Rock-steady Red Wings stifle Pens in Cup-clinching victory
Give 'em credit. The Red Wings know how to keep things interesting.
After blowing their first chance to finish off the never-say-die Pittsburgh Penguins in the waning seconds of Game 5, the Wings almost gave away Wednesday's Game 6 in even more dramatic fashion.
The thrilling finish -- Pittsburgh pulled within a goal when Hossa deflected a
The frustration of Monday's triple-overtime loss behind them, Detroit shook off their demons and played this one with poise and purpose. Unlike the nervous bunch that stumbled out of the gate in Game 5, these were the Wings who dominated the NHL from wire-to-wire. They took the raucous Mellon Arena crowd out of the game early, mucking up the neutral zone, stalling each Penguins attack at the blue line and surrounding
It was fitting that Detroit won this on the strength of their defense because -- their ranking as the league's top offense notwithstanding -- this is what they are at their core. A defensive juggernaut led by
The rest of the defensemen corps proved their mettle, as well. There was
It was Zetterberg, a fitting Conn Smythe winner, who sealed the deal with perhaps the most unlikely Cup clincher in memory.
After swiping the puck at center ice, he swooped in and blasted a shot that
And finally, there was Ozzie. After starting the playoffs warming the bench,
It's fashionable to understate his importance based on the quantity of shots he faces. It's also foolish. Osgood stood taller than his 5-foot-10 frame, making big saves seem small and easy with his economical, but highly effective style. Though his efforts are appreciated by his mates, his first comment during the postgame broadcast was telling. "I've got a bigger heart than people think," he said.
So, too, did this team. Picked by almost no one prior to the playoffs to deliver on their regular-season promise, the Wings were driven to prove that they could. And they did it their way. It's hard to believe the season's actually over. But there's something reassuring that comes from the realization that, after nine months of battle, the best team won out.