Bylsma's use of Staal's line pays off
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma opened Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday by matching C Jordan Staal's line against the Red Wings' unit that included Cs Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
The Zetterberg-Datsyuk duo was deployed by Red Wings coach Mike Babcock against Penguins C Sidney Crosby's line in Game 5 on Saturday, and Bylsma said after he would take a more defensive approach against those two players last night.
With RW Petr Sykora playing for the first time after missing 14 games, regulars scratched by the Penguins were RWs Miroslav Satan and Eric Godard and D Philippe Boucher. Notable Red Wings scratches were LWs Justin Abdelkader, Ville Leino and D Chris Chelios.
SYKIE HEART FLOWER
After Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled from Game 5 in the second period, Sykora approached him in the visiting player's runway at Joe Louis Arena. Television cameras caught Sykora whispering in Fleury's ear and patting him on the chest.
"I just told him to let it go, forget about it... we're going to need you for the next game," Sykora said. "And I told him that I love him."
For the second consecutive year, five different players scored game-winning goals through the first five games of the Final. In 2008, it was Detroit's Mikael Samuelsson and Brad Stuart in Games 1 and 2, Adam Hall for the Penguins in Game 4, Detroit's Jiri Hudler in Game 4 and the Sykora in Game 5. This year, Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula provided the winning goals in the first two games, with the Penguins' Sergei Gonchar and Sidney Crosby the next two and Detroit's Dan Cleary in Game 5.
ALMOST OSGOOD AS IT GETS
Detroit G Chris Osgood has 15 career playoff shutouts — including three against the Penguins — which ranks fourth in NHL history behind Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy (23 each) and Curtis Joseph (16). Osgood has an 11-4 record in 16 Cup Final appearances, and his .733 winning percentage also ranks fourth. Ken Dryden is first (24-8, .750), followed by Billy Smith (17-6, .739) and Grant Fuhr (14-5, .737).
ODDS STILL AGAINST THEM
The Penguins' victory last night upped the record of teams hosting Game 6 of a Stanley Cup Final in which they trailed, 3-2, to 10-14 since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1939. Of the nine previous clubs to force a Game 7, only the 1950 Red Wings and 1971 Canadiens won the Cup.
NOT THIS TIME
By scoring a goal for the first time since Game 4, the Penguins kept Detroit G Chris Osgood from tying Curtis Joseph (16) for third place in all-time playoff shutouts.
Red Wings D Nicklas Lidstrom tied Claude Lemeiux for fourth place on the all-time playoff games played list at 234.
The Penguins won their first playoff game in which forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — the NHL's top two post-season scorers — did not record a point. Entering Game 6, either Crosby or Malkin had scored a point in each of the club's 29 post-season victories since 2007.
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