Pass the Cup
Rossi, Rob, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
DETROIT -- Kids, they grow up so fast.
The young Penguins grew into champions Friday night.
Playing mostly without 21-year-old captain Sidney Crosby, they dethroned the veteran Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena with a 2- 1 victory to claim the Stanley Cup.
After falling into a 2-0 hole in the best-of-seven Final, the Penguins took four of five against the defending champions.
"I didn't know, coming into my first year, how quick we were going to be able to establish ourselves as a solid team in the NHL," said Crosby, the youngest captain in league history to win the Cup. "We proved pretty quickly that we wanted to make an impact as early as we could."
Forward Max Talbot and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made the most impact last night.
Talbot scored twice, and Fleury stopped 22 shots to help deliver the Cup to Pittsburgh for a third time, and the first since 1992.
Fleury capped a frantic final minute by making a diving stop on Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom's shot right before time expired.
"You've got to make those big ones if you want to be a champion," Fleury said. "That was a big one - the biggest of my life."
After the Red Wings pulled within 2-1 late in the third period, Talbot, whose two goals were scored in the second, eased any tension Fleury may have been feeling.
"I told him I still had the winner; do it for me," said Talbot, who then joked about his nickname, "Bad Hands."
Lidstrom's take on Fleury's Cup-saving stop: "The puck squared out to me, and it was either their (defensemen) or their forward came diving out toward me, and the goalie did the same thing. He pulled across, and I think I hit him in the chest."
Crosby's left knee was injured 5:30 into the second period on a collision with Detroit winger Johan Franzen. No penalty was called. Crosby did not return until 10:25 of the final period - and only for a brief stint.
Playing without their captain didn't faze the Penguins, who became the first NHL team since the 1971 Montreal Canadiens to win Game 7 of the last series on the road.
"We've faced more adversity than that," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "It was tough for Sid, obviously, but we were confident. It wasn't going to faze us.
"We weren't going to be denied."
Not again, anyway.
The Red Wings beat the Penguins in a six-game Final last year.
The Penguins, though, are the first team since the 1984 Edmonton Oilers to win a Final rematch against a team that bested them the previous season. …