Hockeytown is once again the home to the Stanley Cup.
|Nicklas Lidstrom lifts the Stanley Cup [AFP]|
Using a little Motown magic on the road, the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in 11 seasons with a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the NHL finals.
The celebration came two nights later than expected.
The Penguins forced the series back to Pennsylvania by tying Game 5 with 34.3 seconds left in regulation and winning it shortly before 1 a.m. in Detroit in triple overtime.
Undeterred, the Red Wings hit the road and wrapped up their fourth straight series on the road in these playoffs.
Detroit is third in NHL history with 11 Stanley Cup titles, trailing fellow Original Six clubs Montreal (23) and Toronto (13).
Just like in Game 5, there was plenty of drama for the Red Wings, who allowed Marian Hossa's power-play goal with 1:27 remaining that got the Penguins to within a goal.
Pittsburgh had already pulled Game 5 hero Marc-Andre Fleury to create a 6-on-4 skating edge.
With the final seconds ticking down, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby put a backhander on goal that Hossa just missed with a tip at the right post.
It set off a pile-on celebration behind the Detroit net for the Red Wings, as the disappointed fans in Mellon Arena saluted their club once more with a chant of "Let's Go Pens!''
A little piece of Sweden
In the best night for Swedish hockey since the national squad won the gold medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics, defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom became the first European captain of a Stanley Cup champion, and Henrik Zetterberg, who had a goal and assist in the Cup clincher, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
The Red Wings were knocked out of the Western Conference finals a year ago by eventual champion Anaheim.
"It's nice to get that out of the way,'' Zetterberg said of the European stigma.
"It's been a lot of talk, especially after last year. So it was nice to see that we could make it all the way. It's been a battle for sure, but it's a great feeling right now.
"I'm at a loss for words. It's just an unbelievable feeling.''
His goal 7:36 into the third period, that was pushed in by the backside of Fleury, extended the Red Wings' lead to 3-1.
He tied teammate and countryman Johan Franzen for the playoff lead with 13 goals, and matched Crosby for the postseason scoring crown with 27 points.
Lidstrom is one of five players to help the Red Wings to their four most recent titles (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008).
Crosby came close in his third NHL season to adding a Stanley Cup title to his resume that already includes a scoring title and a league MVP award.
Rafalski opens the scoring
|Tomas Holmstrom, left, and Henrik Zetterberg |
celebrate after Brian Rafalski's opener [AFP]
Brian Rafalski gave Detroit a 1-0 lead in the first period and Valtteri Filppula doubled it in the second.
Chris Osgood made 20 saves and improved to 14-4 in the playoffs after taking over for No. 1 goalie Dominik Hasek in the first round of the playoffs against Nashville.
Osgood allowed only 30 goals in 19 games.
An interference penalty against Pavel Datsyuk, who protested the penalty all the way to the box and then while inside, set up the goal the Penguins have been waiting for all season, the one from NHL MVP finalist Evgeni Malkin, who hadn't scored since the clinching game of the Eastern Conference finals.
Malkin, coming off a regular season in which he had 47 goals and 106 points, had been completely pointless until Petr Sykora scored the overtime goal off his pass to win Game 5.
This time, Crosby found him in the left circle with a cross-ice feed, and Malkin ripped a shot between Osgood's pass to cut the deficit in half at 15:26.
The Zetterberg gave Detroit a two-goal cushion that was necessary when Hossa's score made them sweat for the last minute.