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Notes: Bylsma confident Pens will refocus

Sunday, 06.07.2009 / 4:34 PM / 2009 Stanley Cup Final: Detroit vs. Pittsburgh

By Larry Wigge - NHL.com Columnist

PITTSBURGH -- A 5-0 score against you. Two days off now. Facing an elimination game. And not knowing what to expect. Do you coach more? Or less?

Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said he'll basically throw out the tape of Game 5 and work on re-emphasizing the strengths of his team for Game 6 on Tuesday night, getting back to the basic fundamentals and work ethic that got the Penguins this far.

But there are still things that can be done.

"I think there are situations where you may coach less to an individual player and there are players maybe that you need to coach more," Bylsma said. "But there won't be a big change. I think change is a sign of an alarm bell."

Meaning there's no panic from Pittsburgh, which faced two elimination games against Washington earlier in the playoffs and won the series in seven.

"You set up the way you do things so that in situations like this we can act like we normally act," Bylsma said. "We can do the things that we normally do. It's just a matter of fact that we lost Game 5. I think getting refocused on the game is something that we will do well, because we've done this for the last, you know, two months now about dealing with losses, dealing with adversity."

It's not much different than coming back from 0-2 in the Cup Final -- although there is a sense of urgency with elimination at stake if the Penguins don't win.

No secret weapon: No one could possibly say that Pavel Datsyuk was a secret weapon in his return to the lineup in a 5-0 victory for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night. But there are still some secrets, right Pav?

"It was a little hard to start with the Final series," Datsyuk said of his 17-day layoff. "But I was ready to play more, especially with Hank (Henrik Zetterberg). I had lots of confidence and felt better and better."

How good? And did he have to have his foot frozen before he could play?

"I don't have percentage," Datsyuk said with a sly grin, before talking the frozen foot theory. "Frozen? I don't know. I'm thinking it's a secret. Yeah, try to keep it a secret."

Frozen in time? Or was it just a foot frozen to make sure that Datsyuk would not aggravate an injury that caused him to miss seven playoff games before he returned in Game 5 to play 17 minutes, 38 seconds and contribute two assists, two shots, four hits, and three takeaways?

Regardless, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma admitted Datsyuk's appearance threw a little curveball at his team.

"The one thing that was clearly evident in that game is his line got to the offensive zone more with the puck and had more offensive zone time," Bylsma said. "His ability to hold on to the puck and also use his linemates and use his defense in the offensive zone created more zone time. It created more pucks in and around our goalie and made us play defense a little bit more.

"He's an elite player. That's what he does. They're fortunate to be getting him back here in whatever capacity he was. He was certainly a big factor in the game. We're going to have to almost take a more defensive stance against him when he's out there than Zetterberg checking (Sidney) Crosby the way it seemed to be playing out in the first little bit of the series."

Old schooled:
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock bristled at the suggestion his team was showing signs of age against the younger Penguins after it lost two in a row at Pittsburgh.

"I keep hearing about how old we are," Babcock said. "But when I watch Fil (Valtteri Filppula) play, he doesn't look like he's that old, and Datsyuk and Zetterberg are not that old and (Marian) Hossa's not that old and Mule (Johan Franzen) is not so old, so who is old?

"Cheli (Chris Chelios) is older than me, I give you that.

"But I guess the way I look at it is, I hear this all the time," Babcock added. "I think if you go through and take out a few guys, I don't think we're that old."

Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Final GearBesides Chelios being 47, Nicklas Lidstrom is 39, Kris Draper is 38, Chris Osgood and Kirk Maltby are 36 and Brian Rafalski is 35. But the guys playing the big minutes up front are not that old.

Just experienced at winning.

And they all got to rest: With two full days off before Game 6 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, the fact that both teams have had to play five games in eight days can be no excuse to anyone.

Said Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, pulled from Game 5, "I think it's going to be good to just relax a little bit, refocus and forget about that one and be back home."

Fleury was lit up for five goals on 21 shots before departing after Henrik Zetterberg's goal at 15:40 of the second period.

Sticking to it:
Captain Nicklas Lidstrom said the Red Wings stuck to their game plan for 60 minutes on Saturday.

"We were getting the puck deep when we had to. We had a lot better puck movement, we had players in motion as well -- and doing that, I thought we had more openings," Lidstrom said. "We got some of the shots through and got some of the rebounds, too."

All Pen-ned up:
Where did a 5-0 decision come from after four relatively competitive games in the Stanley Cup final?

"This was kind of out of left field," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. "We've got a game to win at home now."

A big part of what happened was Pittsburgh lost its cool -- the Pens had 48 penalty minutes to the Red Wings' 14, leading to three Detroit power-play goals, all in the second period.

Actually, you could say the power of the Pens was reversed. The Penguins came into Game 5 with their power play clicking at a 4-for-9 rate. Meanwhile, the Red Wings were just 1-for-10. But in one period all that changed.

Niklas Kronwall, Brian Rafalski and Henrik Zetterberg all scored power-play goals in that powerful period. That tied the record for the most power-play goals in one period of a Cup Final. It has been done five other times, most recently by the Colorado Avalanche against the Florida Panthers in 1996.

"In our previous games, when they shot it on the power play, they were getting it back. We were one and done," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Tonight we showed that we weren't one and done."

The wizard of Oz speaks: Chris Osgood made 22 saves in the 5-0 victory, his 15th career postseason shutout.

That total moved Ozzie past former teammate Dominik Hasek and Jacques Plante into fourth place all-time. Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy are tied for first with 23 each. Former Red Wing Curtis Joseph is third with 16.

The shutout was the third of Osgood's career in the Final, tying Brodeur for the most among active goaltenders.

"I think he's proven himself to be a goalie you can count on and you can win with," Red Wings winger Dan Cleary said. "He's a real gamer, real competitive.

"It's not easy being a goalie in Detroit -- and yet he has that demeanor about him in his ability to handle the pressure. He's delivered for us last year, and he's right back at it again this year."

Home cooking:
The Red Wings have won eight-straight home playoff games to raise their postseason record at Joe Louis Arena to 11-1. That is one short of the NHL record for home wins in one playoff year, set by New Jersey in 2003. Detroit's lone home loss was in triple-overtime to Anaheim in Game 2 of the second round.

Spreading the wealth: When Dan Cleary scored the first goal and it stood up as the game-winner Saturday night, he became the seventh different Wing to score a game-winning goal in the Final over the last two years.

Last year, Mikael Samuelsson, Brad Stuart, Jiri Hudler and Henrik Zetterberg got the winners. This year, Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula got winners before Cleary.

Sid doesn't dig Motown: History suggests the Red Wings will hoist the Cup again, as 14 of the 19 previous teams to win Game 5 in a series tied 2-2 have prevailed.

Pittsburgh won Game 5 in the Motor City last year in triple overtime to force the series to six games, but then was eliminated at home. The Penguins are 1-5 in Detroit in the past two Finals, and captain Sidney Crosby failed to score a goal in all six games.

A hit back in Detroit: It was previously chronicled how the big edge in hits the Red Wings had in Detroit to start the Final was reversed in Pittsburgh, particularly in Game 3.

Well, the Wings recaptured the hit parade in Game 5, with a 42-35 edge. Darren Helm ran his playoff leading total to 117 hits with seven in the 5-0 win. But the hits leader was Marian Hossa with eight.

Despite not having a goal in the Final, the former Penguin is still producing for the Wings.

Said Dan Cleary, "I think the whole idea of repeating, the expectations we have on ourselves leading up to training camp, it's hard to win it. It's even harder to get back and win it again the in next year. But with the addition of Hossa, it's really been a driving force for us."

Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery