Pittsburgh Penguins History: Fleury Locks it Down and Sykora Seals it up

Pittsburgh Penguins, Peter Sykora. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Peter Sykora. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Here’s how Fleury and Sykora helped the Pittsburgh Penguins in ’08 and ’09.

On Jun. 2, 2008, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings were embroiled in a battle for the Stanley Cup. With Detroit looking to close out the series and claim the championship, a hero rose from the Penguins bench to score the game-winning goal in Game 5 of the series to give Pittsburgh new life.

If you were a Pittsburgh Penguins fan in the year 2008, then you will remember just how exciting and frustrating the Stanley Cup final vs. Detroit was.

For a quick recap, Pittsburgh did not register a goal until the 17-minute mark of the first period of Game 3. That’s right Pittsburgh was shutout in back-to-back games.

Sidney Crosby got the goal and to say it injected some energy into the game would be an understatement.

Crosby added another and Adam Hall potted his second of the postseason, as Pittsburgh won its first game of the series by a score of 3-2.

Do or Die!

Fast forward to a do-or-die Game 5, with the Penguins down 3-2 in the final minute of action, when Max Talbot scored the “biggest goal” of his career to date, to send the game into overtime.

What followed in extra time only added to one of the single best performances from a Penguins goaltender.

Marc-Andre Fleury faced a barrage of shots from Detroit, who essentially outshot the Penguins 2-1, and by the conclusion of the game the Red Wings had finished with 58 shots on goal and Pittsburgh had 32 shots.

With Fleury keeping the Penguins in the game, a hero would rise with a flair for the dramatic.

A Hero Rises

The Penguins barely survived the first overtime period with the Red Wings controlling much of the play and the team had to listen to the Detroit players having a preemptive celebration in between overtime periods, which had to instill some anger and even desperation into

An unlikely hero made a bold prediction in the Penguins locker room :

“Between periods, something stupid, I said, just ‘Guys, I’m just going to get one. So just don’t worry about the game. I’m going to get a goal,'”.

And sure enough, he did.

Right-winger Petr Sykora called his shot and scored the game-winning goal on the power-play at the 9 minute and 57-second mark of the third overtime period. Which gave the Penguins new life and forcing the Red Wings to delay their Cup celebration by one more game.

The goal was Sykora’s third career overtime goal (Two with Anaheim in 2003) and it stands as one of the biggest goals in Penguins history.

Where do you think Sykora’s goal ranks on the list of all-time Penguins playoff goals? Drop it in the comment section below!