The Wings, who defeated the Pens in last year's Cup Final in six games, hold a familiar 3-2 advantage entering Tuesday's contest (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).
At one end of the arena is Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby
, who has been in this position before.
"I think having gone through a Game 6 last year helps," Crosby said. "But even more so, it's just this year's series, there is a higher confidence. We've seen a lot better results with the way we've played, so we'll draw on that. Every experience we've gone through, whether it be the Final or regular season, you build that trust and totally expect they're going to be at their best when the game's on the line."
For Crosby, who became the youngest captain in NHL history at the age of 19, Game 6 is all about finding a way to extend his season.
"I think guys realize that when the chips are down, you have to be at your best," Crosby said. "It takes everybody in order to get great results. We need to make sure that we respond the same way we have throughout the entire playoffs. Having those scenarios and knowing that guys have bounced back in the right way, I think that's a confidence level."
Crosby, who has one goal and sports a minus-2 in the series, knows there are no more second chances at this point. Crosby said his team will be up to the daunting task of making certain this series heads back to Joe Louis Arena for a winner-take-all Game 7 on Friday.
"You're going to be desperate whether you're at home or on the road," Crosby said. "They're going to want to finish things off so it's the same for them, too. Both teams have had to win both at home and on the road to get to this point anyway."
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom has been through the drill before too. He's the one with 17 consecutive postseason appearances and four Stanley Cup rings. In other words, he's been there and done that and would like nothing more than to end this series now. For Lidstrom, Tuesday night is all about finding a way to complete the journey.
"The ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup and that's the goal we're trying to achieve right now, so we take a different mindset entering (Tuesday's) game," Lidstrom said. "During the playoffs in the first, second or third round, you're looking to advance, you're looking to move up and play in the next round or you're getting ready for the next round. When you're in the Final, you know you can see the end -- you're close to the end. You know you almost reached your goal."
In addition to Lidstrom, forwards Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty and Tomas Holmstrom will be looking to earn a Stanley Cup ring for the fifth time in their careers.
"Winning four Stanley Cups is something I'm very proud of and having a chance to win another one, it's a good feeling," Lidstrom said. "I'm very fortunate to have been with the same team for a lot of years and been with an organization and ownership that really are dedicated to winning."
Detroit coach Mike Babcock knows the Penguins will be a desperate team from the opening faceoff.
"When you lose a game and you don't play the way you want, you beat yourself up for a couple of days," Babcock said. "You want to be better and you want to be the best you can be and analyze what you did wrong. We try to do the same thing by being even keel all the time so we're preparing the same way. Whether it's a Game 7 attitude for them, it has to be for us."
In the end, Babcock knows the best players will shine in the key moments. That said, expect Lidstrom and Crosby to be at their best.
"In the biggest events, the best players just do what they do," he said. "They're just calm and they play." Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer