Skip to Main Content

Pens win even though Crosby, Malkin go scoreless @NHLdotcom

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't get a single point from Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, but still managed to push the Stanley Cup finals to Game 7.

For the first time since the dynamic duo joined forces in the Igloo in 2006, the Penguins won a playoff game without any offensive contributions from their two biggest stars.

Either Crosby or Malkin had a point in Pittsburgh's 29 postseason victories since 2007. Malkin recorded two shots, and Crosby had one in the Penguins' 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 on Tuesday night.

Pittsburgh got a second-period goal from Jordan Staal and a third-period tally from Tyler Kennedy in the win that stretched the season for one more game.

"We rely on each other and teams don't get to this point without each guy stepping out and stepping up in their own way," Crosby said. "Time after time I think our team has proven that we're a true team, and everyone's contributing. Tight games like this, there's not going to be a lot of chances, but when there is, you know, you rely on the guy next to you to execute.

"It's not going to be the same guy every night, but that's why we've had success. ... T.K., Staalsy, they've come up with some big goals, and those role players get big plays, and we've depended on them all season long."


DRAPER'S DROUGHT: Kris Draper's goal that cut Detroit's deficit to 2-1 at 8:01 of the third period in Game 6 broke a 21-game scoring drought for the Red Wings forward.

Draper, limited to seven postseason games due to injuries, had gone 15 regular-season games and six more in the playoffs since his previous goal at Colorado on March 4.


PETR'S PLIGHT: Cramped in a corner of the Pittsburgh Penguins dressing room, closest to the stall of captain Sidney Crosby, Petr Sykora sat and waited for his chance.

He finally got the nod for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Sykora was an on-ice hero for the Penguins a year ago when his goal in triple overtime of Game 5 kept Pittsburgh alive in the finals.

The going has been tougher this year as he was in the Penguins' lineup for only six of Pittsburgh's first 19 postseason games and none of the first five in the finals. With several forwards struggling offensively, Sykora held out hope he would get to play.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma gave him that opportunity Tuesday night when he put him in the lineup in favor of Miroslav Satan. Sykora's previous appearance came on May 4 in Game 2 of the second-round series against Washington.

"Some of it is a gut feel. Some of it is giving a guy an opportunity," Bylsma said of his decision. "Petr Sykora can get the puck on his stick and shoot it in the net."

Sykora has played in 114 career playoff games over 12 NHL seasons. He scored 32 goals and 69 points in those contests.


HOME SWEET HOME: The home team has won the first six games in this year's Stanley Cup finals, the fifth time that has happened in the championship round since the best-of-seven format started in 1939.

In three of the previous four instances, the home team won Game 7 to capture the Cup. The only team to win Game 7 of the finals on the road after the first six games were won by the home team was the Montreal Canadiens, who beat the Blackhawks in Chicago in 1971.


THE OTHER FORMER PENGUIN: Marian Hossa is not the only Red Wings player who was with the Penguins last season. It just seems that way.

Backup goalie Ty Conklin was a reserve behind Pittsburgh starter Marc-Andre Fleury a year ago.

"People have kind of left me alone and that's OK," Conklin said. "I got some grief early in Game 3 in Pittsburgh, but nothing like what Marian is hearing. I haven't heard anybody go over the line when they've been getting on him sitting on the bench."

Hossa turned down a long-term, lucrative deal to stay in Pittsburgh. Conklin had to go.

"They didn't offer me a contract," he said. "They had too many eggs to fry to take care of me, too. I understood."

Conklin won 18 games during the 2007-08 season - one fewer than Fleury - but didn't play in the postseason. He helped the Red Wings win 25 games in 37 starts, keeping busy as Chris Osgood's backup. He hopes to re-sign with Detroit.

"I love it here," Conklin said. "I can't imagine there are No. 2 guys playing as much as I did, so hopefully they'll want me back."


LETANG REMEMBERS: These Stanley Cup finals against Detroit are far more satisfying than last season for third-year Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, who had a goal and three assists through five games.

A year ago, he was benched by former coach Michel Therrien for alleged poor play after two games against Detroit and didn't return.

Still, playing in the finals again has rekindled unpleasant memories for Letang. The day after Therrien held out Letang for Game 3 last year, best friend Luc Bourdon of the Vancouver Canucks was killed in a motorcycle accident.

The two defensemen were junior hockey teammates beginning at age 14 and twice won world championships on Canada's junior team. They were planning a vacation together with other friends once the Stanley Cup finals ended.

Letang remains emotional about Bourdon's death, and teammates have seen him become quiet while on the team bus at the mere sight of someone riding a motorcycle.

"I play every game for him," said Letang, who spends a few minutes before each game thinking about his friend.

Letang also talks regularly with Bourdon's family and girlfriend. He received a text message from them minutes after scoring an overtime goal in Game 3 of the second round against Washington, starting the Penguins on their comeback from a 2-0 series deficit.


AP Sports Writers Alan Robinson and Larry Lage contributed to this report.

View More