NHL Playoffs: Penguins 4, Red Wings 2
By Alan Robinson
PITTSBURGH ó Sergei Gonchar said it once, then repeated it again a few seconds later as he tried pumping some confidence into some discouraged teammates: It’s not over.
Thanks to Gonchar’s power-play goal midway through the third period that revived the Penguins after the Detroit Red Wings pressed for the go-ahead score, the Stanley Cup finals are far from over for Pittsburgh following a 4-2 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Game 4, which could have been an elimination game for Pittsburgh, will be Thursday night. Either the defending champion Red Wings can take a stranglehold 3-1 lead or the Penguins can make the finals a best-of-three after losing the first two in Detroit.
Gonchar’s slap shot from center point off Evgeni Malkin’s pass sailed past Chris Osgood as Bill Guerin and Sidney Crosby screened the goalie. The Penguins prevented the Red Wings from taking a 3-0 series lead that would have allowed them to clinch their fifth Stanley Cup since 1997 as early as Thursday.
Malkin assisted on the first three Penguins goals, giving him 33 points in 20 games, the most in the playoffs since Joe Sakic’s 34 for Stanley Cup champion Colorado in 1996.
Gonchar, and first-period scores by Max Talbot and Kris Letang, gave the Penguins hope again, just as they did by winning Game 3 by 3-2 on a pair of Crosby goals in last year’s finals. The Red Wings went on to win that one in six.
Talbot added an empty-net score in the final minute.
Detroit outshot the Penguins 26-11 following a furious first two periods.