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Gonchar returns just in time to help Penguins win @NHLdotcom

DETROIT (AP) -Sergei Gonchar badly wanted to help his teammates.

But the Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman couldn't do much after flying headfirst into the end boards while chasing an odd-man Red Wings break in the second period. The veteran was helped up by trainers and taken to the locker room.

He tried to make a go of it in the third period, but didn't feel right and wasn't able to participate in either of the first two overtimes.

But with Pittsburgh presented with a 4-minute power play midway through the third overtime, coach Michel Therrien put Gonchar in, and he assisted on Petr Sykora's goal 9:57 into the third overtime that gave the Penguins a 4-3 victory in Game 5 and kept the series alive.

"Obviously, the game was still on. I want to help the guys," Gonchar said. "Start feeling better at the end of the second overtime. ... I knew we were going to come back. We had the power play, and we scored."

As for whether he intends to join his teammates on the ice for Game 6 in Pittsburgh, Gonchar's response: "Yes, I think so."

Another Penguins player, left wing Ryan Malone, also headed to the locker room prematurely in the second period. He was struck in the face by Hal Gill's slap shot.

Malone rushed off the ice with blood dripping into a towel, having broken his nose for a fourth time.

He was back out there in the third period and beyond.


TIGER ZINGS HOCKEY: Don't count Tiger Woods among those glued to their TVs during the Stanley Cup finals.

The world's top golfer appeared via teleconference on Monday, promoting August's PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in suburban Detroit.

Woods was asked if he was rooting for Detroit or Pittsburgh.

Woods started to laugh, then landed a zinger.

"I don't really care. Let's talk about the Dodgers," the California native said. "I don't think anybody really watches hockey any more."


But the improved television ratings for this year's finals doesn't seem to match Woods' assessment.

"The National Hockey League has enormous respect for Tiger Woods, for all his accomplishments and for his work with the community," NHL spokesman Frank Brown said. "We think he's a great golfer."


HOWE'S HE DOING: Red Wings legend Gordie Howe has been a presence during the Stanley Cup finals - and all season long - showing up at games and even practices.

"If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't be here all the time," he said. "I really enjoy watching practice."

Away from the rink, the 80-year-old Hall of Famer spends much of his time caring for his wife Colleen, who suffers from Pick's disease, a degenerative brain disorder that causes dementia.

Howe, when asked how his wife is progressing, said the situation was "not very good."

"It's sad. She hasn't said a word the last couple years, and she's getting thinner," he said. "She's tough, but it's been a tough stretch.

"The doctor has said, 'I don't want to scare you, but there's no cure for it,"' Howe said.

The legendary tough guy, whose "Gordie Howe hat trick" in a game means recording a goal and an assist and getting into a fight, made waves at a recent appearance at Joe Louis Arena by carrying a dog - a little one.

Like Paris Hilton might have.

The tiny "teacup" dog is named Rocket after Canadiens great Maurice Richard.

"When I was in Montreal once, he said, 'What's your dog's name?' I said, 'Rocket.' He said, 'You son of a gun, naming a dog after me."'


STEEL CITY-MOTOR CITY SHOWDOWN: The Penguins-Red Wings matchup is the first time since the 1909 World Series that teams from Pittsburgh and Detroit have met in the championship game/series of any of the four major sports.

The Pirates beat the Tigers in seven games in the only previous title decider pitting the Steel City and Motor City, which are separated by 210 miles and have rich athletic histories.

In the 99 years since the World Series that featured Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb, Pittsburgh has won 11 championships: The Pirates in 1925, 1960, 1971 and 1979; the Steelers following the 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979 and 2005 seasons (the last one in Detroit no less); and the Penguins in 1991 and 1992.

Detroit's 21 champions were the Tigers in 1935, 1945, 1968 and 1984; the Lions in 1935, 1952, 1953 and 1957; the Pistons in 1989, 1990 and 2004; and the Red Wings in 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998 and 2002.


ONE-TIMERS: Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's 55 saves were the most in a Cup final game since Olaf Kolzig of the Washington Capitals made 55 stops against the Red Wings in 1998. ... Monday night's game was the fifth-longest in Cup finals history. ... Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney logged the most ice time in Game 5 with 50:46. ... Sykora scored the fourth OT power-play goal in Cup finals history and the first in 28 years. ... Kid Rock was among the thousands of crazed Wings fans at Game 5. When shown on a video scoreboard above center ice, the Detroit rocker flashed a two-fingered rock n' roll salute, and the crowd roared its approval.


AP Sports Writer Larry Lage contributed to this report.

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