Jordan Staal's(notes) shorthanded goal that tied Game 4 at two was being prematurely labeled as a series turner as soon as the final buzzer sounded. After Detroit rebounded with an impressive 5-0 win to put themselves one victory away from another Stanley Cup title, Staal's goal may have just only helped delay another parade in HockeyTown.
If Pittsburgh is to come back and win this series, they'll have to do it being the first team to win a road game, which would be in a Game 7 no less. Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) will have to steal a game, possibly two. Sidney Crosby(notes) and Evgeni Malkin(notes) will need to dominate the Red Wing defense.
A lot of things will need to happen for the Penguins if they are to capture their third Stanley Cup. For Detroit, they just need to find a way to take Pittsburgh out of their comfort zone, which happened last night. The once disciplined Penguins spiraled out of control and lost a golden opportunity to set themselves up for a Game 6 at home in Mellon Arena.
Now, it's the Red Wings who could skate the Cup around Mellon Arena ice for the second consecutive year and offer Penguins fans an image that could make them sick to their stomachs: Marian Hossa(notes) raising the Cup in front of still-bitter Pittsburgh fans.
After the jump, a look at what's being said about Game Five from a local and national perspective.
The Chief of Abel 2 Yzerman at Kukla's Korner doesn't want to see Detroit win it on home ice, believing that anything can happen in a Game 7:
"One more win and Stanley skates in Pittsburgh, held aloft by a superstar who returned when he felt he could contribute, held high by a future Captain who continues to define playoff leadership. One more win and the Cup will be skated slowly, shaken at the rafters of Mellon Arena as boos cascade down on him all because he lived up to the cliche that "the Cup is the thing.
Yes. If given the choice, I'd rather see this thing end on Tuesday in front of that crowd, than on Thursday in front of 20,000 Wing fans. The reason for that is not to rub it in but to just get this thing over with. Take no chances. None. We don't need a Game 7 in our lives and the Wings are thinking exactly that right now. No. Game. 7."
Seth Rorabaugh from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Empty Netters blog doesn't single out an individual player on the Penguins, he puts the blame on the entire team in white:
"Don't blame Marc-Andre Fleury. Don't blame Dan Bylsma. Don't blame Sidney Crosby. Don't blame Evgeni Malkin. Don't blame Hal Gill(notes) or anyone else. Blame the Penguins. The team. This was a total team effort tonight. Anyone who took the ice in a white jersey tonight can claim a hand in that spanking."
George James Malik of MLive.com's Snapshots blog discusses the Penguins missed opportunity:
"Put simply, the Penguins cracked. The supposedly unstoppable, younger, faster, and (the media would like you to believe) better Penguins completely lost their poise, focus, and minds in a game which they could have used to seize control of the series..."
Joe Starkey from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review praises the Red Wings for ignoring the "old" talk and playing like defending champions:
"If you listened to all the hyperbole heading into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, you would have thought the Detroit Red Wings were now known as the Decrepit Red Wings.
The rest of this ancient group -- including guys such as 22-year-old Darren Helm(notes), 25-year-old Valtteri Filppula(notes), 28-year-old Niklas Kronwall(notes), 29-year-old Johan Franzen(notes) and 30-year-olds Daniel Cleary(notes), Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk(notes) -- was so drained that cots were going be placed in the dressing room for between-periods naps.
Well, guess what? The Red Wings probably have enough energy left to take the Stanley Cup for a little stroll around Mellon Arena come Tuesday. You know, so long as it doesn't interfere with any early bird specials or keep them up past their bedtimes."
With the NBA Finals in full swing, why not a couple of basketball references about Game 5?
First up, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post describes the Penguins as a great team who just can't get over the championship hump. (He also compares Crosby to John Stockton, minus the short shorts of course).
What a laydown, meek, terrible, abominable, atrocious, awful, putrid, lousy, rotten showing tonight by the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Penguins, in Game 5 of the Cup Finals at Detroit.
The Penguins are the old Suns and Jazz wrapped into one. The Suns and Jazz always had good years in the '70s, '80s and '90s, but never could win it all.
These Penguins look like the NHL's version of those two losers.
Absolutely awful performance tonight. I don't care what the Pens do in Game 6; this series is over. And I suspect the Pens will do what they did last year in a Game 6 at home - play close for a while, then lose to the Wings."
Next, Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press thinks that while Detroit might have the advantage at this point in time, it's only a matter of time before the Penguins break through for their own championship:
"Despite a blowout that sent any potential new national hockey audience scurrying for the television remote, this still looks like a seven-game series with the home team finding the necessary rejuvenation. The Penguins likely have one more good fight remaining.
This is comparable to those Pistons-Chicago Bulls Eastern Conference finals battles in 1989 and 1990. The Bad Boys were the reigning NBA champions, toughened through heartache, while the Bulls were the league-infatuated fledglings with the next great transitional superstar who still hadn't won anything.
The Pistons beat the Bulls twice, the second time in a seven-game marathon in which the home team won every time. But even the Pistons knew then that they could only hold back Michael Jordan for so long."
Bob McKenzie on his TSN blog talks about the Maxime Talbot chop to the injured foot of Pavel Datsyuk:
"Was it a ridiculously vicious chop? No. Was it a targeting of an injured player? Absolutely. And some people might suggest that's what the Stanley Cup playoffs are all about but I'm sure the Red Wings would say otherwise as they don't embrace that whole concept of vigilante justice very much. Their idea of getting back at the opposition is to do what they did in Game 5 - score lots of goals."
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News drums up the experience overtaking youth debate:
"Now the old and broken down Red Wings will have an extra day to rest before trying to close out the series in Game 6 in Pittsburgh Tuesday night. To be sure, the Penguins will not be as undisciplined and erratic as they were in Game 5 because they simply cannot afford to be at this stage of the series.
But you have to wonder if experience hasn't trumped youth in this series. Having your 24-year-old star goalie chased from the net is never a good thing, but the Penguins have exhibited a remarkable ability to battle back from less than ideal circumstances in these playoffs."
Finally, Bob Duff of the Windsor Star wondered if the Commissioner is feeling alright
"The television cameras caught NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in his seat during the second period as the Wings poured it on.
Bettman's expression said it all. Watching the team he's tied his league's future to go up in flames, he looked a guy who was suffering from kidney stones."
The Chief caught a screenshot of Bettman and he does look kind of blue:
- the Penguins
- Sidney Crosby