While everyone remembers - with good reason - Max Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury’s heroics in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, on this date in 2009 Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy scored goals to help the Penguins force that Game 7.
At about the four minute mark of the video, late in the second period Henrik Zetterberg got into open space on Hal Gill (bad news for Gill) and Zetterberg made a fancy stickhandling move to get a shot away. The puck flies past Fleury, hits the post hard, bounces back into Fleury and he....keeps it out of the net.
That type of play with a strange bounce of a post or a crossbar or a back-wall always seemed like the Red Wings found a way to score on, as poor MAF would be the victim of a very odd roll of the puck. Not here though. Pens keep a 1-0 lead after two that was just huge, and really as a fan it felt like things were finally different from the past PIT/DET events.
There still was a ton more work to do, but it felt great to watch the tide turn and have the horseshoe fall out for Detroit for once. The Pens had to kill two penalties in the third period to hang on for dear life, and they were able to do just that.
The Pens scored second too in a similar way. Talbot was with the puck behind the net, looking unthreatening. Jonathan Ericsson came over and gave him a fairly routine check and Nicklas Lidstrom converged to give a numerical advantage and surely win back the puck.
Except Lidstrom didn’t get the puck. Talbot quickly makes a sublime backwards backhanded pass before the best defenseman of this generation can swipe it, and Ericsson didn’t have the wall sealed. Now, suddenly, Tyler Kennedy is all alone behind the net, quickly turns his hands over and has the puck right at the side of the net. Goalie Chris Osgood actually stops the first little chip Kennedy makes, but TK collects his own rebound and tries again to success.
When guys like Talbot and Kennedy outfox Lidstrom and are able to convert it into putting the puck in the net, that’s another clear sign that things are different and that Pittsburgh could actually win.
And win they would, holding on to take a 2-1 contest. Unlike the prior year, the Wings would not skate the Cup on Pittsburgh ice after Game 6. As they were finding out, 2009 was setting up to be different indeed.