Talbot, Penguins capture NHL title
DETROIT (AP) — Slide over Super Mario and make room on the Stanley Cup for a new batch of Pittsburgh Penguins.
Max Talbot scored two second-period goals, and the Penguins overcame the loss of captain Sidney Crosby to beat the defending champion Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in Game 7 and win the Cup on Friday night.
Instead of the Red Wings becoming the NHL’s first repeat champion since winning titles in 1997 and 1998, this turned into a Penguins party. The last time Pittsburgh was crowned champion, in 1991 and ’92, it was captained by owner Mario Lemieux.
This one wouldn’t have been possible without a clutch diving save across the crease by Marc-Andre Fleury, who denied four-time champion Nicklas Lidstrom with 1 second left.
‘‘I knew there wasn’t much time left,’’ Fleury said. ‘‘The rebound was wide. I just decided to get my body out there and it hit me in the ribs so it was good.’’
Fleury was stellar in making 23 saves and erasing the memories of a 5-0 loss in Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena that put the Penguins on the brink of elimination. Pittsburgh returned home and gutted out a 2-1 win, behind Fleury’s 25 saves in Game 6, and forced the winner-take-all matchup.
‘‘When you’re playing Game 7 for the Stanley Cup, and you’re playing at home, it makes it tough to lose,’’ Lidstrom said. ‘‘It’s devastating when you’re that close.’’
The sting was especially strong for Marian Hossa, who spurned the Penguins after last year’s Cup loss and signed a less-lucrative, one-year deal with the Red Wings, the team he thought had the best chance to win.
‘‘Sometimes you make choices. I still had a great year in this organization,’’ said Hossa, who had no goals in the series.