PITTSBURGH -- At least if Marian Hossa wins his first Stanley Cup this year, he won't have to worry about feeling awkward in front of what would have been a hostile crowd at Mellon Arena.
The Detroit Red Wings forward -- who left Pittsburgh to sign a one-year deal in Motown last summer -- will receive one more chance to hoist Lord Stanley in 2009 when his team hosts Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
The Wings had a chance to close out this best-of-seven series on Tuesday, but came up short in a 2-1 loss to the Penguins at Mellon Arena. Once again, Hossa was held off the score sheet. He has yet to record a goal against his former team in this series.
Now, incredibly, Hossa and the Wings must beat the Pens in a Game 7 to determine the Stanley Cup champion. It's a scenario not many envisioned prior to the start of the regular season -- and certainly not when the Penguins were two games above the .500 mark in mid-February and fired coach Michel Therrien.
"Who would?" Hossa said when asked if he ever thought it would come down to this. "Would you? I don't think many people, but the situation is right now how it is. I have to deal with it and we have to make sure we give it 100 percent and be good at home."
Hossa's certainly hoping to make more of a contribution on Friday, and more than he has in this series. He has just three assists through the first six games, and just three shots in the last two.
"It's definitely frustrating," said Hossa, who had just one shot on goal in 18:27 of ice time. "We didn't play bad, but they scored two goals and we scored one. We didn't create lots of clean chances."
Despite the frustration, though, Hossa hopes his decision to bolt the Pens for the Wings last summer will be validated when the final horn sounds on Friday.
"We believe in ourselves," Hossa said. "It's our last game of the season, and we have to make sure we give it everything."
Contact Brian Compton at: firstname.lastname@example.org.