It took three overtimes, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are still alive in the Stanley Cup finals. Thanks to Petr Sykora, the Pens upended the Red Wings 4-3 in Detroit on Monday night, cutting the Wings’ series lead 3 to 2.
But it’s no big whoop to Petr, who had predicted he would win the game.
During a quick break in the first overtime, sideline reporter Pierre McGuire told NBC viewers of some confident comments that Sykora had just shared with him - namely, that he was going to “get the next one”.
And wouldn’t you know it - at 9:57 of overtime #3, Skyora took a pass from Sergei Gonchar and slapped one past Chris Osgood, saving the season for the Penguins.
So, by calling his shots, is Sykora the Babe Ruth of the frozen pond? (And as a result, will Petr’s granddaughter want his number permanently retired by the NHL someday?)
Turns out Sykora wasn’t trying to be a braggart, but was just trying to break the ice with his tired teammates in the locker room. As the PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW quotes him:
“Calling the shot, it was just between the periods, it was something stupid I said.”
And now Pittsburgh sports fans have never been so happy with such an idiot. (Insert your own Pirates management joke here.)
But Petr wasn’t the only prince for Pittsburgh on the Joe Louis Arena ice Monday night-slash-Tuesday morning. Goalie Marc-Andre Fluery made 55 saves for the Pens. Gonchar had hopped back on the ice to set up Sykora’s game-winner - after leaving in the third period with an injured back. And the Pens wouldn’t be living to fight for another day had Max Talbot not tied the game with 34 seconds left.
Now the Finals head back to Mellon Arena for Game 6 on Wednesday (those “Dateline NBC” reruns will have to wait for another day). About 1,000 tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Bet this guy is already in line to get his two stubs. Mind the seafood smell.