Pittsburg ‘steels’ Stanley
Penguins rob Cleary, Wings of second straight cup
After a year together, Dan and Stan are breaking up. The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame history and an injury to captain Sidney Crosby Friday night, June 12 to defeat Dan Cleary and the defending National Hockey League champion Detroit Red Wings 2-1 and take the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final 43.
Back in Harbour Grace, at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, where they had witnessed history a year earlier, a smaller crowd of about 60 local die-hard Cleary/Wings fans watched the drama unfold on a big screen TV. The moment they had been waiting for to bring them to their feet and give them something to cheer about came with only six minutes left in the third period, when defenceman Jonathan Ericcson finally put the Wings on the scoreboard and within one goal of tying the game.
But despite their obvious disappointment, local fans demonstrated good sportsmanship, applauding the Pittsburg Penguins and congratulating their captain Sidney Crosby, on their well-earned victory over their favourite team.
Max Talbot scored both goals for the Penguins, who became the first NHL, NBA or Major League Baseball team in 30 years to win a championship Game 7 on the road. The last happened to be another bunch from Pittsburgh, the 1979 World Series-winning, ‘We Are Family’ Pirates.
Talbot, who last week had been lightheartedly chided by linemate Evgeni Malkin for not having much of a scoring touch, got his seventh and eighth goals of the playoffs early and midway through the middle period. The second tally came just after what looked to be a turning point in favour of the Wings when Crosby limped off the ice after appearing to have injured his left leg on a hit by Johan Franzen. There was no penalty on the play.
Crosby returned to the Penguins’ bench to start the third period and played a single, brief shift halfway through the frame after lobbying head coach Dan Bylsma. But from then on, he was forced to watch as Detroit defenceman Jonathan Ericsson scored with six minutes left in the third period. Wings” Niklas Kronwall rang a shot off the crossbar with 120 seconds remaining. The Wings, including Cleary, pressed for a tying goal, with netminder Chris Osgood out for an extra attacker as time ran out for the defending cup holders.
It took a miraculous save by Marc-Andre Fleury - literally in the last second - on the Wings’ Nick Lidstrom, but Pittsburgh hung on, allowing Crosby to do his post-game duty and become the youngest-ever captain to hoist the Stanley Cup, after accepting it from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman as the mostly-despondent crowd at Joe Louis Arena looked on.
The situation was completely opposite from last spring, when the Wings took the Stanley Cup by winning Game 6 in Pitts---