In a game filled with emotion and intense play, the experience of the Detroit Red Wings paid off in the end as they barely held on to a 3-2 lead in the closing seconds of play, to win their 4th Stanley Cup in the last 11 years.
Detroit led for most of the games, scoring in the 1st on a powerplay after Rob Scuderi failed to clear the zone. They went ahead 2-0 on Valtteri Filppula’s goal in the second. He skated right past Brooks Orpik on a rush to the front of the net, where Fleury gave up a fat rebound which he wasted no time in burying.
Evgeny Malkin finally scored his first goal of the series late in the 2nd, to cut the lead in half, but Conn Smythe winner Henrik Zetterberg’s shot trickled through Fleury’s pads midway through the third. Marian Hossa scored in the final two minutes of play, with Fleury already on the bench, and gave the Pens life. He nearly sent the game to OT, but his tip-in attempt slid just past the goal mouth as the last two seconds of the season slipped away.
The Penguins played great hockey in the last four games of the series, and can look at their poor performances in Detroit in Games 1 and 2 for reasons why they weren’t hoisting the Cup last night. In the end, Detroit was just too too deep for Pittsburgh to match up with consistently. The defensive play of Zetterberg and Datsyuk neutralized Crosby’s line for much of the series, while the rest of the lines were able to provide more than enough offense for Chris Osgood to work with. Both teams deserved this chance to play for the Cup, and while no one goes home happy after losing the Cup Finals, Pittsburgh should be proud of the turnaround they have completed since finishing last in the Eastern Conference only two seasons ago. The future of this team is bright, but it just wasn’t their time.