Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scratch My Back with a Hacksaw

Scott Burnside said it as well as it can be said:

No matter how this Stanley Cup finals series ends, whenever it ends, this 4-3 Pittsburgh Penguins win, on the road, at 9:57 of the third overtime period, stands as a testament to a team's courage and hope when many believed they had none to offer.

No matter how this suddenly compelling series ends up, this was a night Marc-Andre Fleury will remember for all time, a night in which he turned aside 55 of 58 Detroit shots, the most in a Stanley Cup finals game since 1998.

No matter how this series turns out, this Pittsburgh victory will be remembered for the will and determination of players.

Players like Ryan Malone, who took a Hal Gill shot to the nose in the second period, the same nose that was broken earlier in the series by Niklas Kronwall, and still played most of his 29:37 minutes with a piece of cotton batting protruding from one nostril. And by Sergei Gonchar, who crashed headlong into the boards late in the second period while trying to break up a scoring play and, was in such pain, he could not play in the overtime, but was on the bench nonetheless when the third extra session started. And when Jiri Hudler was whistled for clipping Rob Scuderi with a high stick at 9:21 of the third overtime, Gonchar went gingerly over the boards and helped control the play that led to Sykora's winner, drawing an assist.

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