Times Colonist

Fleury saves day for Penguins

- DAVE WADDELL

DETROIT — In a game that had a series worth of excitement, Petr Sykora scored a powerplay goal at 9:57 of the third overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win last night at Joe Louis Arena.

The win sends the series back to Pittsburgh for tomorrow’s Game 6 with the Penguins now trailing 3-2.

The Wings outshot the Penguins 21-10 through the first two overtimes, but Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury kept his club afloat with some acrobatic work.

“He was outstandin­g tonight,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said of his goaltender after the game. “He was outstandin­g in overtime, and both goalies obviously played really well. But no doubt [for] Fleury, [it was] probably his most important win in his career.”

After failing to convert on their first two power plays in the extra session, Sykora finally got his first of the series with a wicked wrist shot. At 109 minutes and 57 seconds, it was the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup final history.

The goal capped a wild night that saw the Wings fall behind 2-0 after a period only to mount a furious third-period rally to take a 3-2 lead on Brian Rafalski’s goal at 9:33.

The Stanley Cup was out of its case and waiting for the Wings to carry it on a victory lap until Maxime Talbot scored at 19:25 with Fleury on the bench for the extra attacker.

Talbot’s third goal of the playoffs was only the Penguins’ fourth shot of the third period.

Therrien said he had a feeling something good would happen if he put Talbot on as the extra attacker.

“Coaches get feelings sometimes,” he said “It’s rare. . . . It doesn’t work all the time, but I love Talbot’s game.

“He was on the puck. He’s got a lot of energy and he was always around the net.”

With the late third-period lead and all the chance in overtime, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock felt the game slipped away from his team.

“I thought we had every opportunit­y to win the game, obviously. . . . In the end, they scored, and we never scored on our chances in overtime,” he said. “So that’s the game.”

For virtually all of the third period, the Wings swarmed the Pittsburgh net firing 14 shots at Fleury. Trailing 2-1 heading into the final stanza, the Wings got even at 6:43 on Pavel Datsyuk’s power-play tip-in off a Henrik Zetterberg slap pass. It was Datsyuk’s first goal of the final.

Three minutes later, Rafalski looked like he’d scored the Cup-winning goal off Johan Franzen’s feed.

However, Talbot’s tally postponed the celebratio­ns on a night when nothing seemed to come easily for Detroit.

The Wings played the first period like a team that thought it had already won the Cup.

The Penguins got comfortabl­e when Marian Hossa scored at 7:37.

Pascal Dupuis bumped Rafalski off the puck in the right corner and centred to Hossa in the slot for the quick release to goalie Chris Osgood’s stick side.

The Wings then became disjointed for the rest of the period.

Nicklas Kronwall’s clearance banked off Pittsburgh forward Adam Hall’s foot and past Osgood at 14:41.

The Penguins had two great opportunit­ies to really bury the Wings in the opening two minutes of the second period.

First, Osgood stopped a Talbot blast then he outwaited Sidney Crosby on a partial breakaway. Less than a minute later, Darren Helm reignited the Wings when his shot from along the left boards clipped Penguins defenceman Rob Scuderi’s skate and deflected past Fleury at 2:54.

 ??  ?? Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stretches to make a save as defenceman Brooks Orpik holds back Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom during the second period of Game 5 in Detroit last night.
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stretches to make a save as defenceman Brooks Orpik holds back Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom during the second period of Game 5 in Detroit last night.

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