DETROIT - Talk about beating the odds!
The Pittsburgh Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup at Joe Louis Arena, their own personal house of horrors, Friday night, beating the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in Game 7 to capture the title after trailing in the series 3-2.
The Penguins has lost identical 3-1 decisions in Games 1 and 2 in Detroit and were blown out, 5-0, in Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena as goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was sent to the bench. But despite all that collective bad karma, Fleury and the Penguins played like champions in their most important game of the season Friday night.
|Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save during Friday's victory in Detroit. |
Max Talbot scored twice in the second period and Fleury stopped 22 shots overall, while the Penguins also overcame an injury to Sidney Crosby to give the Penguins their first Stanley Cup since Mario Lemieux led Pittsburgh to back-to-back championships in 1991 and '92.
The Penguins become just the third team in NHL history to win Game 7 on the road, improving the visitor's all-time record to 12-3.
For the Red Wings, the loss was a bitter disappointment coming after having a chance to win the Cup in both Games 6 and 7. Pittsburgh's win in Detroit mirrors the Red Wings' win in Pittsburgh in 2008.
Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe Trophy.
For the first time in the series, the Wings were unable to get sustained pressure on Fleury for the majority of the game as the Penguins did an excellent job keeping the shooting lanes clear for Fleury to see the puck and then getting any rebounds out of danger.
|Max Talbot scored both of Pittsburgh's goals on Friday. |
Detroit finally broke through at 13:53 when defenseman Jonathan Ericsson beat Fleury over his glove hand with a short from the right point off a pass from Nicklas Lidstrom.
The Wings were relentless after the Ericsson goal and nearly tied it with 2:13 left when Niklas Kronwall rang a shot off the crossbar. But the Wings just ran out of time.
Crosby, injured in the second, sat out the first half of the third period before taking a short shift of 32 second before returning to the end of the bench. But with his first Stanley Cup, Crosby wasn't feeling anything but euphoria by the game's end.