Stanley Cup Finals Game 5 is an instant classic

June 03, 2008 | Ed Frankovic

This Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which is now headed into OT, is already an instant classic. The Pens jumped to a 2-0 lead only to see the Red Wings score three straight goals to take a 3-2 lead midway through the 3rd period. However, the Pens tied it up with 34 seconds left on Maxime Talbot’s rebound goal.

This game has been incredible with constant end to end action, hitting, injuries (Pittburgh’s Ryan Malone took a puck in the face and Sergei Gonchar smashed hard into the boards – but both were back in the 3rd period), and some great goals and non-goals. Pavel Datsyuk’s near goal when it was 2-1 Pens was the result of a sensational move. Only the crossbar saved goalie Marc Andre-Fleury.

If you aren’t watching this game I suggest you flip over to NBC to catch the OT. There will be no commercials once OT starts and we will either see the Wings hoisting the Cup or a back from the dead Penguins team take this series to Pittsburgh for Game 6.

One final note: Good to see the Orioles win tonight. I’ve had it with Boston and their “rub it in our faces” fans.

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Update at 1129pm

Well we are heading to the second overtime. The Wings dominated that period and Fleury was outstanding in net for the Pens.

Referee Paul Devorski made a terrible call on Henrik Zetterberg for goalie interference as he was knocked into Fleury by Pens defensemen Hal Gill. Why is Devorski still officiating playoff games?? His disgrace of a job in the Caps-Philly Game 7 should have ended his duties for the season. Where was the goalie interference call on Patrick Thoreson in that game??

Other than the Pittsburgh power play, the Red Wings seemingly had the puck the entire OT. Wings coach Mike Babcock switched up his top 2 lines midway through the game moving Johan Franzen up with Zetterberg and Datsyuk and moving banged up Tomas Holmstrom down with Mikael Sameulsson and Valtteri Filppula and it has worked. Pens coach Michel Therien has loaded up his top line with Sydney Crosby, Marian Hossa, and Evgeni Malkin playing together. So far they are the only line in OT generating anything.

I like Detroit to win but the way Fleury is going in net anything can happen. I think Wings goalie Chris Osgood is going to the ice too early tonight. It could cost them if the Pens can generate any even strength offense.

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Update at 1215am

On to OT #3!!

Both Pittsburgh and Detroit received power plays in the second overtime and I thought both were calls that should NOT be made in OT. Devorski and his partner Dan O’Halloran need to let the players decide the game. Only blatant penalties on scoring chances should be called at this point. My lifetime disdain for NHL referees carries on…

Anyways, the coaching chess match continues as both teams changed their top 2 lines again. Penguins put Crosby-Hossa and Pascal Dupuis back together with Malkin, Petr Sykora, and Jarkko Ruutu on the 2nd line. Detroit’s move was a bit puzzling because Datsyuk and Zetterberg have been split up. Datsyuk is with the seemingly crippled Holmstrom and Filppula while Zetterberg is with Samuelsson and Franzen. If I were Babcock I’d put Frazen back with Zetterberg and Datsyuk and move Dan Cleary up to play with Samuelsson and Filppula. Holmstrom looks like he can barely skate. I thought the Penguins carried the first half of the period and then the Wings got going in the 2nd half. Overall edge to Pittsburgh in that period. Again, I didn’t like Babcock’s line combinations but with Nicklas Lidstrom on defense he got away with it.

Bad news for Pittsburgh because defenseman Sergei Gonchar appears done for the night from the injury he received when he crashed into the boards in the 2nd period (he was temporarily back in the 3rd period).

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Updated 1247am

Well there will be no bubbly tonight for the Detroit Red Wings as Petr Sykora scored the game winner for the Penguins on a 4 minute power play in the third overtime. I despise overtime power play goals but the referees had to call this penalty because Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler was VERY careless with his stick cutting Pens defenseman Rob Scuderi in the mouth. Amazingly Gonchar came out to play on the power play and it didn’t take the Pens long to put the puck in the net (only 36 seconds into the PP). Gonchar and Malkin had the assists. This series is now 3-2 in favor of the Wings.

Game 6 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Don’t miss it!

 

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