In a welcome change of pace from the seemingly endless saga of Will He Or Won't He Play Tonight,
For all the talk about how close this series has been -- both teams exchanging home wins through four games -- the addition of a 5-foot-9, 197-pound forward tilted the scale in the Red Wings' favor. Reunited with his old linemate
"If you watched him all season, you know how much he means to our club," Cleary said. "To be able to come into a Game 5 of the finals and not miss a beat, he's a great player. He's an MVP candidate. What can you say?"
He certainly silenced the Penguins, who began to unravel as the game got out of hand. They took five penalties in the second period, opening the door for the Wings' much improved power play. After going 1-for-9 in the first four games, Detroit made a frustrated Pittsburgh team pay for their misbehavior in the second period, capitalizing on three of their five opportunities with the man advantage, although it was really four. With the seconds on
Then came a succession of Pittsburgh penalties -- three in less than 10 minutes -- and with each one, Detroit pulled further and further ahead. "We let it get out of control," Pittsburgh defenseman
As much as their power play came through, it was Detroit's first-period penalty kill that started it all. With
The Penguins will need to find a way to win in The Joe if they expect to lift that Cup for the first time since 1992, but they won't if they allow themselves to unravel like they did Saturday. As people talked about the fatigued Red Wings after Game 4, we were all reminded that the sword cuts both ways. Unlike talent, maturity is something learned, and the lack of discipline the Penguins displayed, picking up three game misconducts in the last five minutes, was reminiscent of the Chicago Blackhawks' meltdown against the Red Wings in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals: two young teams that couldn't quite keep their emotions in check.
"It's tough," said forward