Remember those tee shirts I told you about? The ones the Pens are wearing that say “Sacrifice” in five languages? Game Five was all about sacrifice.
In a three overtime game that ended a little before 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the Pens proved that persistence pays big dividends as they gave it everything they had and more and willed themselves through the game.
The Pens went up 2-0 in the first period on goals by Hossa and Hall. The Wings came back in the second with a goal from Helm. The third period was all Detroit as Datysuk scored on a power play and Rafalski put them ahead 3-2. With only 34 or 35 seconds separating the Red Wings from the Cup, Max Talbot worked hard and tied it up! And let the overtimes begin!
The fans agonized through two entire 20 minute periods, knowing one shot could give the Cup to the Wings and send the Pens home for the season - but also knowing that one shot from us would take us back to Pittsburgh and Igloo, Sweet Igloo. By the time the third OT rolled around, my nerves and my voice were shot!
Petr Sykora told the NBC announcer he was going to score and true to his word, nine minutes and fifty-seven seconds in, he did! The Pens were on a four minute power play because Jiri Hudler high-sticked and cut Rob Scuderi. That was all the extra advantage they needed to pull this unbelievable game out! Instant Classic!
Both teams played their hearts out. Lidstrom played 45 minutes and didn’t even look winded. Osgood stopped 32 shots, while Fleury stopped 58. Quality, not quantity, mattered in this contest.
The Frenchmen who sacrificed were Fleury who made stops that we thought surely were going in and Max who worked like a demon and made good things happen.
The Russians who sacrificed were Sykora (he of the game winning goal) and Sergei Gonchar, who didn’t play for three periods after he was injured blocking a shot, then nonchalantly worked the point on the power play and helped set up the game winner.
The Americans who sacrificed were Ryan Whitney, who played an astounding 50 minutes and Ryan Malone, who took a puck to his already broken nose, breaking it again and needing stitches. Of course none of that deterred him and he was on the ice for the winning goal.
The Slovakian who sacrificed was Marian Hossa who scored the first goal and did all he could to help the team keep possession of the puck.
The Finn who sacrificed was Jarko Ruutu who as usual took a beating, but just kept on coming.
All those sacrifices by all those players add up to a group of teammates who play for each other, willing to do whatever it takes.
So the rollercoaster ride continues – up the hills of Western Pennsylvania again!
I’m thinking a jelly donut may be the best choice to celebrate this game – the guys’ legs will feel like jelly tomorrow! Whatever donut you choose, enjoy!
Hockey is June – you gotta love it!
I think the hockey gods teamed up with the lottery gods because the mid-day winning lottery number in Pennsylvania on game day was 8784 (Crosby = 87) and the late day winning number was 7171 (Malkin = 71). Thank you to both sets of gods.
I think I saw a sign that could have worked against the Red Wing fan who held it. His sign read: Kid “Rocks” Detroit. Obviously, he was referring to Kid Rock, but just as easily Sid the Kid could have rocked Detroit. Sid played great as usual, but had no goals to show for his fine efforts.
I think I love the people who run the incline in Pittsburgh. There are signs on each car so that when the two cars meet halfway up Mt. Washington, the signs read: Let’s Go Pens.
I think I liked that the Pens have brought back the old “Jaws” music for power plays at Mellon Arena. I remember that from the last two Cup runs.
I think the Red Wing fans deserve a big assist in this game for staying at the Joe through three overtimes!
I think Pittsburgh fans should recall the 1960 World Series. In that series, the Pirates were playing the big, bad, much more touted New York Yankees. The Pirates weren’t given much of a chance to win by anyone. They lost a couple of games 12-2 and 10-0 (I think) but they just kept hanging in there and pushed the series to a seventh game. Bill Mazeroski hit a home run that won the game for the Buccos – and afterwards one of the players, Gino Cimoli, said, “They broke all the records, and we won the game!” Miracles do happen.
See you back in the ‘burg, boys!
Recent Columns from Jan Snyder
Back to Detroit We Go
Mowed Down in Motown Part Two
Mowed Down in Motown Part One
Of Octopi and Penguins
Why We are Here
Pens Come Home and Rule the Roost
Talbot Tickles the Twine
Jen's Playoff Report
Thanks to Hossa!
No Donut for You!
Ooh La La
Ding!Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
Open Letter to Lisa
Recent Columns from Lisa Ovens
In Memory of Luc Bourdon
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Playoff Fashion Issue
Public Service Announcement
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Becoming a Blanket NHL Fan
Happy Birthday to Me!
Green Hockey Players