Wings win Stanley Cup
No games to be played tomorrow. No reason to rehash what happened last week.
What there is in Hockeytown is the present, only today. For today, the Detroit Red Wings are champions of the NHL, owners of the Stanley Cup after a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wednesday, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final.
It wasn't over, however, until a last-second shot by Pittsburgh sniper Marian Hossa danced along the goal line behind goalie Chris Osgood and out of harm's way as the buzzer sounded.
"I don't know how many seconds were left, but when I saw the puck behind the net and I looked up and it was 0:00 on the game clock, I was a pretty happy man," said Henrik Zetterberg, who was named the playoff MVP.
For the Red Wings franchise, it was the 11th Stanley Cup, the fourth in the past 11 seasons.
For 16-year NHL veteran Dallas Drake, this was a first. The same for the entire province of Newfoundland -- one of 10 in Canada -- whose native son Dan Cleary became the first Newfoundlander to win a Stanley Cup. And it was a first for Europe, which has never seen a native like Nicklas Lidstrom captain a Cup winner before. And it was a first for Darren Helm, who had all of seven regular-season games to his credit before becoming a playoff regular.
For other Red Wings, this was the fourth taste from the Cup -- Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty. For Osgood, Brian Rafalski and Chris Chelios, this was a third championship. For McCarty, who was out of hockey in October and in bankruptcy court last summer, this was redemption.
"Just like everyone says … when you're a little boy, you play on the driveway and you play for the Stanley Cup," said Brett Lebda. "I did it when I was young. To be able to lift it now and have it as a real experience is unbelievable."
All the Red Wings are champions right now. The Penguins, flightless birds, lost this battle with the Wings.
Detroit took a 2-0 lead just before this game was half over. Rafalski scored on the power play 5:03 into the contest. Valtteri Filppula doubled the Red Wings' advantage 8:07 into the second period when he reached around defenseman Brooks Orpik to tuck a rebound through goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's legs.
The Red Wings wound up needing both of those goals and another to secure the championship.
"It's such a long haul, you don't realize how hard it is to get here, let alone lift (the Stanley Cup) over your head," said Drake.
Evgeni Malkin started the Penguins' rally with a power-play goal seven minutes after Filppula's tally.
Zetterberg put the Red Wings ahead, 3-1, with 12:24 left in the third period. His shot went through Fleury's legs and sat behind the netminder. Before anyone noticed it, Fleury reached back and pushed the puck over the goal line.
With 1:27 on the clock, the Penguins drew to within a goal when Hossa redirected a power-play shot past goalie Osgood.
"It's tough," said Osgood. "It's never easy. Toughest trophy in sports to win. It lives for that name every year, that nickname. It was difficult again. Pittsburgh is a great young team, gave us all we could handle. Probably one of the most difficult series I've played in a while."
After Hossa's goal came a late flurry of Pittsburgh chances that only ended when the buzzer sounded.
"I just couldn't believe it was over and I was a Stanley Cup champion," said Cleary. "I was so focused. I turned around and Ozzie (Osgood) was jumping and I knew it was over."
That led to Lidstrom lifting the Stanley Cup. As captain, he handed it first to Drake, the veteran who had never been to a Cup final before.
"I started thinking about it actually in the first round," said Lidstrom. "I didn't tell anyone about it. But I started thinking about if we went the whole way, who should be the guy I gave it to first. And looking at all the players on our team, Dallas is one of the first ones I played with. … He had a long, good career."
Thus, Detroit avoided hosting the first Stanley Cup final Game 7 since 1955. That, however, is about the past and the future. In the present, the Red Wings are champions.