Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pull it together

Penguins, Wings prepare for improbable Game 6

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings are playing a game they didn't want to play, in a city where they don't want to be, against a growing-confident Pittsburgh Penguins team they were certain would be long gone by now.

Such are the perils of the Stanley Cup finals where, as the Red Wings discovered during a riveting but heartbreaking Game 5, no lead is truly safe and no team is safely eliminated until the final horn sounds.

Fifty-eight minutes won't do it. Neither will 59 1/2 minutes, as the Red Wings were reminded during their history-making 4-3, triple-overtime loss Monday night that cut their lead to 3-2 and sent the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

The Stanley Cup was unpacked and spiffed up, so close the Red Wings could touch it. Only they couldn't after Pittsburgh's Max Talbot tied it with only 34.3 seconds remaining and Petr Sykora won it in the third overtime, giving the Penguins new life in a finals that appeared over.

"Afterward, you realize we did have a great chance to win it. But we didn't," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "So that's it. You have to put that behind you and move on."

Still, the disappointment was tangible. No NHL team has gone so deep into an elimination game with a lead only to have it yanked away, teased and tempted by the Cup before having it stowed for another night.

The rest of the story.

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