2008-2009 Stanley Cup Final

#4 East – Pittsburgh Penguins

#2 West – Detroit Red Wings

GAME 1: DET 3, PIT 1

GAME 2: DET 3, PIT 1

GAME 3: PIT 4, DET 2

GAME 4: PIT 4, DET 2

GAME 5: DET 5, PIT 0

GAME 6: June 9 @ PIT, 8pm, NBC,CBC,RDS

*GAME 7: June 12 @ DET, 8pm, NBC,CBC,RDS

* If necessary; All times Eastern

Home is where the heart is. Through five games of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final, both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the defending champion Detroit Red Wings have won each game on their home ice. That trend continued on Saturday, as the Red Wings trounced the Eastern Conference Champion Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 in front of a jubilant Joe Louis Arena crowd. The Red Wings took a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final and will look to raise their second Cup in as many seasons on Tuesday, June 9, as the series returns to the Steel City. However, the Penguins have other plans in mind.

Detroit, which has won 11 of 12 post season games played in the Joe Louis Arena, was boosted by the return of all-world centerman Pavel Datsyuk, who had been sidelined with a foot injury – believed to be a broken bone in some media circles – since the end of Game 2 in the Western Conference Finals. Datsyuk, a natural centerman, played wing on a line centered by Henrik Zetterberg and flanked by Cleary on the opposite wing. This line, which overpowered Pittsburgh defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Brooks Orpik, and forwards Chris Kunitz, captain Sidney Crosby, and Miroslav Satan, was able to put the puck into the net – Dan Cleary’s ninth of the playoffs – at 13:32 of the first period. Datsyuk was credited with the primary assist.

Cleary’s goal deflated the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had originally stormed out of the gate and were holding pressure in Detroit’s end of the ice. Cleary’s goal also came just over three minutes after the Red Wings killed off a 2-minute Niklas Kronwall tripping penalty.

Valtteri Filppula netted his third goal of the postseason at 1:44 of the second period, just moments after Pittsburgh had killed a 2-minute goaltender interference penalty levied against Chris Kunitz, giving Detroit a 2-0 lead.

And then … the wheels fell off.

Frustration boiled over for the Penguins, who began a march to the penalty box in the second period that put Game 5, and possibly the Stanley Cup, out of reach. The Red Wings scored three power play goals in the second period – Kronwall at 6:11, Brian Rafalski at 8:26, and Henrik Zetterberg at 15:40 – to give the home team a 5-0 lead.

After Zetterberg netted his eleventh postseason tally, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma decided that goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had seen enough for the evening, relieving him of goaltending duty and inserting Mathieu Garon for his first appearance of the postseason. Fleury allowed five goals on twenty-one shots in just over thirty-five minutes of work. Garon’s relief appearance lasted just over twenty-four minutes in which he faced, and stopped, eight Detroit shots.

On the other side of the ice, netminder Chris Osgood rebounded after allowing seven goals in two games in Pittsburgh, with a twenty-two save shutout. Osgood will be looking to finish up the Cup Final on Tuesday, making him a four-time Cup champion. With over 300 wins to his credit, and (possibly) four Cups, Osgood may solidify his position as a Hall of Fame candidate upon his retirement.

The outcome of the contest came as a complete surprise to many, as many hockey analysts stated that the compressed schedule of games would take its toll on the older, veteran legs of the Detroit Red Wings compared to the youthful and energetic legs of the majority of Pittsburgh Penguins players.

“Anything like that — too old, too tired, too slow, that doesn’t bother us one bit,” Detroit forward Dan Cleary told NHL.com. “We pride ourselves on being a good team, being fast, working hard and we showed it tonight.”

The 5-0 thrashing places all the pressure on the Pittsburgh Penguins, who will return to the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, PA hoping to stave off elimination and watch the Detroit Red Wings skate on their home ice carrying the Stanley Cup for the second season in a row after Game 6. In particular, the Penguins wish to prevent former Penguin, current Detroit Red Wing, Marian Hossa from adding his name to Lord Stanley’s Mug. Hossa, who turned down a multi-million dollar, multi-year deal with the Penguins for a one-year, $7.45 million deal with Detroit, publicly stated his reason for leaving the Penguins for Detroit was the distinct prospect of winning the Stanley Cup in a Red Wings sweater this season.

Tune in for Game 6 to see if the Penguins will be able to stay alive and force a Game 7 in Detroit, where they have not been able to win so far within the Stanley Cup Final.

Penalties a Plenty for the Pittsburgh Penguins
As mentioned before, tempers flared and many Penguins lost their composure. Here is a list of the many infractions incurred by Pittsburgh during their dismal Game 5 performance.

First period
Chris Kunitz, 2 minutes for goaltender interference (19:39)

Second Period
Sergei Gonchar, 2 minutes for slashing (5:53)
Evgeni Malkin, 2 minutes for elbowing (6:48)
Chris Kunitz, 2 minutes for roughing (13:50)
Sidney Crosby, 2 minutes for slashing (17:37)
Maxime Talbot, 2 minutes for slashing (17:57)

Third Period
Pascal Dupuis, 2 minutes for high sticking (15:50)
Craig Adams, 10 minute misconduct (15:50)
Evgeni Malkin, 2 minutes for cross checking (18:08)
Matt Cooke, 10 minute misconduct (18:08)
Maxime Talbot, 10 minute misconduct (18:08)

Pittsburgh – Total Penalties
12 penalties, 48 PIM

Three Stars of the Night
1. DET LW Henrik Zetterberg
2. DET C Pavel Datsyuk
3. DET G Chris Osgood

Detroit Red Wings – Quotables

“I thought the whole team showed up with determination tonight. “(Zetterberg) was one of our leaders up front the way he played — the way he played against Crosby; but on the offensive end, too. He’s making plays and playing real well for us.”

- Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom

“You try not to pay attention to it. The media try to get some things going. You just focus on your game. Of course you get tired at the end of games. But yesterday, we had a day off. We refocused and we were ready to go today.”

- Detroit Red Wings C Henrik Zetterberg

“It’s obviously a special night when you know you have a chance to win the Cup in one single hockey game – Detroit Red Wings G Chris Osgood

You play for home ice and we have it, but that doesn’t give you any guarantees. You always want to try and get that fourth win sooner than later. We have to play like we’re a desperate team.”

- Detroit Red Wings forward Kirk Maltby

“It’s the first time I’ve been in this position, so close. That would be a dream come true (to win it in Pittsburgh), obviously.”

- Detroit Red Wings RW Marian Hossa