Red Wings 5 Penguins 0
DETROIT — Niklas Kronwall, Brian Rafalski and Henrik Zetterberg scored power-play goals in the second period as the Detroit Red Wings found their legs and routed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final on Saturday night.
Detroit leads the best-of-seven series 3-2 and can clinch its 12th Stanley Cup and repeat as NHL champion with a win in Game 6 on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. The Red Wings beat Pittsburgh in six games in last year’s final.
Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma hopes the Penguins will feed off the home crowd and prevent the Wings from winning the Cup in their building for a second straight year.
“(Detroit is) one ahead of us ad we’ve got to go home and use that energy to our advantage and use Game 6 to draw even again.”
Dan Cleary and Valtteri Filppula also scored as the Red Wings chased Pittsburgh starter Marc-Andre Fleury after he conceded his fifth goal of the game at 15:40 of the second period. Mathieu Garon played the rest of the game in the Pittsburgh goal.
Chris Osgood made 22 saves — few of them on dangerous chances — for his second shutout of the playoffs.
And the Detroit power play, held to one goal through the first three games, broke out with three on nine attempts.
“I think we wanted to shoot a little bit more, get to second pucks. We did that,” Zetterberg said. “We spent some more time in their end and eventually we got our goals.”
The Penguins had some early chances, but Detroit took over after taking a 2-0 lead early in the second period and the visitors fell to pieces, running around in panic and taking penalties.
As the teams took to the ice, the crowd of 20,066 chanted the name of Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, who returned after missing seven games with a foot injury. Datsyuk, a centre who skated on the wing with Zetterberg, responded with a pair of assists and seemed to give new legs his previously tired-looking team.
“We’ve been able to have success but it’s been much harder obviously without (Datsyuk),” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “You have to learn how to win a different way.
“I’ve been very impressed with our guys finding a way. We bought time so he could come back and ideally he can help us get over the top.”
Datsyuk’s return paid early dividends on Detroit’s opening goal, as he took a feed at centre from Rafalski and slipped the puck to Cleary for an off-wing shot at beat Fleury high to the glove side at 13:32. It was Cleary’s first goal of the final.
“(Datsyuk) brought a lot of energy on the ice and off the ice,” Zetterberg said. “He looked good when he was skating and he had a really good game.”
“When I play more I’m more comfortable,” Datsyuk said.
“It’s a little hard to start in the final series when I missed a couple of games, but I’m ready to play more, especially with Hank (Zetterberg). (I have) lots of confidence and I’m feeling better and better.”
The rest of the game was dream night for the Detroit faithful, as a party atmosphere reigned in the seats and derisive chants were hurled at Fleury and frustrated Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.