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Aftermath: Penguins 2, Red Wings 1

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
  
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QUICK ANALYSIS
 
The Penguins have been a resilient squad all season and, true to form, the team overcame another obstacle in their quest for the Stanley Cup by staving off elimination and pulling off a gutsy 2-1 victory in Game 6 to force a decisive Game 7 in Detroit Friday night.

The Penguins suffered a devastating 5-0 loss to Detroit in Game 5 and many writers and pundits considered the Penguins’ championship hopes over. But all season long, Pittsburgh has played its best when the chips appeared stacked against them and Tuesday night was no different.

Marc-Andre Fleury bounced back from his Game 5 performance to stop 25 shots and hold off a late Red Wings’ surge, and the never-say-die Penguins proved once again that they will not go quietly into that good night.

Now, the Stanley Cup championship comes down to a one-game, winner-takes-all Game 7 showdown. The Penguins are one victory shy of hoisting the Stanley Cup. The entire season comes down to one game and that contest will be the Penguins greatest challenge of the season. Count them out at your own risk.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
 
(AP) -No clincher by the Detroit Red Wings in Pittsburgh, not this time in Game 6. Marc-Andre Fleury wouldn't let it happen as a wildly unpredictable Stanley Cup finals is now going the distance.

Third-line teammates Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy gave the Penguins a two-goal lead, and Marc-Andre Fleury held off the defending champion Red Wings repeatedly during a frantic third period as Pittsburgh beat Detroit 2-1 on Tuesday night to tie the finals at three games.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

Marc-Andre Fleury stops Dan Cleary on a breakaway with less than two minutes left in the third period
(photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
 
What Worked Well: Urgency
Pittsburgh’s life was on the line in Game 6 and the team played like it. From the opening faceoff, the Penguins played with desperation and urgency against Detroit. Pittsburgh dominated the opening two periods in possession time and shots, 24-12. The Red Wings came hard in the third period but Pittsburgh held on for the victory.

What Could Have Gone Better: Converting Scores
The Penguins rang up a large number of scoring chances and shots, 31, in the game. With all the opportunities Pittsburgh had, the team could have netted four or five goals. But their two goals were enough to win the game and if the Penguins keep generating those chances, eventually the pucks will go in. 
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Marc-Andre Fleury gave up five goals and was pulled from Game 5 in Detroit. But Fleury rebounded with one of his strongest performances of the postseason. He turned aside 25 shots and allowed only one goal. Fleury made a great blocker save on Henrik Zetterberg in the first period. Then in the final minutes of the game, Fleury turned aside Dan Cleary on a breakaway.
 
SCORING SYNOPSIS
 
Pittsburgh tallied the game’s opening goal less than a minute into the second period. Jordan Staal chipped the puck out of the Penguins zone and around Valtteri Filpulla. Staal recollected the puck and skated up ice on a two-on-one with Matt Cooke. Staal shot the puck and then batted his own rebound into the net behind goalie Chris Osgood. Pittsburgh 1, Detroit 0.

The Penguins built a two-goal lead on Tyler Kennedy’s tally five minutes into the third period. Pittsburgh did a great job of cycling the puck in the Detroit zone. Kennedy collected the puck behind the net and tried a wraparound. He then lifted his own rebound into the far side of the goal. Pittsburgh 2, Detroit 0.

The Red Wings cut into Pittsburgh’s lead with a goal eight minutes into the third period. Jonathan Ericsson sent a slap shot on net from the near point. Kris Draper lifted the rebound past a sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh 2, Detroit 1.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
The Penguins dressed forward Petr Sykora for the first time in 15 games. Sykora last played in Game 2 of the semifinals at Washington. Pittsburgh scratched forwards Mike Zigomanis, Eric Godard and Miroslav Satan and defensemen Alex Goligoski and Philippe Boucher.

Pittsburgh had success in the early part of the game breaking Detroit’s trap with hard breakout passes from its own zone. The Penguins defensemen threw passes to the forwards near the Red Wings blue line. The forward would either skate into the zone – if there was space – or chip the puck into the zone and go get it.
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Pittsburgh pulled even in the Stanley Cup Final with Detroit, 3-3, and is 9-2 at Mellon Arena in this postseason.

> Head coach Dan Bylsma has a career postseason record of 15-8.

> Scoring Summary:
PIT, J.Staal (4), 0:51 2nd period: Penguins 1, Red Wings 0
PIT, T.Kennedy (5), 5:35 3rd period: Penguins 2, Red Wings 0
DET, K.Draper (1), 8:01 3rd period: Penguins 2, Red Wings 1

> Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s Art Ross champion, was held scoreless but still leads the league with 35 points in the postseason (14G-21A). Malkin has 23 points (9G-14A) and eight multi-point games in his last 13 contests.

> Malkin's 35 points are the most totaled in the postseason since Wayne Gretzky tallied 40 in 1993 with Los Angeles.

> Sidney Crosby was held off the score sheet but still has 31 postseason points (15G-16A).

> Jordan Staal scored his second goal in the last three games. He has three points (2G-1A) in his last three contests.

> Tyler Kennedy posted his second goal in the last three games and added an assist for a two-point night. Kennedy has three points (2G-1A) in his past three contests.
 
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
   
1. M.Fleury, PIT
2. T.Kennedy, PIT
3. J.Staal, PIT
“The best thing you can tell them is about going out and winning
the game. It's not about trying not to lose.”
- Dan Bylsma on his approach to Game 7
 

 


Author: Sam Kasan

Author: Sam Kasan

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