MAN, the Pittsburgh Penguins sure made it interesting last night! Going in to Game 4, they trailed the Detroit Red Wings three games to one. Detroit had every opportunity to win the best-of-seven series (and the CUP!!) at home in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans. And with mere seconds left on the clock in the third period and the scoreboard reading Detroit 3 Pittsburgh 2, it looked like Lord Stanley's Cup was all but theirs.
But then, Maxime Talbot hacked and hacked and finally snuck the puck by the Wings' netminder to tie the game with just :35 left on the clock. Detroit tried, but time expired. I cheered. Loudly. DJC wasn't down with all the ruckus I had created.
Overtime, here we come... x3. Yep, that's right, TWO full 20-minute overtime periods and a little over ten minutes of a third. Ugh.
Both teams looked exhausted and totally beat. But the Pens...they looked worse. Case in point:
That's Ryan Malone taking a puck to the face. In super tough-guy styleee, though, Malone would return only minutes later. Sergei Gonchar took a heinous hit in the second period and didn't return until the final seconds of the third overtime, and Evgeni Malkin...who knows what happened to that guy. He was on the ice for most of the game, but based on his lackluster performance, you'd never know it (well, minus his assist on the GWG, that is).
Top honors of the night go to Sidney "One Man Wrecking Crew" Crosby and Petr "Call The Shot" Sykora, who actually did call his shot. In between the second and third overtime, he was interviewed and said that he would be the guy to step up and score the game winner. He was gonna be the hero. And he was. With assists from Malkin and Gonchar, who stepped on the ice solely for that power play, Sykora slammed a beauty by Wings' goalie Osgood FTW! Final score after five and a half periods of hard-core play: Pens 4, Red Wings 3. I cheered more, but not as loudly as I did the first time. ;)
Both teams displayed heart last night and never gave up. The officiating was terrible, with pretty much all the calls going the Pens' way. I felt like the officials were saying, "Here, Pittsburgh, we want you to have the game. We're gonna make some seriously crappy calls so you can win! Here! Take it! We're giving it to you!" And the Pens responded by saying, "Nooooo, it's OK. We don't want it. No, no, no!", but then a funny thing happened. The Pens started to look like they *did* want it. And they kept their legs moving and caused Detroit to take more silly penalties. And in the end, they prevailed to force a Game 6 back in Pittsburgh.
It was an epic playoff game. This is what Stanley Cup hockey is all about. Detroit has only one more game to win before the Cup is theirs for another year, but I am feel like after last night's amazing win, the Pens have the momentum. They have to win two more in a row. Can they do it? Stay tuned...