"I just loved
the way that he played," Therrien said. "The time he was on the ice, he
was doing the right thing. And as a coach, you gotta see those things. He was
around the puck, around it at the time. And it's a feeling, too, that coaches
need to have at that time."
So Talbot joined
Crosby, Malkin and Hossa as the quartet of Pittsburgh forwards buzzing around
the net in the most desperate minute of the season.
As a Hockey Hall
of Fame employee polished the Stanley Cup, Talbot, a fourth-liner, an energy
guy, a construction worker's son, scored the biggest goal of his career with
34.3 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
There is no way
Osgood should have abandoned the post to his left, and there is no way Talbot
should have had two solid whacks at the puck from the doorstep without Lidstrom
or Rafalski knocking him on his derriere, but Talbot's persistence is the
hallmark of the play that saved the Pittsburgh season. On a team that provided
a month's worth of hockey heroics in one evening and part of the next
morning—Malone played with a mangled kisser and cotton crammed up his already
broken nose; defenseman Sergei Gonchar returned from back spasms sustained
after a late second-period run-in with the end boards for the power play in the
third overtime; the struggling Sykora told NBC's Pierre McGuire on the bench
during overtime that he would score the winner, which he did at 9:57 of the
third extra session to end the fifth-longest game in Cup finals history—there
was no contribution greater than the one provided by Talbot, an eighth-round
draft choice who had scored a mere 30 goals in 186 NHL games.
Detroit 3. This was not a game, this was hockey's version of War and Peace.
June 4, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh
RED WINGS 3, PENGUINS 2
All the way back
in the first round, Lidstrom, as Detroit captain, secretly had allowed himself
the luxury of pondering which teammate would get the Stanley Cup after him
if—when—the Red Wings won it.
all the players on our team, Dallas [Drake] is one of the first ones I played
with," said Lidstrom, the Stanley Cup beside him on a podium after the 3-2
clinching win in Game 6. "He came in the year after I did. He's been in the
league 16 years. He's had a good, long career. And he had never been to a final
before. So it felt natural for me to give it to him for all the effort and
hours and everything he's put into the game—and not having a chance to hoist a
On an elegant team
the 39-year-old Drake, part of the same great 1989 Detroit draft with Lidstrom,
was the old warhorse, a fourth-liner who would throw checks, sacrifice himself,
do a lot of the heavy lifting for the Red Wings. As Lidstrom sagely decided,
this hockey lifer deserved to do a little more heavy lifting.