DETROIT (AP) -Marian Hossa's about to find out if he made the right choice.
The Slovakian forward chose to sign a one-year contract with the defending champion Detroit Red Wings last summer after turning down a longer and more lucrative deal from the runner-up Pittsburgh Penguins.
He sacrificed stability and a lot of money, saying Detroit gave him his best shot to complete his career by hoisting the Cup.
After the Penguins beat the Wings in Game 6 to force a final game Friday night, Hossa was asked if he dreamed this scenario would happen.
"Who would? Would you?" Hossa responded to a pack of reporters surrounding him Tuesday night following a 2-1 loss in Pittsburgh that tied the series. "There wouldn't be many people, but the situation right now is how it is.
"I have to, we have to deal with that."
No one seems to have more at stake than Hossa, and he seems to be crumbling under the pressure.
Hossa has not scored against his former teammates and has contributed just three assists.
"Definitely," Hossa said. "When you haven't scored for several games, you try to do maybe too much. I need to relax more and forget about everything."
But Detroit coach Mike Babcock wants Hossa to focus on his choice and embrace it.
"This is why he came here," Babcock said. "Here's an opportunity. You have Game 7. You spend your whole life when you're a kid, at least in Canada, when you don't even have a net, you've got little snow piles on the street, dreaming of scoring the game-winning goal of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final."
Hossa scored a team-high 40 goals in the regular season. He was often an offensive force in the Western Conference playoffs even though he scored in just three games, netting two goals in each of the Game 4s.
He was strong with the puck and created scoring chances early in the Stanley Cup finals before fading in the past two games, getting only one shot on Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 6 and two shots on him the previous game.
White-clad fans at Mellon Arena were ready to boo him every time he had the puck Tuesday night, but they didn't have to waste much breath because he barely touched it.
"I don't think it's pressing," Babcock insisted. "I think he's way better at home than he's been in their building for whatever reason."
Hossa had two assists in Joe Louis Arena when the Red Wings took a 2-0 lead in the series and had an assist there in Game 5 as they took a 3-2 advantage.
Ending a seven-game scoring drought and helping Detroit hoist the Cup against the teammates and franchise he left behind certainly would be sweet.
"Hossa is playing hard and you know how bad he wants to win," teammate Kris Draper said. "If he wants to talk things through, there are guys there for him.
"But he's a true professional, and we know we're going to see his best game."