his level of competitiveness has never flagged, the Pittsburgh captain's goal
breakthrough was welcome if for no other reason than that he wouldn't have to
answer any more questions about it. He would lead the playoffs with 15 goals
because he pays the price, this time from teammate Kris Letang, who jumped
Crosby and drove him to the ice in celebration. Crosby's goal was a gimme, not
a play of supreme skill like the deft touch pass he made to set up Tyler
Kennedy for the Penguins' fourth goal, their third in 5:37. Detroit coach Mike
Babcock didn't chase the Zetterberg versus Crosby matchup, but it is obvious
the Red Wings missed Pavel Datsyuk, who took the warmup but didn't play. Two
stars (Malkin and Crosby) versus one (Zetterberg) no longer looked like a fair
Jordan Staal. The
other Penguins center had played like an innocent bystander through most of the
finals, but a desultory series can be jump-started in an eyeblink, or roughly
the time Staal needed to power past defenseman Brian Rafalski on a Pittsburgh
penalty kill with Detroit leading 2-1. Rafalski is an elite defenseman. And he
had a perfect angle to cut off the center. But Staal found an extra gear and
muscled past him, rapping a puck through Osgood's pads. The goal, Staal's first
in 10 games against Detroit in two finals, "sucked the life out of us,"
But it breathed
life back into the series.
June 6, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit
Red Wings 5, Penguins 0
THE MORAL OF THE
STORY: IF YOU give the Detroit Red Wings a foot, they will take a game.
seven consecutive playoff matches with an injured foot, Datsyuk returned for
Game 5. If this had been a regular-season game there was no chance his gifted
two-way forward would have been in the lineup, Babcock said, but with the
Stanley Cup in the balance there was no time to delay his entry. As Babcock
noted, you can heal all summer.
DAT'S MORE LIKE
IT, the Detroit Free Press headline read the following morning, and who could
argue? Two days after playing like zombies and looking too old to win the
franchise's 12th Stanley Cup, the revitalized Red Wings fashioned a resounding
5-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, who suddenly appeared too young to
win the Cup.
played mostly with Zetterberg against Crosby's line, was superb, announcing his
presence with a check that knocked Malkin on his assets behind the net before
setting up Dan Cleary for the opening goal moments later. Datsyuk also had the
first assist on a power-play goal during a commanding second period in which
the Red Wings pumped four past Fleury, who spent the rest of the evening
watching glumly on the bench.
react well to humiliation. Late in the second period, with everything over
except the accounting, Crosby slashed Zetterberg on the shin. Twenty seconds
later Maxime Talbot took a page out of the Gary Roberts Handbook of Playoff
Etiquette by slashing Datsyuk's bum foot. Talbot later averred he was going
after the puck, but the Penguins' frustration was surely showing.
June 9, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh
Penguins 2, Red Wings 1