Wing and prayer for NHL's Pens

Jun 9, 2009 5:02 PM
Power Plays by by Mark Mayer |
playoffs
NHL
last wk
17-9-2
78-58-3
2-0

"Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone," – "Big Yellow Taxi."

Pavel Datsyuk (pictured) made his arrival off the injury list in Game 5 and just may have sent the Pittsburgh Penguins to Joni Mitchell’s parking lot.

Now the question is who will arrive in Pittsburgh for Game 6 and stop Detroit from notching a second straight Stanley Cup?

Datsyuk’s presence injected life in a Red Wings team that appeared tired from playing three games in five nights. He also dealt out two assists and laid out a few hits in a 5-0 clinic that put the Wings in firm command of a series they saw slipping through their fingers in Pittsburgh.

Everything that didn’t work in Pittsburgh, succeeded at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings scored three power play goals and allowed none. Detroit had been 1-for-10 on power play tries prior to Game 5.

The Red Wings also kept Sidney Crosby off the scoreboard for the third straight time in Detroit. The same thing happened last year when the Penguins were bounced at home in Game 6.

And that very same fate is staring Pittsburgh in the face Tuesday night.

In Game 5, Detroit sent Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to the showers in the second period. In his defense, seeing nine power plays thrown your way can unsettle any NHL goalie.

Now it’s up to the Penguins to send the series back to Detroit. Even though Mathieu Garon did not allow any further damage in Game 5, it would be highly unlikely that Fleury would be benched for Game 6.

As for Chris Osgood, he picked up his 15th career playoff shutout and simply gets the job done. The Wings goalie has been rock solid except for that patch in the second period of Game 4 when Pittsburgh struck for three goals, including one short-handed.

The Penguins held a 3-2 lead on Washington and lost Game 6 at home, only to come back and win the series in Washington. I still believe that Pittsburgh will find a way to send it back to Detroit and win the Cup.

The Penguins are a -140 favorite at the Hilton. For sure, playing at home will be a big edge for the Penguins. I just wonder who can outdo Mario Lemieux and Ben Rothlisberger for pre-game inspiration?

How about Bill Mazeroski?

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Mark Mayer