Penguins Beat Detroit in Triple-Overtime Thriller!

With less than a minute to go in regulation, it looked like the Stanley Cup would be skated around the rink inside of Joe Louis Arena.  The Detroit Red Wings had posted a come from behind rally and scored 2-goals in the 3rd period to put them 1-goal ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins (3-2).  But with their goaltender pulled, the Penguins’ last gasp attempt at survival paid off as Max Talbot scored the game-tying goal with just 35-seconds left on the clock to force overtime.  Then Marc-Andre Fleury took over, stopping 24-shots through almost 50-minutes of overtime play to give his team the opportunity to win.  And win they did, after Petr Sykora clinched the game-winner, a powerplay goal at 9:57 of the third overtime!  In a game that had almost everything, including injuries to Sergei Gonchar (upper body) and Ryan Malone (slapshot to the face), the Penguins found a way to win.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Five
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The Penguins came out in the first period and surprised a nervous Red Wings team as they put up an early 2-goal lead.  The first goal game at 8:37 as Marian Hossa slung the puck inside of the far post and beat Chris Osgood.  Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis had the assists on Hossa’s goal, his 11th of the post-season.  Then at 14:41, Adam Hall was credited with an unassisted goal after a botched Red Wings clearing attempt by Niklas Kronwall put the puck into their own net. Since Hall was the last Penguin to touch the puck, he was given the goal.  Shots were 8-7 Detroit and the Penguins were 0-2 on the powerplay and 3-3 on the penalty kill.

In the 2nd period, the Red Wings drew within 1-goal as Darren Helm took a feed from Kirk Maltby and snapped off a shot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury.  With 2:50 left in the period, the Penguins suffered a huge blow when Sergei Gonchar went awkwardly into the end boards at high speed.  Gonchar left game for the rest of the period, but returned briefly in the 3rd before leaving again.  He ultimately returned to the ice in the 3rd OT period, and skated his first shift on the game-winning goal.  The Penguins had another setback with just 1:22 left in the period, as Ryan Malone took a puck to the face off from heavy slapshot by Hal Gill.  The shot hit Malone on his broken nose, and he immediately left the ice bleeding profusely.  He ultimately returned in the 3rd period looking fully playoff tested with a gashed and swollen face, and gauze packed in his nose.  Shots were 12-7 Detroit in the 2nd and both teams were 0-1 on the powerplay.

Onto the 3rd period where Detroit made a full court press to win the Stanley Cup, as they outshot the Penguins 14-4.  At 6:43, the Wings got the tying goal on the powerplay as Tyler Kennedy sat for hooking.  Pavel Datsyuk picked up his 10th goal on a tip-in that beat Marc-Andre Fleury five-hole.  Assists were credited to Henrik Zetterberg and Brian Rafalski.  Then at 9:23 with momentum clearly on their side, the Wings scored the go-ahead goal on a wrister by Brian Rafalski, from Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg.  From that point on, it looked as if the Red Wings would finish it off and win the Stanley Cup.  NBC had rolled video of the Cup being removed from its case and getting polished.  With just 40-seconds left, the desparate Penguins pulled Marc-Andre Fleury from the net and threw all they could at Osgood.  Just 5-seconds later while champagne bottles were being prepped in the Red Wings locker room, Max Talbot stopped the anticipated celebration by banging home a puck behind Osgood to tie it up.

During the first Overtime period, Marc-Andre Fleury put on a clinic by stopping all 13-shots by the Red Wings.  The Penguins offense was largely ineffective notching just 2-shots on goal, despite having a 2-minute powerplay on a questioned goaltender interference call on Henrik Zetterberg.  In the 2nd Overtime, the youth of the Penguins started to pay dividends as they matched the Red Wings skating game and took an 8-7 edge in shots.  Each team was assessed a minor penalty in the 2nd Overtime, but neither team could capitalize.  Then in the 3rd Overtime,  Jiri Hudler took a double-minor high sticking call after cutting the face of Rob Scuderi with the blade of his stick.  The Penguins responded by putting the injured Sergei Gonchar back on the ice, along with Malkin, Whitney, Sykora and Malone.  After being largely absent throughout the entire series, Evgeni Malkin made a beautiful pass to Petr Sykora in the high circle area and he put it in the net to end the game at 9:57.  Sergei Gonchar was also credited with an assist.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Five Image details: Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings – Game Five served by

The win could prove to be a momentum swing in this series that should have ended tonight for the Red Wings.  The Penguins found a way to get the tying goal in the waning moments of the game, and then battle through the adveristy of injuries and being outplayed in the 3rd period and first overtime to eventually win it after a prolonged battle on the Red Wings’ ice.  Marc-Andre Fleury proved phenomenal in goal by stopping 55-of-58 shots for a 0.948 save percentage.  Marian Hossa had another spectacular game, picking up 2-points (1G, 1A).  Sidney Crosby padded his league leading post-season points by netting 2-more points (2A).  The Penguins take the series back to Pittsburgh trailing 3-2 with a chance to tie it up on Wednesday night.

The Penguins return home to Pittsburgh for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night, where they will look to win 1-more on home ice to send the series back to Detroit for a deciding Game 7. 

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