal in 1971.    
    Home teams are 12-2 all-time in Game 7 Stanley Cup Finals.


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