DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings sure don't look tired now.
After watching their two-game lead in the Stanley Cup finals disappear in Pittsburgh, the defending champions returned to the friendly confines of Joe Louis Arena and blew away the supposedly fresher Penguins, 5-0, in Game 5 last night.
The veteran-laden Red Wings lead the series, three games to two, and they moved within one win of their 12th Stanley Cup title and fifth in 12 seasons. Detroit can wrap this one up Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, but the home team is 5-0 in the rematch of last year's Finals.
Pavel Datsyuk made his mark in his first appearance in eight games, notching two assists, drawing a key penalty, and knocking leading scorer Evgeni Malkin to the ice.
The Red Wings made the Penguins pay for a lack of discipline by going 3 for 9 on the power play in front of a crowd that celebrated most of the night.
This series looked firmly in the Red Wings' control after they opened with a pair of 3-1 victories, but the Penguins seized momentum with two 4-2 wins that made Detroit appear a bit worn out.
With the first five games played in eight nights, the hectic schedule seemed to catch up with the Red Wings.
Now the playoff-tested veterans can enjoy two days off before Game 6. There will be another two-day break should the Penguins force a Game 7 back in Detroit on Friday.
"Now age has nothing to do with it," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "There are two days off between games."
History suggests the Red Wings will hoist the Cup again as 14 of the 19 previous teams to win Game 5 in a series tied 2-2 have prevailed.
Pittsburgh won Game 5 in the Motor City last year in triple overtime to force the series to six games, but then was eliminated at home.
The Penguins are 1-5 in Detroit in the last two Finals, and captain Sidney Crosby failed to score a goal in all six games.
The Red Wings broke the game open with four goals in the second period against beleaguered Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who left after making only 16 saves on 21 shots. It wasn't the bouncy end boards that did him in this time, as they tormented him in the first two games of the series, but rather a suddenly potent power play by the Red Wings.
Datsyuk, who had been sidelined since injuring his foot in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, wasted little time in making his presence felt.
"He did very well for being off for as long as he has been," defenseman Brian Rafalski said. "He wasn't 100 percent Pavel Datsyuk, but I will take 85 percent of Pavel Datsyuk than 100 percent of other guys."
Chants of Datsyuk's name filled the arena, replaced by calls of "We Want the Cup" as the final minutes ticked down, and others saluting goalie Chris Osgood.
"We just took too many penalties, and against this team it's only a matter of time before their power play starts to turn it around," Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi said.
Red Wings lead series, 3-2
Game 6: Tuesday at Pittsburgh,