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Pens' Bylsma knows the Stanley Cup drill as coach, player

Sunday, June 7, 2009

DETROIT -- A few hours Saturday before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma pondered the similarity between this series and his lone one as a player.

Bylsma was a member of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 2003 when they won every Final home game but lost the Cup to New Jersey in seven games. That was the last time before this Final that home clubs held serve in Games 1 through 4.

"In both those situations, you feel like you miss those opportunities in Game 1," Bylsma said. "You had to really fight to get back to even."

Bylsma predicted Game 5 last night would be "the hardest fought" game of the Final, and history suggests its result will indicate the Cup champion. According to the NHL, Game 5 winners in 14 of 19 previous best-of-seven Finals tied, 2-2, went on to win the series.

The last team to lose Game 5 and win the Cup in this scenario was Tampa Bay in 2004, which lost at home to Calgary but rallied to win the next two games.

Penguins left wing Ruslan Fedotenko played for the Lightning that season, and he said this Final "kind of" reminds him of the one in 2004.

"In both series, the teams were pretty balanced and you knew you were going to have to just battle to the end," Fedotenko said. "People talk about home-ice advantage, but for any team to be successful and win the Cup, you need to find a way to win on the road."




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