Heading into Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, neither team had registered a win on the road in this series. By the end of this one, that stat would continue to hold true.
What started as a game where Pitt fans hoped for a quick goal to take an early lead eventually segued into Pitt fans hoping the Pens would score a single goal in any way possible to avoid a shutout. It didn't happen.
The Penguins escaped the first period down only 1-0 but the second period would ultimately be their demise. Pitt failed to repeat the second period efforts of Game 4 and instead fell apart at the seams, giving the Red Wings complete control of the game. Early in the second Detroit opened up their lead to two thanks to a goal from Valtteri Filppula. As painful as that was to Pittsburgh, they quickly became their own worst enemy. Much has been said about Detroit's power play unit throughout the 2009 playoffs, most of it negative. Whatever critics and so-called experts may have said was completely put to rest for at least one game when the Wings scored three goals with the man advantage on five chances.
Marc-Andre Fleury had an off night. There no other way of putting it. The first Detroit goal was just about as painful a goal as you'll see. The NBC announcers petitioned that Brooks Orpik screened MAF, but I personally think that was just them being gentle. Fleury had a clear look at the shot and merely flubbed on the save. With five minutes remaining in the second, Dan Byslma's decision to replace Fleury in favor of Mathieu Garon surprised no one.
The Penguins skated into this needing a win if they hoped to parade the Cup around the ice at Mellon Arena. They had the momentum coming off two wins on home ice and failed to capitalize at the Joe, an arena that is obviously not this team's best friend. Now Game 6 takes on a different tone. The Penguins will try to prevent the Red Wings from celebrating their second straight victory in Pittsburgh and force a Game 7 back at Detroit.
One win is all that's keeping the Wings from winning the Cup. It's time for Pitt to focus and use home ice to their advantage in G6.