"Two things, I'm not a big believer in letting the goalie outplay you. I think when you do, you have to look at yourself and make sure it doesn't happen again. We can't miss the net 41 times like we did. Pound it off him, get a second chance. They're doing a good job trying to box out, and we have to make sure we're going there and being relentless at their net. And that will be our focus and our plan." - Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings coach
Even in my own excessive tribute the Game 5 heroics of Marc-Andre Fleury, I was careful to note that they guy isn't perfect. His rebound control makes it seem like he's playing goal with two giant foam fingers. His adventures outside the crease are the second-leading cause of heart failure in Pittsburgh, behind Primanti Brothers. But the biggest question mark heading into Game 6 when it comes to Fleury is what kind of goalie he'll be once the Detroit Red Wings start crashing him. Because if it's not a demolition derby out there tonight, I'm not quite sure what the Wings are waiting for -- or how they expect to rattle a keeper that's clearly in the zone.
Have we all forgotten that "first goal wins blah blah bliggity blah" nonsense? Good. It's not about the first goal; it's about the first 20 minutes. I couldn't conceive of a scenario for Game 5 where the Red Wings would come out and play the kind of lackadaisical, poorly positioned defense that they did in Game 3. And yet it happened, and you saw the Pittsburgh Penguins hit the locker room with a two-goal lead. That happens again tonight, say hello to Game 7.
Yet, at the same time, the Red Wings have shown throughout this series that they're capable of dismantling the Penguins' offense for stretches at a time. If that machine shows up early and stymies what should be an electric Pens attack and the crowd to match it, then start polishing the Cup for its close-up.
There are still a ton of questions to be answered in this game. Is Malkin back? If the Wings win, does Zetterberg get the Conn? Can Ryan Malone continue towards the family record for broken beaks? Will every player on the ice goof on Pierre McGuire by guaranteeing things? ("Hey baldy, I guarantee I'm going to take a leak between periods. How ‘bout them apples?")
More previews from Mirtle, Matt Saler of On the Wings, the Game 7-lovin' Maniwaki Mauler, the slightly unhinged Abel to Yzerman and, of course, our own Sean Leahy's continuing Sidney Crosby Beard Watch.
Puck Daddy Live Blog starts at 7:45 p.m. Tell a friend.