Detroit Red Wings logoDetroit Red Wings

Red Wings Finish Off 'Hawks, Advance to Second Straight Cup Finals

DETROIT - MAY 27:  Darren Helm #43 of the Detroit Red Wings scores the game-winning goal in overtime for a  2-1 win against Cristobal Huet #38 of the Chicago Blackhawks during Game Five of the Western Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 27, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst IMay 27, 2009

The Detroit Red Wings outlasted the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-1, in an instant classic at Joe Louis Arena Wednesday night. After going into the game with a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, the win earned Detroit the right to play the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Eastern Conference champions, in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Game Five was a fierce battle of the teams' respective defenses and goaltenders, Chris Osgood and Cristobal Huet. The Red Wings blocked 13 shots, and Osgood stopped 30 of 31 shots. The Blackhawks blocked 12 shots, and Huet turned in a tremendous, 44-save performance. Both squads displayed nearly flawless defensive coverage, cut off passing lanes, hounded opposing puck handlers like hungry dogs, and were positioned soundly.

Because of the spectacular defense and excellent goal-tending, the first goal was scored unusually late in the game for the Red Wings, at the 6:08 mark of the third period. From the front of the net, Dan Cleary redirected Brett Lebda's slapper off the side boards from the left point into the nylon.

Cleary provided a huge boost to the Wings' already potent offense, with five goals in the series. He didn't get many chances to score (13 shots, with six coming in Game Five), but he made the most of his minimal chances.

An interesting statistical tidbit: Cleary has scored eight goals in his last 15 playoff games. In his 56 postseason contests before that, he had scored only seven goals.

Patrick Kane answered Detroit's opening tally roughly seven minutes later with a slick, elevated backhand that flew over Osgood's left shoulder into the top left corner of the net.  

But Kane and the rest of the Blackhawks' efforts were foiled early in overtime. Brett Lebda snapped a shot at the net, and Huet stopped the bid, but gave up a rebound. Tomas Holmstrom, who was on the doorstep but had Huet in his way, centered the puck to Darren Helm, who buried it for the game winner.  

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices