We do not profess to being hockey experts here. In fact, I can count the number of games I’ve seen since the NHL has moved away from ESPN on two hands. That doesn’t mean it’s not appreciated. It is. I’ve long been a believer that NHL Playoff Hockey is one of the most competitive and grueling ways to win a professional level championship.
I think, for me, it has more to do with player and team recognition. Nevertheless, I normally watch the some of the Finals, especially when it’s a deciding game. So there I was last night, expecting to see Detroit crowned as kings of the NHL. I arrived sometime near the end of the second period when the Penguins still had their 2-1 lead and ducked in and out while the third period was getting lathered up.
I settled in time to see the Red Wings equalize and then take the lead away from the Penguins with two impressive goals. After that, I figured Detroit would clog up the defensive side of the ice while the clock wound down, securing another Stanley Cup for Hockey Town, USA.
Boy, was I wrong.
Thanks to an amazingly timely goal from Max Talbot with 35 seconds left — and some incredible goal-keeping from the Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury who had 55 saves — I and the rest of the hockey-watching nation were treated to some awesome overtime hockey. Both teams went at it with Detroit realizing what they had allowed to slip away be giving up Talbot’s goal while Pittsburgh threw their bodies all over the ice trying to keep their season alive.
And thanks to Petr Sykora, Detroit, instead of raising Lord Stanley’s Cup, now finds themselves having to play a Game 6 in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. Here’s a vid of Sykora’s season-and-series-saving goal.
Helluva shot, there. If you’d like to see a more informed recap, check out PuckUpdate.com’s perspective. Coming from a non-hockey following — although, I do consider myself an admirer — sports fan, I’m incredibly glad I got to watch last night’s battle. Now I know what I can look forward to seeing while waiting for the NBA Finals to tip: Game 6 of the NHL Finals.
And I can’t wait.