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One win away

Sunday, 06.07.2009 / 12:26 PM / 2009 Stanley Cup Final: Detroit vs. Pittsburgh

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

Three words, 10 letters, five vowels and five consonants. But "one win away" takes on two different meanings for the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Wings are one win away from another Stanley Cup Championship and with that victory, another word will be attached -- dynasty. Yes, dynasty, which I have avoided using in the past, but now that word can come into play.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking at the words "one win away" in a different light. One win puts them in a Game 7, winner take all, where anything can happen and usually does. That is their motivation right now, get to Game 7. They also know another victory by Detroit makes them consecutive losers in the Stanley Cup Final. Yes, they are still a young and upcoming team, but that tag will be one they will have to carry with them until they raise the Stanley Cup themselves.

Is that enough of a motivation for the Penguins? That question will not be answered until Game 6 is complete. You can look back at Game 5 and say the series is over, but weren’t we counting out the Red Wings after their loss in Game 4?

Each game both teams start 0-0 and everything is forgotten about the previous games.  I expect the Penguins to come out hard and it will be up to Wings goaltender Chris Osgood to hold down the fort, just like he did in the first seven minutes of Game 5. Goaltending will be the key to Game 6 and neither goalie can afford to let in a goal that should have been stopped.

The return of Pavel Datsyuk also gives the Penguins something to think about. The distinct advantage the Penguins experienced on home ice may be a thing of the past since the addition of Datsyuk gives the Wings more flexibility in matching up with the Penguins.  Datsyuk also gives the Wings a more offensive threat, something the Penguins must now be aware of.

I expect a low scoring Game 6 and the game will not be decided until the third period, something we have not seen in the last two games. Both games were basically won in the second period, but both teams have learned from their past mistakes and will be playing a much tougher defensive game.

Looking ahead, all I can tell you is this, the Detroit Red Wings know what it takes to win a clinching game for the Stanley Cup.  The Pittsburgh Penguins know what it feels like to lose in the Stanley Cup Final and do not want to have that feeling again. Who wants it more just may decide if we will be witnessing a Game 7. 

Game 6 is one that will provide us with thrills, excitement and is a must watch for any sports fan. Who wins? You tell me,  leave a comment below or email me at pk@kuklaskorner.com.

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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure