Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Three Overtimes Not Enough For Detroit
There was still plenty of fight left in the Penguins, which may have come as a surprise to many. Game 5 was an endurance match, which didn't discern the young team from Pittsburgh. A 4-3 triple overtime win for the Penguins will send the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 6 on Wednesday night and pool will go on.
Midway through the third overtime period, it was Petr Sykora (Box 16) who scored on the power play to finally end the game. It was Sykora's sixth goal in the playoffs this Spring and it was his first game-winner. Sykora was taken four times in the pool, but doesn't feature in the top four teams vying for the money spots in these finals.
For Pittsburgh, there were three other players who notched a pair of points for the pool. Sidney Crosby (Box 13), Marian Hossa (Box 15) and Marc-Andre Fleury (Box 24) all posted a pair of points in the game and all three players were key in some way or fashion the pool and the top four. Crosby had a pair of assists in the game, while Hossa had a goal and an assist, while Fleury extended his point lead to 6 at 34 points with the win.
The Red Wings also had a couple multi-point players in the game themselves as well. Both Henrik Zetterberg (Box 1) and Brian Rafalski (Box 9) each had 2 points in the third period, including the go-ahead goal midway through the third, a lead the Wings couldn't hold on to. Zetterberg features on every team in the top four of the standings, while Rafalski does not. Pavel Datsyuk (Box 2), who also figures on every top four team, also had a goal, which pads each team's final number.
The Penguins had plenty of worry in the game, due to a couple players taking some knocks in the game, but both eventually came back. Sergei Gonchar (Box 20) suffered an upper-body injury after plummeting into the boards on a key defensive play, but finally managed to return to the bench to play on the power play when the winning goal was scored. Ryan Malone (Box 17) took a puck in the face, which opened him up around his nose and left a bloody mess, but he also returned to the game to make some key defensive plays in the third period.
For Detroit, Tomas Holmstrom (Box 3) returned to the line-up, but didn't figure into any of the scoring and was almost a ghost for the latter parts of the game. His missing contribution could have helped the team through their overtime power play and eventually win the game, but it wasn't to be.
Also missing from the game on Monday night was Kristopher Letang (Box 23), who was attending the funeral for Luc Bourdon. Letang was also a scratch on Saturday night and may not figure into Wednesday's game as well. Letang was taken seven times in the pool, but wasn't taken in the top four.
The lead is down to three points, thanks to the big win from Fleury. Benson is trying to fight off both Mike E. and John P. down this stretch and midway through the game, had fallen behind by a point to each. Angela's lead is now down to three, which could be taken down even further, if the Penguins can sneak one more win out of a home game on Wednesday or if Nicklas Lidstrom (Box 8) can figure into a goal bonanza for the Red Wings in a big way.