Red Wings run into wall against Penguins in Game 6NHL.com @NHLdotcom
PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Detroit Red Wings had trouble getting pucks past Marc-Andre Fleury because most of their shots didn't even get to Pittsburgh's goaltender.
The Penguins blocked pucks with their bodies, sticks and skates, winning 2-1 Tuesday night to force a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals.
"The thing that killed us was not getting pucks to the net," Red Wings forward Darren Helm said.
When Detroit finally got past the Penguins' defense, Dan Cleary failed to beat Fleury on a breakaway with just under 2 minutes left. The defending champions got the puck in the crease in the final seconds, but defenseman Rob Scuderi squatted and filled up the painted area to deny Johan Franzen's attempts to force overtime.
"He's unbelievable with blocking and getting in front of pucks," Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal said. "And, he does a great job of battling."
Pittsburgh's solid defense in the wake of an ugly 5-0 loss Saturday sends the series back to Joe Louis Arena for a final game Friday night. The home team has won each of the first six games.
Detroit needed to play better than it did in its last visit to Pittsburgh, when it lost 4-2 in Games 3 and 4, but it was worse offensively and matched its weakest offensive performance of this postseason.
The Penguins' defenders had a lot to do with that.
They turned away shot after shot to help out Fleury, who was chased after giving up five goals in Game 5.
"They did a good job with the blocking shots," said Marian Hossa, who has no goals and three assists in the series against his former team. "I don't know how many they got, but we have to get them to the net and look for some rebounds."
Pittsburgh had 20 blocked shots - eight more than Detroit - to stifle an offense that had been rolling throughout much of the postseason.
The Red Wings entered Game 6 averaging three goals in the finals and 3 1/2 goals overall in the playoffs.
Detroit was held to one goal in two previous games this postseason, both against the gritty Anaheim Ducks in the second round.
The Red Wings avoided being shut out in the playoffs for the first time since 2007 when Kris Draper scored midway through the third period, but the offense came much too late for them to celebrate a championship in Mellon Arena as they did last year.
"We had a good third period, but didn't get started on time," Draper said.
Detroit had just three shots in the first period and nine in the second - when it didn't have one power play - then did nothing of significance when it had chances with an extra skater in the third period.
"It's a little bit disappointing not getting a goal on the two power plays we had late in the game," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "That's when you want your power play to be working to get that second goal."