Monday, June 02, 2008

Stanley Cup Finals Game 5: Pens v Red Wings (W 4-3 Third OT)

LATE EDIT: Every single picture in this post can be enlarged for a wallpaper quality image.

WHAT A GAME. Games like this one are why I love this sport. This is what we all live for - talk about leaving it all on the ice! Overtime after overtime after overtime! UNBELIEVABLE.

BIG BIG thanks to Allison Y. for grabbing this shot of Sid during the National Anthem. (Click it to enlarge for wallpaper sized shot.)

We need to check America's Most Wanted because Sid HAS to have a warrant out for his arrest - he was stealing pucks and picking pockets like he was a career criminal! A tired Brooks Orpik earned the night's first penalty for hooking. Just as the Wings' power play got underway, Adam Hall and Jordan Staal went on a shorthanded 2-on-1, but Hall was skating so hard that he tripped himself and broke up the play. The Wings didn't score on their advantage. Things got worse when Orpik hit the ice and a miscommunication led him to join the play, while Coach Michel Therrien had sent a man in to replace him. The dreaded too many men on the ice penalty was called, and Tyler Kennedy went to the box for his team.

Just over a minute into the Wings' power play, Pavel Datsyuk and Staal went after the puck at the wall. Datsyuk tied Staal's stick up as he lost an edge, but the ref thought Datsyuk tripped Gronk. It resulted in a 4-on-4. It was right about this time that Pierre McGuire mentioned that today's Pennsylvania Big 4 Lotteries were very interesting to Pens fans. The AM Big 4 was 8784. McGuire pointed out the obvious significance of the number 87, but he failed to notice that 84 is meaningful to Pens fans because it is the year in which Le Magnifique was drafted. (Incidentally, Troy Crosby was also drafted in '84.) The PM Big 4 was 7171. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4, and after several turnovers during the Pens' abbreviated power play (1 by Sid, 2 by Evgeni Malkin), the Pens didn't even get a shot on goal.

McGuire, who was positioned between the benches with Petr Sykora on his immediate right, then had the stones to rhetorically ask "What's wrong with Malkin and Sykora?" Syko shot him a look that might have killed him, except that he followed it with an explanation: "I bet we find out how injured he [Syko] really is after this series." Then suddenly, the Pens were on the attack. Sid and Pascal Dupuis worked to get the puck on net. Marian Hossa was there to get the leftovers, and his shot found the back of the net. [Pens 1, Wings 0]

It was as if the Earth itself shifted. The Pens began to go insane. Later, Kirk Maltby shoved Orpik into Marc-Andre Fleury, who had frozen the puck and drawn the whistle. Maltby (predictably) was attacked. For some reason, Maltby seemed incredulous at the fact that the Pens were defending their goalie. Both he and Mad Max Talbot were escorted to their respective penalty boxes for coincidental roughing minors. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4. Later, Sid showed us what he uses those tree trunk legs for as he hauled arse to prevent a 2-on-1. But nonetheless, the Wings had an unreal shift that fortunately didn't result in a goal. Ryan Malone then muscled through the Wings' defenders for a backhander that Chris Osgood blocked. Later, Hall battled in the corner for possession. He wins and fires a shot that is blocked. Niklas Kronwall attempted to clear the rebound into the corner, but he banked it off Hall's skate and into his own net. [Pens 2, Wings 0]

Sid and Hossa had a 2-on-1, but Hossa held onto the puck just a fraction of a second too long enabling Ozzy to make the save. Daryl Sydor fanned on the puck which led to Darren Helm getting a breakaway. Ryan Whitney showed us the meaning of the word "desperation" when he raced down (at the end of his shift!) and dove to the ice to force Helm to fire a shot that went high and wide. In the last minutes of the period, Sidney stole the puck in the Wings' zone, but Ozzy (with a little help from his D) managed to stop Sid from scoring. The period ended with the Pens enjoying a 2 goal lead.

Two turnovers in the Wings' zone just after the start of the second period lead to a break by Mad Max Talbot and a shot by Staal that Ozzy stopped. A little later the Saint nearly got a break, but he was pressured from behind by Brian Rafalski (Eddie Olczyk thought Rafalski may have impeded Sid), so his shot was forced. Even so, Ozzy still had to make a toe save or that would have gone in. Flower had to make a big save on Maltby, but Rob Scuderi couldn't clear it. Maltby got the puck to Helm, who shot the puck that caromed off Scuds as he was sprawled out on the ice and into the net. [Pens 2, Wings 1]

NOTE: As I am typing this right now, we're in the intermission before the second overtime period. Forgive me if I get a little brief with the details from here on out. Kronwall put big hits on Hossa and Sidney. Dupuis got the puck to Geno for a shot that went wide. Maltby and Orpik collided. As Orpik tried to return to the play, Maltby stood up on him and was called for it. The Pens didn't score on this power play since Detroit dominated possession of the puck. There were multiple consecutive turnovers at neutral ice (didn't anyone want the puck?). Insanity ensued in front of Ozzy. Staal and Kennedy were tackled; Sid was back checking guys like he was a defenseman and stole some more pucks. Then the Saint committed a sin - he was called for high sticking. This time, the Pens dominated puck possession on the Red Wings' power play. They didn't score on their advantage.

There was a lot more end to end action. Dallas Drake took a head first dive into the boards and was slow to get up. Flower made some huge saves. Bouncing pucks prompt the announcers to tell us that the Joe Louis Arena is warm, which means the ice is bad. Orpik couldn't keep the puck in, which lead to a Detroit 2-on-1. Flower made an AMAZING save, but Gonch took a hard head first hit into the boards that left him stunned. He remained stunned for a few minutes, and as he got up to leave the ice under his own power, the Detroit fans were extremely classy and applauded. Just a few minutes later, Hall plowed into a ref on a play, knocking him down to the ice. This led to Hal Gill getting an opportunity to fire a shot, which met the already broken nose of our Boy Bugsy. Immediately he fell and threw his gloves to signal to the refs that he was in trouble. He left the ice with blood pouring out of his nose. The period ended with the Pens still ahead by a goal.

The third period began with an example of real heroics. Both Bugsy and Gonch returned to the ice after their respective injuries. (Bugsy looks like he got hit by a train! Gotta love that "Hockey Face!") Unfortunately, Gonch had to leave the game a little later. Hopefully he's not too injured... Mikael Samuelsson fired a shot that was blocked by Flower, who ended up losing his stick. Scuds was attempting to give MAF his stick back, but Sammy was being a jerk and not letting him. Datsyuk fired a shot that fooled the crowed and the goal judge but not the refs. After the horn sounded, it was announced that it was NOT A GOAL because it hit the crossbar and bounced back out.

Tomas Holmstrom got away with slashing (and breaking) Staal's stick. Kennedy was penalized for hooking, and it only took 22 seconds for the Wings to tie the game. [Pens 2, Wings 2]

The Wings got the go ahead goal when Rafalski scored after Sammy went hard to the net. [Pens 2, Wings 3]

Sid fired a shot that was stoned by Ozzy as the crowd began a chant of "WE WANT THE CUP!!!" Time seemed to be ticking away at double time. Suddenly there were just two minutes left until Detroit walked away with hockey's Holy Grail. With just over a minute left in the game, Coach pulled MAF in favor of the extra attacker. I've been reading in the comments how much a lot of you dislike this move, but tonight you got a chance to see why it's done. It's definitely a roll of the dice, but when it works, the payoff is HUGE. With only 34.3 seconds left in regulation, Mad Max Talbot chopped away from behind the net to tie the game. [Pens 3, Wings 3]


1st OT: Bugsy was shown sopping up the blood dripping from his nose. MAF made a series of unbelievable saves to keep his team's hopes alive. One on Holmstrom in particular was really amazing. Ozzy had an unreal save of his own when Ruutu sent the puck to Geno for a shot. At the end of his shift, Geno got knocked down by Johan Franzen. It wasn't a big hit by any means, but Geno went down - and stayed down. It was likely fatigue, but it also doesn't help dispel the rumors of a secret injury. Chaos in front of Flower results in Henrik Zetterberg taking a goalie interference penalty. The Pens didn't score on their advantage.

2nd OT: Dan Cleary was called for goalie interference (much to the crowd's disapproval). The Pens didn't score on their advantage. Ruutu fired a shot that hit the effing post. MAF made more unreal saves - he had to because Detroit was outshooting Pittsburgh. The Pens (including our title man) were making diving blocks all over the ice. Bodies were everywhere. It was sometime around this time that McGuire told us that Syko had tapped on the glass and confidently announced that he would be the one to score the game winning goal. Syko, now out on the ice, was playing like mad. Ruutu was doing everything but scoring, too. Brad Stuart creamed Mad Max after he was caught with his head down. Syko was then called for hooking Kronwall, but the Wings were unable to end the game with their power play.

3rd OT: Datsyuk got away with interference on Malone. Gonch soldiered through the pain and came back to the ice to help his team. MAF was stunning in goal. Scuds ended up taking one for the team when he took a high stick to the chin from Jiri Hudler. Since it split open and bled, Hudler was given 4 minutes in the box. Thirty-six seconds were all Syko needed to make good on his promise to Pierre. [Pens 4, Wings 3]

There is still hope.

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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