For the Detroit Redwings, last nights match was a must win game. With a 3-1 game lead for the Stanley Cup trophy the Wings needed just one final “V” to earn the title of champions. They were playing in front of their home crowd and everything appeared to be in prime position for their potential hoisting of the cup.
Unfortunately for the ’Wings, the fifth game in the series was also a must win game for the Pittsburg Penguins. In order to continue competing for hockey’s greatest honor, the Penguins needed to pull off a big upset…and they did.
The final score of the match was Penguins 4, Redwings 3. But don’t let this score fool you…last night’s match was all about the Redwings, but sadly it was their game to lose.
At the start of the game the ’Wings were playing nervously. They were not possessing the puck as well as they had in the past four games. The team made several mistakes in the first quarter which ultimately cost them two goals.
The second goal was the result of a terrible play by one of the Redwings’ defensemen. He attempted to clear the puck from the goal box, but his pass was too sharp and it was easily deflected by an opponents skate and into the net. The Redwings couldn’t have given them an easier goal.
The 2-0 lead only lasted the first period. Three minutes into the second period the ’Wings finally put a point on the board. The play became even more aggressive between the rivaling teams, but the referees only seemed to be calling penalties against the home team.
This didn’t phase the Redwings at all. They went on to score two more goals to take the lead. With only a minute left in the third quarter it looked as if the Redwings would be raising the trophy shortly. It seemed as if everyone in the Joe Louis Arena was ready for its unveiling, but the Penguins were not ready to give up their own Stanley Cup dreams.
With just 34.3 seconds left Max Talbot scored the equalizing goal for the Penguins.
Unbelievably the game went on for three overtime periods before either team scored the golden goal. With the Redwings relentless attacking Penguins’ net it seemed as if the title would soon be theirs. The Penguins’ keeper, Marc-Andre Fleury, truly was the man of the match.
While the ’Wings greatly out shot the Penguins they did not make the one shot that mattered. That honor belongs to Penguin Petr Sykora who scored the winning goal with just over nine minutes left in the third overtime.
The battle will now move to the Penguins’ home turf. The game is scheduled at 8 p.m. eastern time on Wednesday June 4.