NHL: Penguins force game 7 with Red Wings
By Alan Robinson
PITTSBURGH ó The Penguins wouldn’t let Detroit celebrate with the Stanley Cup, not again. Not in this Game 6 in their arena. Not without going the distance in a finals where home ice means everything and momentum means nothing.
Third-line teammates Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy gave the Penguins a two-goal lead, and Marc-Andre Fleury held off the defending champion Red Wings repeatedly during a frantic third period as Pittsburgh beat Detroit 2-1 on Tuesday to tie the unpredictable series at three games.Game 7 is Friday in Joe Louis Arena, where Detroit is 3-0.
“That’s a big as it gets,” Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “You get a chance to play for the Cup and it’s Game 7.”
Fleury, yanked during Detroit’s 5-0 blowout in Game 5 after giving up four goals in the second period, regrouped to make 25 saves and hold off the Red Wings, who went winless in Pittsburgh as they go for their fifth Stanley Cup since 1997.
“I thought the best thing coach (Dan Bylsma) said to us after that was, ‘It’s the same as last game. We still need two wins to win the Stanley Cup,’ ” defenseman Rob Scuderi said. “That calmed the room down. Instead of thinking, ‘We’re down, we’re down, we’re down,’ you’re thinking, ‘OK, two more wins.’ ”
Now, it’s down to one ó for both teams.
The Red Wings won the Cup by taking Game 6 in Pittsburgh 3-2 last year but were denied a second successive clincher there on the 25th anniversary of one of the biggest days in Penguins’ history: the drafting of Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux in 1984.
No silver trophy, not on this silver anniversary. Mostly because Fleury, so bad in Game 5, couldn’t have been much better as the Penguins won for the first time in the playoffs without a point from stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“He was unbelievable for us,” Crosby said.
Staal, whose key short-handed goal carried the Penguins to a 4-2 victory in Game 4, skated in on a 2-on-1 break started by Kennedy. Staal’s initial shot deflected off goalie Chris Osgood’s chest, but Staal gathered the rebound near the right post and pushed it in only 51 seconds into the second.
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