Trailing 1-0 late in the second period, Zetterberg had a tremendous chance to erase the deficit when he got off a quick wrist shot from between the circles. The puck zipped past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, only to hit the far post.
Tyler Kennedy scored 5:35 into the third period, and the Wings were unable to overcome the two-goal deficit in a 2-1 loss at Mellon Arena on Tuesday night. The teams will play a decisive Game 7 on Friday back at Joe Louis Arena.
"In this series, it will all even out," said Zetterberg, last year's playoff MVP and a legitimate candidate to win the award again this time around. "Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't. I had a few that was close. Unfortunately, we couldn't get it done. We've just got to go home and regroup for Game 7 at The Joe. I don't think we can ask more than for Game 7 at home."
The Wings certainly could have asked for a better start to Game 6, as they were outshot by the Pens 12-3 in the opening period. But Chris Osgood closed the door and allowed Detroit to find its legs, only to see Jordan Staal give the Pens a 1-0 lead just 51 seconds into the second period.
"I think they came out with a lot of energy and a lot of speed," Zetterberg said. "They spent some time in our end, but I think we kept them to the outside. We didn't have that many shots in the first, but I think we created some chances."
Zetterberg's best chance came with roughly two minutes left in the second on his shot that struck iron. While it would have been huge to tie the game at that point, Wings coach Mike Babcock pointed to the rough start that ultimately cost Detroit its first crack at repeating as Stanley Cup champs. Crack No. 2 comes Friday.
"Those things happen," Babcock said of Zetterberg's shot. "I thought they were better than us, though, at the start of the game -- probably for the first almost 32 minutes. They won more races and more battles. I thought we started to build some momentum at the end of the second period, and then obviously we had a good third period."
Indeed they did, although the Wings really didn't get things going until after Kennedy made it 2-0. Veteran forward Kris Draper cut the deficit in half when he fired a rebound past Fleury at 8:01. Then, with roughly two minutes to go, Pavel Datsyuk sent a gorgeous pass to Daniel Cleary that sent him in on a breakaway. Cleary faked a forehand shot and went to the backhand, only to see it denied by Fleury's left pad.
"I think we had enough desperation … we want to win this badly," Zetterberg said. "They were battling for the win as well. Both teams were fighting good. They found a way to score one more goal than us. We had our chances."
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