NBC Sports presents Stanley Cup Final Week on NBCSN, reliving classic Stanley Cup Final games and original films and shows from the past decade across seven nights, beginning on Monday, June 8. Today, we give our favorite memories from the the 2009 Cup Final between the Penguins and Red Wings.
JAKE: The obvious choice is the sprawling save by Marc-Andre Fleury to clinch Pittsburgh’s Game 7 win, thereby denying Detroit the chance to win a second straight Stanley Cup.
The outcome was especially painful for one Red Wings player: Marian Hossa. And he’s who I’d like to focus on here.
In the summer of 2008, Marian Hossa had played nine full NHL seasons, made the playoffs eight times, and most recently scored 26 points in 20 playoff games for Pittsburgh in their eventual Stanley Cup Final loss to Detroit. That was the closest he had come to winning the Cup.
Facing unrestricted free agency, he turned down a long-term offer from the Penguins and instead signed a one-year deal with the Red Wings, believing he had a better chance to win in Hockeytown.
Fast forward to the 2009 Cup Final, where Hossa found himself in exactly the position he had hoped. But the dream ending was not meant to be, and Hossa struggled against his former mates scoring zero goals on 23 shots during the seven-game series. Two straight Cup Final trips, and two straight defeats.
Of course, Hossa then signed with Chicago, and finally hoisted Lord Stanley the very next year. And then two more times after that. So we won’t lose too much sleep over his poor fortune in 2008 and 2009.
SEAN: I remember being behind the Penguins’ goal at Mellon Arena with a clear view of this play. Down 2-1 in the series, Pittsburgh needed to win Game 4 in order to not go back to Joe Louis Arena and lose the Cup Final for a second year in a row to the Red Wings.
Detroit was on the power play leading 2-1 in the second period. That’s when Jordan Staal took a pass in the neutral zone and strong-armed his way around Brian Rafalski for a shorthanded goal.
The roar from inside the Igloo was massive. It was a turning point in the game as Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy would make it 4-2 with goals in the next six minutes.
Game 5 was a disaster for the Penguins, but they got their revenge on Detroit with a pair of 2-1 wins in Games 6 and 7 to win their second Cup.
JAMES: Maxime Talbot enjoyed a perfectly respectable NHL career for a grinder.
A player cannot even be selected in the eighth round anymore, yet that’s what happened with Talbot. The Penguins chose Talbot 234th overall in 2002, so Talbot scoring 91 goals and 204 points over 704 career regular-season games stands as a towering achievement.
Yet, for many, Talbot was defined by one night. During Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final, Talbot scored both of the Penguins goals.
Now, sure, Evgeni Malkin spoon-fed him that first one, but it’s not always about how, but how much? Maxime Effin’ Talbot scored two goals in a Game 7, and authored both in the second period. That set the stage for Marc-Andre Fleury & Co. to hold on for dear life, culminating with “MAF” making that iconic save against Nicklas Lidstrom.
Of course, hardcore Penguins fans hold other memories of Talbot. He did his McLovin’ impression in a ridiculous local car commercial. Talbot once convincingly dressed up as Sidney Crosby.
But, yeah, Talbot scoring two goals was mind-blowing, and one of the reminders that any player can end up a hero in a Game 7. At least if Justin Williams isn’t around to hog all of the glory.
NBC Sports presents Stanley Cup Final Week on NBCSN, reliving classic Stanley Cup Final games and original films and shows from the past decade across seven nights, beginning on Monday, June 8.
Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
Monday, June 8 – NBCSN
• NHL Hat Trick Trivia Hosted by P.K. Subban (Episode 3) – 5 p.m. ET
• 2009 Stanley Cup Final (Game 2) – 5:30 p.m. ET
• 2009 Stanley Cup Final (Game 6) – 7 p.m. ET
• 2009 Stanley Cup Final (Game 7) – 9 p.m. ET
• Penguins 2009 championship film – 11 p.m. ET
• 2009 Stanley Cup Final (Game 7 encore) – 12:30 p.m. ET
• NHL Gamechangers: All-time Greats – 2:30 p.m. ET