ShareThis Page

Penguins aren't history yet

| Tuesday, June 3, 2008

DETROIT -- The Red Wings entered Joe Louis Arena as they always do, from a locker room decorated with 10 replica Stanley Cups, through a corridor dedicated to the franchise's hall-of-fame heritage, beneath an impossible-to-miss sign that reminds "To Whom Much is Given, Much Is Expected" and out onto an ice surface that looks up at banners honoring six retired numbers -- one of which is Gordie Howe's immortal No. 9.

And when the Red Wings got there, they had every intention of adding to the grandeur, of carving out yet another chapter of championship lore and glory by doing what they do to the Penguins.

"We're not built to fight you," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has said. "We're not built to get into the fisticuffs. But we're going to battle for pucks; we're not going to back off along the wall. We're going to block shots. We're going to go to all the hard areas. We're going to play hockey.

"When we've got the puck, we're going to hang onto it; we're going to make you take it away from us. When you have the puck, we're going to be organized, and we're going to try to make it difficult for you to get near our net."

As a franchise, the Penguins aren't nearly as decorated.

As players, they're only beginning to compile their resumes.

And, as a team, their game is similar to Detroit's, but not yet as consistent.

Still, they played Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final Monday night as if they still had a say in this series, despite their 3-1 series deficit.

They still had a say entering the second overtime.

And the third.

And they're still alive and breathing in a series that will require a Game 6 after a power-play goal by Petr Sykora at 9:57 of the third overtime -- one that delivered the Penguins to a 4-3 victory.

In the early going, it was all Penguins.

They bolted to a 2-0 lead less than 15 minutes in and could have been ahead by three, four or even five goals had they only finished the wonderful opportunities they created for themselves.

The Red Wings found their stride entering the third period and facing a 2-1 deficit.

They relentlessly attacked the Penguins and willed home the game-tying and then apparent Cup-winning goals before the Penguins could so much as muster another shot at Chris Osgood.

Early and late, it was end-to-end, and it was breathtaking.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made the Red Wings work for it, playing his best and most spectacular game of the series.

Fleury's much-needed effort was on the verge of being wasted when he was pulled from the net and the Penguins scrambled desperately for a sixth-attacker goal, while a suddenly delirious crowd chanted "We Want the Cup."

Max Talbot made them wait for it, stunning Osgood, the Red Wings and perhaps even the ghost of Terry Sawchuk (he's No. 1 in the Joe Louis rafters) by jamming home a second-chance whack from the side of the net with 34.5 seconds remaining in regulation.

Overtime -- and plenty of it.

History's still on hold.

Additional Information:

Gigapan Interactive

Click here to view a Gigapan of the Pens rally at Fifth Avenue Place

Click here to learn about Gigapans.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.