for this game

Penguins attempt to stave off elimination

Jun 4, 2008 - 1:22 PM Detroit at Pittsburgh 8:00 pm EDT

Stanley Cup Finals - Detroit leads, 3-2

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- With the Stanley Cup almost in hand, the Detroit Red Wings watched as Max Talbot gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a shot to extend the series. Almost 50 minutes later, Petr Sykora provided his team new life.

The Penguins aim to extend their season by at least one more game when they host the Detroit Red Wings in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday.

After Detroit had rallied with three unanswered goals to overcome an early two-goal deficit in Game Five, the Red Wings appeared well on their way to capturing a fourth NHL championship in 11 seasons. However, those dreams were, at the very least, delayed when Talbot scored with just 34 seconds left in regulation.

The tally was also historic, as the Penguins became the first team in more than 70 years and just the second team ever to escape elimination in the Stanley Cup Finals by scoring a game-tying goal in the final minute of the third period.

The goaltenders - Detroit's Chris Osgood and Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury - put on a defensive display after that as they stopped a combined 38 shots over the next two scoreless 20-minute overtimes.

In the end, however, Sykora followed through on his earlier prediction that he would score the game-winning goal, beating Osgood on the power play at 9:57 in the third overtime.

"Just between the periods, (it was) something stupid I said: 'Guys, I'm just going to get one. So just don't worry about the game. I'm going to get a goal,'" said Sykora, in regards to the prediction he made to a rinkside commentator following the second overtime.

Sykora's tally was the fourth overtime power-play goal in Stanley Cup Finals history - and the first in 28 years.

"I got a great pass from Gino (Evgeni Malkin). I missed it one time before, probably by 20 feet. And it was kind of a lucky play. It hit the ref and went behind the net and Gino got it, made a beautiful pass. I tried to put it upstairs, and the puck went in."

That effort also made Fleury's 55-save performance hold up. It was the most saves in a Stanley Cup Finals game since Olaf Kolzig of the Washington Capitals turned aside 55 shots in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Red Wings in Game One of 1998 series.

In addition, the win moved the Penguins to within two victories of matching a feat accomplished by only one other team in NHL history. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to overcome a three-games-to-one deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Fortunately for the Red Wings, they have avoided a deciding Game Seven in all of their three series so far, winning Game Six on the road against Nashville in the first round and against Dallas in the Western Conference finals.

"This happened to me in 2000," Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski said. "We lost to Dallas at home in triple-overtime, went back in their building and won it. It's not the end of the road. It's (just) one game. There's two games left. We get our first chance on Wednesday."