The Detroit Red Wings exploded for four second-period goals to set up a crushing 5-0 Game Five victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on and move within one more win of a successful Stanley Cup defence.
|It's only a game, boys [AFP]
The NHL finals shift back to Pittsburgh with Detroit leading the best-of-seven series 3-2 and a chance to clinch their fifth Cup in 12 seasons on Tuesday.
"It's a huge win for out team and we feel good about ourselves," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
"The best part is the extra days off.
"We haven't been able to win in their building in two previous games but we'll be prepared focused and ready to go when we get there."
Displaying the spark that was missing in back-to-back losses in Pittsburgh, the weary Wings tapped into the energy of a raucous capacity crowd at Joe Louis Arena, overwhelming the Penguins with their second-period burst.
After Dan Cleary had the only goal of the opening period Detroit seized control in the second with Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall, Brian Rafalski and Henrik Zetterberg all finding the back of net.
Almost overlooked in offensive fireworks was another rock-solid display in net from Chris Osgood, who stopped 22 shot to notch his 15th career playoff shutout, moving past Jacques Plante and former-team mate Dominik Hasek into fourth place on the all-time list.
Leaving nothing to chance in the effort to get his team's Cup defence back on track, Babcock pulled his lucky tie off the rack and improved to 5-1 while wearing the maroon neck tie from his alma mater McGill University.
But it is was Pavel Datsyuk's return to the line-up after missing seven games with a foot injury that played a bigger role in providing the Red Wings with an instant lift.
A finalist for NHL most valuable player honours, the Russian responded to chants from the crowd by setting up Cleary's opening goal.
"This guy is one of the best players in the world, offensively and defensively," Babcock said.
"We rushed him back. If this was the regular season he wouldn't be playing.
"But what do you save him for? All there is, is summer."
The aging Red Wings came out flying in the second, pumping three goals past Marc-Andre Fleury in a 6:32 span and erasing any concerns they might be running out of gas.
Filppula triggered the burst by taking a feed from Marian Hossa and backhanding it past Fleury, followed by power-play goals from Kronwall and Rafalski.
Zetterberg added a third power-play tally before the end of the period, chasing Fleury from the net in favour of backup Mathieu Garon.
With Detroit in command, the game slipped into a series of skirmishes and cheap shots that resulted in four misconduct penalties, three to the Penguins and one to Detroit.
"Emotions come to surface in hockey and they forced us into a situation where we were frustrated," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.
"That's not the first time that's happened in hockey.
"We have two days to refocus and regroup and we will."