The Pittsburgh Penguins received outstanding goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury when they needed it the most, and held on to beat the Detroit Red Wings in the 3rd overtime period on Monday night by a score of 4-3. The unlikely win gave the team new life in a series in which they have been dominated more often than not.
It was a gut-wrenching performance by both teams, but the Penguins were pretty much held in control during the 3rd period and during large portions of the overtime periods. After being out-shot 14-4 in that 3rd period and allowing Detroit to score 2 goals to take a 3-2 lead, the young team was able to tie the score with just 35 seconds left in regulation to send the contest into overtime.
After 2 overtime periods in which Detroit again out-shot their opponents by wide margins in each period, both teams were noticeably tired in the 3rd overtime. Red Wings Jiri Hudler took a very foolish and careless high-sticking penalty which gave the Penguins the advantage they needed. Petr Sykora roofed the game-winner over Chris Osgood during the ensuing powerplay to send the series back to Pittsburgh.
Fleury was the number one star of the game as he made 55 saves to keep his team in the contest. The Wings out-shot the Pens by a wide margin of 58 to 32.
There were other heroes for Pittsburgh though as Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Malone both returned to the ice after leaving with injuries earlier. Their presence alone had to provide inspiration to their team-mates.
Ryan Whitney played an unbelievable 50 minutes in the game.
This might have been one game when the younger players of Pittsburgh finally had an advantage over the experience of the Wings. The older players had to be feeling it in those overtime periods.
Next up is game 6 in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. The Penguins should feel refreshed while the Wings might just be a step slower. Anything can happen now.