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When Mathieu Garon is brought on to stop the bleeding, you know things have gotten out of hand. And that pretty much sums up the disaster that was Game Five of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, a 5-0 Red Wings victory that puts them within 60 minutes of clinching a second straight NHL championship.

Down just 1-0 after a first period in which they held a 10-8 lead in shots, the Pens came apart at the seams in the second, allowing four goals in a 14-minute span, three of the power play variety. Pittsburgh seemed determined to do their best Philadelphia Flyers impersonation, racking up penalty after penalty (five in all) in the second stanza. What's even more frustrating is the fact that even someone as traditionally focused as Sidney Crosby would get caught in the penalty vortex, taking a two-minute time-out as a result of a slash on Henrik Zetterberg.

The Red Wings just refused to fight back, as witnessed by Chris Kunitz making Darren Helm into his own personal punching bag. Instead, the Wings were content to take a few bruises for the team in the name of goals. And they were cashing in their power play tickets like a high-roller after a couple hours at Dave and Buster's. The only difference is that they're playing for a prize much more valuable than a giant stuffed giraffe.

A total of four Penguins weren't on the ice by the end of the game, including three guilty of misconduct (Craig Adams, Max Talbot, and Matt Cooke), and Marc-Andre Fleury, who was guilty of allowing five goals on 21 shots.

It was hard to believe that this was the same team that had thoroughly outplayed Detroit in the prior contest, and after Saturday night it's safe to say that the "old" Red Wings probably shouldn't be fitted for wheelchairs just yet. Pavel Datsyuk was impressive after returning from his injury hiatus, getting second-star billing for a two-assist evening. Chris Osgood tossed a shutout, and has allowed just two goals in three home games in the Finals. Zetterberg, though, was the biggest star of all, with a goal and an assist in 20:55 of ice time.

As for the Penguins' "Big Four", Crosby, Malkin, and Jordan Staal combined for just four shots and eight penalty minutes, while Fleury's performance of 11 goals allowed in three Detroit games this series left little doubt that he doesn't mesh well with the surroundings of Joe Louis Arena.

What the Pens (especially Fleury) need now is a very short memory. The nightmares of Game Five need to be exorcised, and fast. There is no doubt that this team has what it takes to win this series, Saturday night aside. They have been counted out too many times and in too many rounds of these very playoffs to give up now. And my gut feeling tells me that this group will be rested and ready for a much better performance in Game Six. I'm sure they don't want to see the Wings skating around with the cup on their ice again. Right, Sid?

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HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Disappointing is an understatement.

I think the young Pens learned a lesson in counting their chickens before they hatch.

BURGH08 said...

I'll take it one step further.

They acted like little bitches.

MAF gave two soft goals, and after the third, Malkin and Crosby melted down, along with Talbot for that matter with the cheap shots/penalties that led to goals.

Losing is one thing, but how they handled the situation was shameful.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I was also disappointed with our composure. I also find it funny how much the Red Wings embellished every bit of contact.

Could you imagine Mike Babcock's reaction after a game in which the Pens had 9 PP to the Wings 2? No matter of validity could justify that if it were the other way around.