Wings On The Brink After 1 Goal Victory In Game 4

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Henrik Zetterberg isn't scoring. Neither is Pavel Datsyuk. Tomas Holmstrom was injured and out for Game 4.
So how are the Red Wings up 3-1 in the Stanley Cup finals, with a chance to close out the young and now desperate Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 on Monday night in Detroit?
Because Pittsburgh's big scorers aren't getting goals either, except for Sidney Crosby's two-goal blip in Game 3, and Detroit role players Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson are.
Hudler scored the biggest goal of the series so far, a backhander early in the third period created by defenseman Brad Stuart's persistence, and the Red Wings rallied from Pittsburgh's early lead to beat the Penguins 2-1 in a pivotal Game 4 on Saturday night.
Hudler, one of the numerous European players on Detroit's roster, scored only 13 goals in 81 regular-season games, but got his fifth and biggest of the playoffs at 2:26 of the third. He also got the game-winner in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against Dallas.
"Good teams find a way to win," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Their fourth line scored the winning goal."
Just as Pittsburgh fourth-liner Adam Hall had the decisive goal when Pittsburgh won 3-2 in Game 3.
Stuart kept the puck in the Pittsburgh zone with a blind, backhand pass that scooted behind the goal line then, seconds later, Darren Helm put a hard check on Brooks Orpik to keep him from gathering the puck and allow Hudler to get free in front to score past a screened Marc-Andre Fleury.
"Stewey was battling the puck at the blue line and it kind of popped out to me and Orpik just kind of raced for it and I was able to lift his stick and make sure I got by," Helm said. "(It's) just a little thing, I got the puck to Huds and he was able to bury it and I didn't even get to see the goal. But it doesn't matter."
Hudler may never score a more important goal, unless he can win a Stanley Cup deciding game with one. Samuelsson played a key role earlier in the series with three goals, or three more than Evgeni Malkin, the NHL's second-leading scorer during the season, has for Pittsburgh in the finals. And three more than teammate Datsyuk has.
"We had a couple of chances in the first three games and it didn't go in, and you don't get many chances in the Stanley Cup finals," Hudler said of that fourth line. "Sometimes you need a bit of luck and it came to us tonight."
Fleury said, "That's something I know I cannot stop. Things happen some days and it's just (bad) it happened right now."
After that, Detroit killed off a Pittsburgh 5-on-3 that lasted nearly 1 1/2 minutes, probably the turning point of the series.
"They had a great opportunity to tie it up," Zetterberg said. "It's a challenge to play against such players, especially when they're down two guys and they have a lot of room. You practice it a lot during the year and it's fun to have a chance to do it during the game."
Detroit became the first team since the second round of the playoffs to come back from a 1-0 deficit -- every team that scored the first goal in the conference finals and in the first three games of the Stanley Cup finals had won. Pittsburgh had been 11-0 when scoring first and had won its last 17 at home, including all nine previous playoff games this spring.
The challenge now for the Red Wings is to make sure the Penguins don't get back there for a Game 6 on Wednesday.
"We know it will be the toughest game to win," Darren McCarty said.
The Red Wings fell behind in the first period, just as they did in losing Game 3, when Marian Hossa scored on a power play less than three minutes in. Detroit tied it slightly more than four minutes later when captain Nicklas Lidstrom scored two seconds after a Detroit power play expired.
That goal kept the Penguins from gaining more momentum on their home ice, playing before their 66th consecutive sellout -- appropriate, given that the former No. 66, Mario Lemieux, is now their co-owner.
Detroit goes home for Game 5, with a chance to win its fourth Stanley Cup in 11 seasons by holding home-ice advantage. The Red Wings can do so despite a near disappearance by a power play that was 0-for-3 in Game 4 and is 2-of-22 in the series.
"Right now, you're excited," Lidstrom said. "You're really excited to be in a situation like this where you want to be."


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