DETROIT - Petr Sykora's power-play goal at 9 minutes, 57 seconds of the third overtime ended a marathon Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night and kept the Pittsburgh Penguins alive.
The Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings, 4-3. Detroit leads the best-of-seven series, three games to two, with another chance to capture the Cup tomorrow night in Pittsburgh. If Game 7 is necessary, it will be played Saturday night in Detroit.
A four-minute high-sticking penalty on Jiri Hudler preceded Sykora's winning goal.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was the man of the hour for the Penguins, recording 55 saves.
Pittsburgh survived after scoring a dramatic goal near the end of regulation. The Penguins were less than a minute away from going home for good.
They weren't ready yet.
Maxime Talbot stuffed his own rebound past goalie Chris Osgood with 35 seconds left in regulation time, sending the game into overtime.
Pittsburgh went on the power play with 21/2 minutes left in the first overtime - after getting just two shots on net - but failed to come remotely close to taking advantage.
The Red Wings had 13 shots in the first overtime, but Fleury had all the angles covered when Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk had scoring chances.
After trailing by 2-0, the Red Wings rallied and took a 3-2 lead midway through the third period, and their fans chanted, "We want the Cup! We want the Cup!"
The Penguins do, too.
A quick-hitting goal, a fortunate one, and a spectacular save enabled Pittsburgh to have a 2-1 lead entering the third period.
Datsyuk scored a power-play goal at 6:43 of the third period to tie the game, and Brian Rafalski put the Red Wings ahead, 3-2, midway through the period.
Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead in the first period, when Marian Hossa scored on a wrist shot and when Adam Hall was credited with an unassisted goal that caromed into the net after Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall tried to whack the puck into a corner.
The Red Wings pulled within one early in the second period with a lucky goal of their own and were robbed on a shot that could have tied the game late in the period.
Rookie Darren Helm sent a shot toward the net that went off Pittsburgh defenseman Rob Scuderi and got past Fleury.
A hit helped Detroit score, just as toughness led to the Penguins' first two goals.
Helm landed a hit along the boards that allowed teammate Kirk Maltby to keep the puck in the Pittsburgh end, then Maltby assisted Helm on his second goal of the playoffs.
Detroit had a great opportunity to tie the game with about three minutes left in the second period, but Fleury's kick save denied Mikael Samuelsson at the end of a two-on-one rush.
Pittsburgh defenseman Sergei Gonchar went down on the play, trying to catch Samuelsson, and ended up going into the boards headfirst. Later in the period, Penguins forward Ryan Malone was hit in the face with a deflected puck and skated toward the dressing room.
Both players returned for the third period.
The Penguins scored on two of their first five shots against Osgood - at 8:37 and 14:41 of the first period. Osgood had been giving up just 1.5 goals a game.
In Games 1 and 2, Detroit shut out Pittsburgh by a combined 7-0 score.
Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs have rallied from a deficit of three games to one in the Finals to win the Stanley Cup, pulling off the feat against Detroit after losing the first three games.
On the first two scoring plays, Pittsburgh proved to be stronger in the corners after going eight-plus minutes without a shot.
Pascal Dupuis hit Rafalski in the corner and got the puck to Sidney Crosby at the side of the net, and the 20-year-old superstar perfectly set up Hossa in the right circle for his goal.
Penguins 4 Red Wings 3
Red Wings lead series, 3-2.
At Pittsburgh, tomorrow at
8 p.m. (NBC10)