Detroit Max Talbot scored two second-period goals, and the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame the loss of captain Sidney Crosby and a whole lot of history to beat the defending champion Detroit Red Wings, 2-1, on Friday night in Game 7 and win the Stanley Cup for the third time.
Instead of the Red Wings becoming the NHL’s first repeat champion since they won consecutive titles in 1997 and 1998, this turned into a Penguins party for the first time since now-team owner Mario Lemieux captained them to championships in 1991 and ’92.
Marc-Andre Fleury was stellar in making 23 saves — none bigger than the one he made with one second left as he dived across the crease and knocked away a shot by Niklas Lidstrom.
“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.”
He erased 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, on Tuesday that forced a seventh game in Detroit.
Fleury’s last save started a wild scene in the crease that culminated in the awarding of the Cup. Crosby took it from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and skated a half lap to center ice before handing it off to Bill Guerin, who joined the team at the trade deadline and became a champion for the first time since 1995 with New Jersey.
Lemieux, the No. 1 pick in the 1984 draft by Pittsburgh, celebrated on the ice with Crosby — the phenom who has been living in the owner’s house since joining the team.
Crosby, just four years after being the No. 1 selection in the draft, became the youngest captain of a champion at 21 years old. He played just one shift after leaving the ice during the second period after taking a hard hit along the boards from Johan Franzen.
Jonathan Ericsson made it tense when he cut the Red Wings’ deficit to 2-1 with 6:07 remaining.
Phelps cruises to victory
Santa Clara, Calif. — Michael Phelps has easily won the 200-meter butterfly at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix. The superstar from the Beijing Olympics touched first in 1 minute, 54.37 seconds in Friday night’s final, beating the field by 5.61 seconds.
Quarterback Green retires
Kansas City, Mo. — Former Pro Bowl quarterback Trent Green has decided to retire after 15 seasons and plans to pursue a career in broadcasting.
Agent Jim Steiner said Green was proud of a career that included a Super Bowl ring with the Rams and two Pro Bowl appearances with Kansas City, but was ready to get onto the next phase of his life.
Green, an eighth-round draft pick by San Diego in 1993, was released by St. Louis in February after playing three games in his second stint with the Rams last season.
Falcons release Vick
Atlanta — Less than five years after the Atlanta Falcons signed Michael Vick to a $130 million contract, the suspended quarterback was released in a 98-word statement.
Before Friday’s announcement — a move that clears Vick to sign with any NFL team — general manager Thomas Dimitroff called the team’s former franchise player.
Dimitroff said Vick, who has missed two seasons while serving a prison sentence for running a dogfighting ring, deserved to hear first about his release. He said Vick “was upbeat” in the short conversation.
Burress gun case delayed
New York — Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress will have to wait a while longer before he knows the legal consequences of accidentally shooting himself with an unlicensed pistol. Defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman said Burress would appear in court Monday for a brief hearing.
Favre, Vikings to meet
Minneapolis — The Minnesota Vikings are planning to send a trainer and a coach to Mississippi to work with Brett Favre, ESPN reported Friday. The purpose of the trip is to assess the quarterback’s progress since he had arthroscopic surgery two weeks ago to repair a partially torn biceps tendon in his right arm, the network reported, citing an unidentified source.
Vickers wins Michigan pole
Brooklyn, Mich. — Brian Vickers has won the pole for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. It was the eighth pole of his Cup career and third of the season for the Red Bull Racing driver. Vickers posted a lap of 189.110 mph Friday on the 2-mile Michigan oval that will host Sunday’s race. Runner-up Kyle Busch wasn’t close at 188.536.
Three-time reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was third at 188.299, followed by David Reutimann at 188.137, Kurt Busch at 187.950 and AJ Allmendinger at 187.891.
Gay leads at St. Jude
Memphis, Tenn. — Brian Gay shot a 4-under 66 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Bryce Molder and Robert Allenby in the suspended second round of the St. Jude Classic, leaving Phil Mickelson six strokes back at TPC Southwind.
Gay, who opened with a 64, had a 10-under 130 total. Molder shot a 63, and Allenby was 5 under for the day and 8 under overall with three holes to play in the round that was stopped because of thunderstorms that had tornado sirens wailing.
Woody Austin (66) and Guy Boris (66) finished at 7 under, and two-time tournament champion David Toms was 7 under with four holes to play.
Nordqvist tops LPGA
Havre De Grace, Md. — Anna Nordqvist made a 36-foot birdie putt on the final hole to break a tie with Nicole Castrale and take the lead in the LPGA Championship.
Peavy to miss a month
Anaheim, Calif. — San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy is expected to miss at least a month because of his injured ankle, meaning he may not return until after the All-Star break. He was scratched from today’s start against the Los Angeles Angels after an MRI showed that the tibialis tendon behind his right ankle was torn.
Tigers shelve Bonderman
Detroit — The Tigers have placed right-hander Jeremy Bonderman on the 15-day disabled list and recalled pitcher Ryan Perry from Toledo.