Gonchar

Gonchar

That’s more like it.

The Pittsburgh Penguins finally looked worthy of being on the same sheet of ice with the Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Stanley Cup final last night, as they rode two goals by Max Talbot and a bounce-back netminding performance by Marc-Andre Fleury to a 4-2 Game 3 win that sliced the Wings’ series lead to 2-1.

On a night that the Pens’ stars outshone the Wings’ big names, defenseman Sergei Gonchar – a former Boston Bruins blueliner — might’ve been the biggest hero. His goal at 10:29 of the third period broke a 2-2 tie. Just the fact that Gonchar has been gritting it out after his second-round knee injury is remarkable enough. But that way he’s playing, it’s hard to tell he was ever hurt. And he truly is an offensive difference-maker for the Pens, who need power-play success to thrive against the Wings or anyone.

So a couple mistakes and a couple of failed penalty kills and all of a sudden the Wings have a series on their hands. No one would be surprised if the veteran defending champs revert to their form of the first two games and take back total control of this series in Game 4 Thursday. But now that the Pens have found their game, and Gonchar has found his scoring touch, at least we know Detroit is going to have to battle for that control.