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Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Updated: June 5, 3:37 PM ET
Penguins try, but can't pull off another last-second miracle

ESPN.com

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

That's how close the Penguins came to tying Game 6 as Marian Hossa's last-second attempt crossed through the crease.

GAME 6'S DEFINING MOMENT

By Scott Burnside

PITTSBURGH -- When eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner Henrik Zetterberg scored to make it 3-1 for the Detroit Red Wings seven minutes, 36 seconds into the third period, it seemed as though all of the drama had been sucked from this sixth Stanley Cup finals game.

Yet Marian Hossa scored on the power play to make it 3-2 with 1:27 left and the Penguins had new life. As the clock ticked down, the Penguins fought furiously for a loose puck to the left of Detroit netminder Chris Osgood.

Sidney Crosby launched a backhand toward the net and Hossa redirected it past Osgood and through the crease. But no one could get to the loose puck in time and it trickled to safety as the scoreboard read 0:00.

For a moment, the Red Wings on the ice seemed a bit stunned. Had there been a goal? No? Dan Cleary said he knew they'd won only when Osgood raised his arms in the air.

"It was chaotic the last 40 seconds," Osgood said. "We had it out of the zone with 10 seconds left, and they made a great play. They have a really good team. Crosby was flying. I knew it was a good backhander. I tried to get as far out as I could and it ended up hitting my arm. I think time had ran out before it started rolling over the side of the net. I was happy to see the ref yell time was up when I looked up."

"As fast as I can cycle across the goal crease, I wasn't sure how much time was left or anything like that, either," Crosby said. "But it didn't go."

In many ways, the final two minutes were a microcosm of the entire finals series. The Red Wings, so disciplined, so certain of their play, seemed to control the pace and tone of the games for long periods of time. Yet the Penguins refused to quit right until the final buzzer sounded, pushing, looking for any small crease in the Red Wings' veneer.

"That's the way we played all season," Crosby said. "And the guys have been through a lot and battled through it and it doesn't surprise me that the guys never gave up."

Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.

GAME 6 BREAKDOWN

GAME 6 -- THREE STARS

Zetterberg

Henrik Zetterberg
The forward's third-period goal iced the Red Wings' 3-2 win and solidified his overwhelming selection as playoff MVP.

Pavel Datsyuk
Datsyuk had two assists in the Red Wings' Cup-clinching win and secured his place as one of the best two-way players in the league.

Evgeni Malkin
Malkin's first goal of the Stanley Cup finals got the Penguins on the board, but it proved to be too little too late. The forward's play did improve over the last few games and included an assist on the Pens' Game 5 triple-OT winner.

GAME 6 -- SUIT CHALLENGE

Vote now, SportsNation: Melrose vs. Cherry
Two of the best hockey analysts not only shared the set during ESPN's Stanley Cup finals coverage, but they also showed off their style. The best hockey analyst in the USA versus the best hockey analyst in Canada. Mullet versus buzz cut. Pinstripes versus flash. It's Barry Melrose versus Don Cherry in your last chance to vote in the Cup Finals Suit-Off!

You decide who wins, so vote here now.

E.J. HRADEK'S TAKE

What a finish! Sidney Crosby's desperation backhand shot nearly eluded goalie Chris Osgood at the horn. Marian Hossa's last-second rebound attempt floated across the crease as the buzzer sounded. If the Penguins had tied it, the old retractable roof at Mellon Arena might have popped off.

• Read more from E.J. Hradek's blog Free