Penguins go to 3 OTs to top Red Wings, 4-3
|Photo gallery: NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs|
By Ira Podell
By Ira Podell
DETROIT — The pizza was perfect for Petr Sykora and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Deep in overtime and the season hanging in the balance, Sykora scored a power-play goal 9:57 into the third extra session to give the Penguins a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings last night and send the Stanley Cup finals back to the Steel City for Game 6.
"We basically just had to keep the fluids going, get some food in you," Sykora said. "We had some pizza coming. We had some power bars and stuff like that."
Asked if the pizza was Little Caesar's, the company founded by Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, Sykora flashed a smile.
"Domino's," he said.
That delivery was right on time.
The series resumes in Pittsburgh tomorrow night.
Another win there, and it will be back to Detroit for Game 7 on Saturday.
"If we can come up with the win, it's going to be a lot of pressure on them," Sykora said. "But you just worry about the game on Wednesday, and hopefully we can get it."
With Jiri Hudler serving a 4-minute penalty for high-sticking Rob Scuderi and causing a cut, Sykora wound up in the right circle and ripped a drive past Chris Osgood to end the marathon that lasted 4 1/2 hours and ended at 12:46 a.m.
"I was just praying for blood," Scuderi said.
Overtime heroics are nothing new for Sykora, who ended the fourth-longest NHL playoff game in a fifth extra session April 24, 2003, during Anaheim's run to the Stanley Cup finals. That team was coached by current Detroit bench boss Mike Babcock.
Early on, a Penguins' win in this one seemed likely after they scored twice in the first period and carried a 2-1 lead into the third. However, the Red Wings tied it on Pavel Datsyuk's power-play goal at 6:43 and went ahead for the first time 2:40 later when Brian Rafalski scored.
The party was on in the final minute. Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was on the bench, the Pittsburgh net was empty and the seconds ticked down toward Detroit's fourth Stanley Cup championship in 11 seasons.
Maxime Talbot put the fans back into their seats when he saved the Penguins' season with a second whack of the puck at the left post with 34.3 seconds left in regulation.
Road teams have won 10 of the last 12 overtime games in the finals and are 15-4 since 1990.
PITTSBURGH 2 0 1 0 0 1—4
DETROIT 0 1 2 0 0 0—3
First Period—1, Pittsburgh, Hossa 11 (Crosby, Dupuis), 8:37. 2, Pittsburgh, Hall 3, 14:41. Second Period—3, Detroit, Helm 2 (Maltby), 2:54. Third Period—4, Detroit, Datsyuk 10 (Zetterberg, Rafalski), 6:43 (pp). 5, Detroit, Rafalski 3 (Franzen, Zetterberg), 9:23. 6, Pittsburgh, Talbot 3 (Hossa, Crosby), 19:25. Third Overtime—7, Pittsburgh, Sykora 6 (Malkin, Gonchar), 9:57 (pp).
Shots on Goal—Pittsburgh 7-7-4-2-8-4—32. Detroit 8-12-14-13-7-4—58. Power-play opportunities—Pittsburgh 1 of 5; Detroit 1 of 5. Goalies—Pittsburgh, Fleury 14-5 (58 shots-55 saves). Detroit, Osgood 13-4 (32-28). A—20,066 (20,066). T—4:36.
STANLEY CUP FINALS
(All Hawai'i times)
Pittsburgh 4, Detroit 3 (3 OTs)
Detroit at Pittsburgh, 2 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Detroit, 2 p.m., if necessary