Stanley Cup Finals, Game 5 (6/6/09)

Tonight Pittsburgh was in Detroit for game five of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Red Wings. I was lucky enough to be in Michigan for a graduation party and family reunion. I arrived in Detroit in the late morning and drove straight through to Charlevoix. We arrived at about 5:30 PM and after a cookout, went to the Town House bar in downtown Charlevoix to watch the game with a dozen or so friends and family members. It was great to watch the game with a roomful of Red Wings fans. That’s a very rare experience for me.

That’s also the reason that I was late getting this article posted by almost a full day.

Datsyuk was ready to go for the Red Wings so he was finally back in the lineup. The only injury for the Wings was Lilja and he’s been out for several months so they’re used to dealing with that. Luckily Ericsson has been fantastic filling in on defense.

The Red Wings started out with good energy. They looked ready to go right from the start. The return of Datsyuk was a big factor. They looked much better defensively.

With about six minutes left in the first period Detroit drew first blood. Datsyuk brought the puck into the zone and passed it across the ice to Cleary. He ripped one that beat Fleury for the Red Wings’ first goal making it one to nothing.

The Wings held that lead until the end of the period and went to the dressing room up by one.

To start the second period, the Red Wings were on a power play that carried over from the first period. Just after the penalty expired Osgood made a long pass down the ice to Hossa in the offensive zone. He passed to Filppula in the slot. Filppula went strong to the net and backhanded one between Fleury’s legs. It was a great play all around. It was nice to see Osgood get a point for the assist.

Later in the second period Detroit had another power play. It didn’t take long for them to cash in. Franzen passed it to Kronwall in the corner. He skated it right to the front of the net and put it in. What a strong play by Kronwall. It was a thing a beauty. That made it three to nothing.

A few seconds later Malkin elbowed Franzen in the face and was called it. Detroit was really pressuring on the power play. They were in Pittsburgh’s end for long stretches getting great chances. Then they got it back to Rafalski at the point after a faceoff win. He moved up near the top of the circle and released a huge snapshot. Holmstrom was in front being a menace. The puck changed direction a little bit and went in giving the Red Wings a four to nothing lead.

Later in the period Kunitz and Helm got into it a little bit. Helm didn’t really do anything to defend himself while Kunitz dropped his gloves and tried to pull Helm’s jersey over his head. He was throwing punches and Helm just stood his ground without punching back. It was a stupid thing for Kunitz to do and indicated how the Penguins were starting to lose their composure. It was smart play by Helm to keep his cool. The way the game had been going the Red Wings didn’t need a lift and going back on the power play negated any boost that Pittsburgh might have felt from Kunitz’s feistiness

On the power play Samuelsson had the puck along the boards. He got it to Hudler at the point. Hudler passed to Zetterberg in front of the net. Zetterberg roofed it and it was five to nothing Wings with over four minutes to go in the second period.

At that point they pulled Fleury and put in Garon.

As the game was winding down the Penguins started taking cheap shots at the Wings. Dupuis hit Kronwall in the head and he got his stick up there, too. It got a little ugly. Three Penguins ended up getting 10 minute misconducts.

Osgood made 22 saves and got the shutout. It was such a dominant performance by the Red Wings. The fatigue that they displayed in the previous game was entirely gone. Being at home was probably a huge boost. Hopefully, they’ll be able to play as well in Pittsburg on Tuesday.

I’ll be in my home town of Bay City for the game on Tuesday so I’ll be watching with a room full of Wings fans once again. I may be a bit late with blog post again.

This 0-5 win brings this Stanley Cup final series to 3-2 Detroit.

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