Crosby, Malkin, Fleury facing a defining moment

PITTSBURGH — This is a defining moment for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby

PITTSBURGH — This is a defining moment for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury are now the cornerstones of the franchise and a big piece of this team’s history will be written in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final on Tuesday (CBC, 6 p.m.).

Trailing the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 for the second year in a row, they’re trying to avoid watching the visitors parade the championship trophy around Mellon Arena once again. It’s going to take a big effort to keep it from happening.

“I like it being a defining moment,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Monday. “You know, moments like this define where you’re at at that particular time. Everyone in that room should be ready to play their best game and make a difference in the game by playing their part, by doing what we do as a team. And that’s the challenge. …

“We need a defining game.”

The last team to lose two straight Stanley Cups was Don Cherry’s Boston Bruins in 1977 and 1978. Both of the losses came at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens and were decided at the old Boston Garden.

Seeing the Red Wings have another celebration on their home ice is something the Penguins desperately want to avoid. They feel more prepared this time around to author a different ending.

“We’re lucky that we’ve made it here twice in a row,” said Fleury. “All the work it takes in a year to get here, we realize how much it takes. We can’t quit now.”

He was pulled during a 5-0 loss in Game 5 and will be one of the players looking to be better. The team’s two stars are also looking to improve — Crosby was minus-2 with one shot on goal Saturday while Malkin took three minor penalties.

They are the players who will likely determine whether this series goes to a Game 7.

“I’ve got to be my best just like everyone else has to,” said Crosby. “These are the games where we all need to find a way to find that extra level. I’m not any different.

“You don’t try to change anything, you just try to make sure you do everything you can to prepare the same way and be your best.”

The Red Wings practised at Joe Louis Arena on Monday morning before travelling to Pittsburgh in the afternoon. There was plenty of excitement in the air with the franchise on the verge of its fifth championship over the past 13 years.

Coach Mike Babcock knows exactly what to expect from the Penguins in Game 6: “Desperation.”

He can’t wait to get things started.

“Can you imagine how much fun it’s going to be?” said Babcock “Just think about it. We’re on a Game 114 coming up — 114. We played 113 last year. Like, uncle already. These are the ones that are fun. Not the one in February, and certainly not the exhibition games we have to play.”

Detroit had its best effort of the series in Game 5 and will be looking to repeat that performance. Babcock indicated that he’ll likely leave Pavel Datsyuk on Henrik Zetterberg’s wing — a successful unit that also included Daniel Cleary on Saturday night.

Overall, the Red Wings have received more scoring from their secondary players in this series.

The four wingers that play with Crosby and Malkin have combined for just seven points in the five games played so far. Even though Bylsma thinks the team can win without getting more from those guys, the players themselves feel the need to start chipping in.

“We really have to pick up the slack,” said Bill Guerin, who plays on Crosby’s wing. “We can’t put that type of pressure on those two guys. They’ve done so much for us. You saw it in Games 3 and 4, guys chipping in and getting some scoring done. Depth is a huge thing right now.

“The more you have, the better you are.”

Just Posted

Red Deer area businesses recognized at Business of the Year Awards night

“It’s an honour just to be nominated.” The popular words echoed throughout… Continue reading

Child sex offender should get 12 years: Crown prosecutor

Stuart Peter Hunt has pleaded guilty to 10 child sexual exploitation and pornography charges

Legalizing cannabis cost estimate for Red Deer just under $400k

Although the province of Alberta has announced $11.2 million for cannabis legalization,… Continue reading

WATCH: Every square tells a story: Edmonton expert is exploring Red Deer’s quilting history

Community members can bring in family heirloom quilts for documentation

Red Deer-area dads going through divorce are invited to Man Up

Support group formed to focus on positive activities, networking

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

PHOTO: Say goodbye to City Hall Park flowers

A sure sign that winter is on its way is when City… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Wickenheiser, Pegula reflect NHL’s trend toward diversity

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With a laugh, Kim Pegula’s competitive nature kicked in… Continue reading

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

DUBBO, Australia — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were jokingly thanked… Continue reading

TV Review: A Roseanne Barr-less ‘The Conners’ is a triumph

NEW YORK — Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? The answer… Continue reading

Canadian manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent in August: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent to… Continue reading

Brian Mulroney joins board of directors of New York-based pot company

NEW YORK — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is joining the board… Continue reading

Canadians waking up to legalized cannabis: ‘My new dealer is the prime minister’

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Canadians across the country woke up to legalized… Continue reading

Most Read