DETROIT The Red Wings were primed to celebrate. The streamers and confetti were ready to rain down upon the revelers. The championship T-shirts waited in boxes.
Everything was set for a rowdy bash at Joe Louis Arena, but this is one party that will just have to wait.
Playing with renewed passion while fighting for their playoff lives, the Pittsburgh Penguins claimed a 4-3 win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, thanks to Petr Sykora s goal with 10:03 remaining in the third overtime.
Working on the power play after Jiri Hudler was called for a four-minute double-minor high-sticking penalty, Sykora rifled off a shot from the right faceoff circle that found its way through traffic to beat Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood.
The Wings lead the series 3-2 heading back to Pittsburgh for Game 6 tomorrow night at 8.
Road clubs have dominated in overtime recently in the Stanley Cup finals, winning 10 of the past 12 games and posting a 15-4 mark since 1990.
There would have been no overtime had Pittsburgh forward Maxime Talbot not scored his third goal of the playoffs with 35 seconds to go in regulation, however.
Talbot was stopped on the doorstep once but stayed with the puck and stuffed home his second attempt past the outstretched left leg of Osgood to tie the game at 3.
Pittsburgh also would have never had a prayer if not for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who finished with 55 saves. That s the most in a Stanley Cup final since Montreal rookie Ken Dryden stopped 56 shots in a double-overtime loss at Chicago in Game 1 of the 1971 final.
The Penguins struck first 8:37 into the game on Marian Hossa s goal from the left edge of the right faceoff circle.
After Pascal Dupuis slid the puck to Sidney Crosby from the right corner, Crosby deflected it out front from behind the net to Hossa, who beat Osgood stick-side for his 11th goal of the playoffs.
Pittsburgh tacked on another goal later in the period following a defensive miscue from Detroit.
Carrying the puck out from the left corner, Adam Hall was dispossessed in front of the goal by Johan Franzen.
But while attempting to clear the puck back into the corner, Niklas Kronwall inadvertently chipped it into the top-left corner of the net, giving the Penguins a 2-0 lead with 5:19 remaining before the first intermission.
The closest player to the action, Hall was credited with the goal.
After Osgood turned away three quality scoring chances from Pittsburgh in the first minute of the second period, the Red Wings finally seized some momentum with their first goal of the game.
With 17:06 left in the period, Darren Helm saucered the puck toward the goal from just inside the left circle, hitting a Pittsburgh defender in the process and then sliding between the legs of Fleury to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Detroit nearly evened the score with just under three minutes to play before the second intermission, but Fleury came away with a brilliant kick save.
Skating in with a two-on-one advantage, Valtteri Filppula received the puck on the left wing from Mikael Samuelsson and quickly sent it back Samuelsson s way.
Samuelsson then ripped a shot toward the bottom-right corner of the goal, but Fleury was able to stretch just far enough to turn the shot away.
The Red Wings again nearly tied the game 2:16 into the third period, when Pavel Datsyuk chipped the puck to himself off the right dasher boards and fired a shot over Fleury s right shoulder that ricocheted off the crossbar.
The play was reviewed but stood as called no goal.
The third time was the charm, however, as Datsyuk scored his 10th goal of the playoffs at the 6:43 mark of the third period on the power play.
Only 22 seconds after Tyler Kennedy was whistled for hooking Brad Stuart, Henrik Zetterberg ripped a shot from the right wing that Datsyuk redirected between Fleury s legs to knot it at 2-2.
Minutes later, Brian Rafalski scored his third goal of playoffs to give the Red Wings a 3-2 lead with 10:37 remaining.
Johan Franzen lasered the puck over to Rafalski on the right wing and he promptly beat Fleury stick-side.
It wouldn t be enough, however, with Pittsburgh pulling Fleury for an extra attacker in the final minute and Talbot earning the equalizer after Hossa threw the puck toward the net from the right corner.
Contact Zach Silka at: firstname.lastname@example.org.