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Fleury rebounds, Penguins force 7th game in 2-1 win over Wings

One more time for all the marbles.

Marc-Andre Fleury rebounded from a poor game in Game Five to a stellar effort in Game Six, stopping 25 of the 26 shots, to propel the Penguins to a 2-1 win and a return trip back to Detroit for Game Seven on Friday night.

Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy scored for the Penguins, while Kris Draper scored for the Wings.  Chris Osgood was excellent in net as well for the Wings, making 29 saves on 31 shots on goal, with several of those of the outstanding variety.

The Penguins gave their best team effort of the series at the Igloo tonight, as could be expected with them facing elimination.  The Pens blocked 20 shots and were credited with 35 hits.  In addition, the Pens’ defense collectively played their best game as well, particularly Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi.

Scuderi had to do his best Fleury impression with a loose puck in front of the net late in an absolutely hectic third period.  Scuderi actually made two left skate saves on pucks that were headed to the net before the whistle was finally blown.  In addition, Scuderi was there to swat away a loose puck in front of an open net midway through the third period that would have tied the game up at two.

But it’s Fleury that is now giving the Penguins the chance to win the Stanley Cup on Friday night.  He “only” had 25 saves, but a majority of those were pretty decent scoring chances by the Wings.  He got a fortunate bounce on a wrister off the post by Henrik Zetterberg that Fleury was able to stop this time, as compared to last year’s Game Six when he deflected the puck into the net off his rear end.  He also made three consecutive saves early in the third period.  But it was his save on a breakaway chance by Dan Cleary that preserved the Penguins’ victory.

The first period was scoreless, even though the Penguins were given two powerplays but couldn’t convert.  The Penguins’ momentum from the raucous crowd translated to a 12-3 advantage in shots in the first.

The Pens got the first tally of the game early in the second period when Staal chipped the puck past Valtteri Filppula that resulted in a 2-on-1 break.  Staal looked towards Matt Cooke but instead fired a wrister that Osgood stopped, but Staal was able to poke the rebound into the net to make it 1-0 Penguins only 51 seconds into the second period.

It stayed that way until about five minutes into the third period when Max Talbot and Kennedy did a good job of cycling the puck down low, with Talbot making a pass to Kennedy, who brought the puck around the net and was able to poke the shot past Osgood for the huge insurance goal making it 2-0 Pens.

And they would need that insurance, because only a couple of minutes later the Wings would cut the lead in half.  Jonathan Ericsson’s slapper from the left point was stopped by Fleury, but gave up a big rebound that Draper was able to corral and bang home to make it 2-1 Penguins with 11:59 left in the game.

The Wings really put the pressure on for the remainder of the game with 14 shots on goal in the period, but Fleury was solid in net.  That also included two Wings’ powerplays, but the Pens’ penalty kill had several blocked shots to thwart the Wings.  The last couple of minutes were extremely hectic including the massive scrum in front of the net and the Fleury save on the Cleary breakaway.

Other notes:
- Bill Guerin and Kennedy led the Pens with 6 shots on goal each.
- Kennedy, Gill and Scuderi led the Pens with +2.
- Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke each had 5 hits.

So, it all comes down to Game Seven Friday night back in Detroit.  A fitting end to this great series.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: detroit+red+wings, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins


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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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