A Period that Changed the Stanley Cup Finals

A couple of days ago, I wrote that despite the fact the Detroit Red Wings had a 2-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins heading into Game 3, the series was a lot closer than it looked . Now, after a pair of victories at home in Games 3 and 4, the Penguins have tied the series up and everyone is starting to wonder whether or not time has run out on Detroit. ↵

↵After cutting the deficit to 2-1 with a win in Game 3, the Penguins put away Game 4 over the course of a little more than five minutes in the second period. ↵

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↵After falling behind 2-1 when Detroit's Brad Stuart scored through a double-screen provided by Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's own teammates, the crowd at Mellon Arena was subdued as Brooks Orpik was sent to the box for tripping at 7:43. But what could have been the breaking point for the Penguins turned into a moment of truth, as the team scored three goals in succession to put the veteran Red Wings up against the ropes. ↵

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↵First came Jordan Staal's shorthanded goal to tie the game at 8:35. ↵

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↵Then there was a brilliantly-executed two-on-one where Evgeni Malkin stayed with the play before hitting Sidney Crosby with a pass that he tapped into an open net to give the Penguins the lead. ↵ ↵

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↵And the win was salted away on what might have been the prettiest tic-tac-toe play of the postseason, as Tyler Kennedy's hard work on the forecheck against Henrik Zetterberg was eventually rewarded when Crosby hit him with a pass that gave him an opportunity in front of an open net of his own. ↵

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↵So what's next? The series shifts back to Detroit on Saturday night for Game 5, as the world begins to ask how the Red Wings can possibly turn the momentum in the series back in the other direction. ↵

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↵One other thing: after watching the Lakers dismantle Orlando last night, is it even a question which league has the more compelling matchup in the Finals? ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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