for this game

Red Wings edge Penguins, capture Stanley Cup

Jun 5, 2008 - 5:53 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Two days after watching their chance to win the Stanley Cup on home ice vanish in the final seconds of the third period, the Detroit Red Wings did not allow history to repeat itself Wednesday.

Conn Smythe Trophy winner Henrik Zetterberg scored a goal and set up another as the Red Wings captured their fourth Stanley Cup championship in 11 seasons with a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Finals.

"It feels pretty good," Zetterberg said. "It's been a long season, especially the last few nights. (Monday) in Joe Louis Arena was devastating. It's just a great feeling right now."

Defenseman Brian Rafalski and Valtteri Filppula also scored for the Presidents' Trophy-winning Red Wings, who have claimed the Stanley Cup 11 times in their 82-season history - the most among United States-based teams.

"To be able to share this journey with the guys and to be able to share it with the city of Detroit, and obviously my family, that's very emotional," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I'm sure I'm going to have some emotional moments in the next week just thinking about it. But to have your name on the Stanley Cup, pretty special."

Pavel Datsyuk and blue-liner Niklas Kronwall each recorded two assists and Chris Osgood made 20 saves for Detroit, which went 14-0 when leading after two periods this postseason.

One of five members of each of Detroit's last four championship teams, defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom became the first European-born captain to raise the Stanley Cup - an accomplishment he feels honored to have.

"It's something I'm very proud of," said Lidstrom, a five-time Norris Trophy winner - and finalist again this season. "I've been over here (in North America) for a long time, and I watched Steve Yzerman hoist it three times in the past. I'm very proud of being the first European. I'm very proud of being a captain of the Red Wings."

Hart Trophy finalist Evgeni Malkin and Marian Hossa tallied and Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 27 shots for Pittsburgh, which made a furious attempt to knot the game in the final seconds of the third period - something it managed to accomplish in Game Five at Detroit on Monday.

"We got a great effort from the guys," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "We tried to leave it all out there, but obviously, we came up short."

"I'm almost speechless," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "It's tough. We were that close. ... We got beat by a quality team. ... They were tough to play against, and the hockey god was not on our side tonight."

After rallying from a one-goal deficit in the third period to take a 3-2 lead in Game Five, the Red Wings watched Maxime Talbot score with 34.3 seconds remaining to forge a tie. Petr Sykora then netted a power-play goal at 9:57 of the third overtime to extend the Penguins' season.

After Zetterberg gave Detroit a 3-1 advantage 7 1/2 minutes into the third period Wednesday, it did not appear as if Pittsburgh would be able to pull off another comeback. But Hossa deflected defenseman Sergei Gonchar's shot from the blue line past Osgood with 1:27 to go in the third, giving the Eastern Conference champions a glimmer of hope.

But Osgood denied Crosby's backhander with one second remaining, and Hossa's attempt to chip in the puck from the right side failed as time expired, preventing Pittsburgh from forcing a Game Seven.

"Had a chance there on the side of the net," Crosby said. "Hossa had a chance there, but the puck just kind of slid through the crease."

"It was chaotic the last 40 seconds," Osgood said. "We had (the puck) out of the zone with 10 seconds left and they made a great play. ... Crosby was flying. I knew it was a good backhander. I tried to get as far out as I could and it ended up hitting my arm. I think time had run out before it started rolling over the side of the net. I was happy to see the ref yell time was up when I looked up."

Had the puck gone in the net, the goal would not have counted as time expired before Hossa even made his attempt. Nonetheless, it proved for an anxious moment for the Red Wings.

"We knew it was going to be tight all the way to the end," Zetterberg said. "When they had a chance, I don't know how many seconds was left, but when I saw the puck behind the net and I looked up and it was 00:00 on the game clock, I was a pretty happy man."

A finalist for the Selke Trophy, Zetterberg had scored just 15 goals in 40 previous career playoff games entering this postseason. But the Swede emerged as a hero for Detroit, finishing tied with teammate Johan Franzen for the league lead with 13 goals and even with Crosby with 27 points.

None of Zetterberg's goals were bigger than the one with which he was credited at 7:36 of the third period. From the left faceoff circle, he unleashed a shot that hit the skate of Gonchar and trickled between the legs of Fleury.

The Penguins goaltender believed he had the puck frozen, but no whistle was blown. As the puck lay in the crease, Fleury sat back, knocking it into the net with his backside.

Following a video review, the goal stood, giving Detroit a 3-1 bulge.

"That's a goal," Talbot said. "It was a goal, and you can't take anything from that. Good for them."

Fleury's teammates refused to lay any blame on the netminder for the tally.

"We told him, if there's one thing, hold your head high because we wouldn't be here without him," Pittsburgh defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "He's our MVP of the playoffs."

"I don't think really anything needs to be said about him," Crosby added. "Without him, we wouldn't be in this position. Without him, we wouldn't be here (in the Finals)."

The goal proved to be Zetterberg's fourth game-winner of the playoffs.

"That third goal hurt, but we still had our chances," Crosby said.

Game Five hero Sykora had a chance to give Pittsburgh the lead early in the first period, but his shot from the right hash marks just 2:12 into the contest was stopped by Osgood.

Less than three minutes later, the Red Wings cashed in on their first power play of the night.

From the right circle, Zetterberg made a backhand pass to Rafalski at the top of the left circle. With Tomas Holmstrom setting a screen in front of Fleury, the defenseman unleashed a wrist shot that found the top right corner of the net at 5:03 for a 1-0 edge.

"I thought the pressure was on (the Penguins), to be in their building and to be down (three games to two)," Lidstrom said. "I thought our team really responded well. We got the first goal and we didn't look back after that."

The Penguins were awarded a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage shortly thereafter, as Kris Draper was called for roughing just 27 seconds after teammate Dallas Drake received a charging minor. But Pittsburgh managed just two shots on goal during the 93-second two-man power play, both of which were turned aside by Osgood.

"It was huge," Zetterberg said of successfully killing the 5-on-3. "It's not the first time they had a two-man advantage. It was a great opportunity for them to score, but we battled through it."

Filppula doubled Detroit's lead just over eight minutes into the second period.

After Fleury stopped Mikael Samuelsson's wrister from the top of the right circle, Filppula backhanded the rebound between the netminder's pads at 8:07 for his fifth goal of the postseason.

"It makes a pretty big difference," Whitney said of the two-goal deficit. "Trying to get two is a steep thing to do."

Gary Roberts had a glorious opportunity to halve the deficit with 6:25 remaining, but the veteran was unable to lift the puck over the extended stick of Osgood from the left side of the net. Pittsburgh, however, broke through less than two minutes later.

Entering without a goal in the Finals after netting nine over the first three rounds of the playoffs, Malkin ended his drought with 4:34 left in the second period, blasting a shot from the top of the left circle between Osgood's pads.

"At the beginning of the series, I didn't play my best games and I was pretty nervous with what to expect," Malkin said through an interpreter. "At the end of the series, I feel big help from my coaches, from my teammates, who just helped me out."

Malkin, who set up Sykora's winning goal in Game Five for his first point of the Finals, received praise from Penguins owner Mario Lemieux despite his struggles.

"I thought he had a great playoff," Lemieux said. "It's tough to get to the end. It's two months of grind. I've been there before, and it's always difficult to get to the end."