Pens' 'Flower' blooms in elimination game
Marc-Andre Fleury survived the first flurry of shots by the Detroit Red Wings only 2:30 into the third period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final Tuesday night at Mellon Arena, stopping three in a span of seven seconds.
It was a sign of the defensive stand the Penguins would have to endure to defeat the defending champion Red Wings, 2-1, and force a Game 7.
"The first two periods were almost perfectly close," Penguins D Rob Scuderi said. "The last period, we got away from it a little bit."
Fleury withstood 14 shots in the final 20 minutes - including a breakaway — and the Penguins' goalie turned back all but a Kris Draper rebound. Fleury kicked out his left leg to stop a shot by Detroit RW Daniel Cleary, who skated past D Brooks Orpik at the blue line and went forehand-to-backhand.
"Since I'm young, I've been dreaming about making a save on a breakaway for the Cup," Fleury said. "So to have a chance like this to get that thing, it's awesome."
Although the Penguins allowed their only goal in the third period, they twice killed penalties (after giving up three power-play goals in Game 5) and successfully fought off the Red Wings in a frantic final minute.
Only 1:17 after Draper cut it to 2-1, Evgeni Malkin drew a cross-checking penalty. D Hal Gill blocked a Brian Rafalski shot. Fleury stopped Detroit C Henrik Zetterberg's 27-foot wrist shot. D Brooks Orpik blocked a Marian Hossa shot. Fleury stopped a 37-foot wrister by Pavel Datsyuk.
Soon after that PK, Bill Guerin was called for high-sticking, forcing Fleury to withstand shots by D Nicklas Lidstrom, RW Mikael Samuelsson, LW Tomas Holmstrom and Datsyuk again.
Finally, Detroit pulled goalie Chris Osgood with 1:12 remaining. The defense had to overcome an onslaught of shots, including one from the right point by Rafalski. Scuderi came to Fleury's rescue, making two stops himself on RW Johan Franzen in the crease with 13.2 seconds remaining.
For Fleury, it was redemption. He allowed the game-winning goal to slip under him in Game 6 last year, and watched the Red Wings celebrate with the Cup. Fleury also struggled in the 5-0 defeat in Game 5 last Saturday.
"It's a great feeling that we've won that one," Fleury said. "Last year was tough, to lose it and to see the other team have the Cup. Now that we're still alive, we have a chance to go to Game 7, it's awesome."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Timing drives former KHL star Plotnikov
- Penguins notebook: Crosby most excited by Kessel’s footspeed
- Crosby’s off-ice life hardly reflects that of a superstar
- Sestito ready to fight for job on Penguins
- Penguins’ Johnston: Kessel, Crosby likely to open season together
- Ex-Penguin Kennedy skates with former teammates, hopes to catch on with a team
- Penguins defenseman Oleksy brings nasty streak, toughness
- Amid changes, Penguins’ Crosby excited for upcoming season