No NHL team has won consecutive Stanley Cups since Pittsburgh did it in 1992.
Wednesday night's game between the defending champion Detroit Red Wings and the Dallas Stars illustrates just how bumpy the road can be.A hockey version of a "Hail Mary" pass beat Detroit 3-2 in overtime to keep the Stars alive in their Western Conference finals.
Jamie Langenbrunner's 70-foot slap shot from beyond the blue line sent the series back to Detroit on Friday night for Game 6, with the Red Wings wondering what happened to goalie Chris Osgood.
Dallas is trying to beat tremendous odds to get into the Stanley Cup finals. No team has ever overcome a 3-to-1 deficit in the conference finals.
Langenbrunner's hot shot came just 46 seconds into the overtime. He let fly inside the red line, and the puck took several little hops on the soft ice and beat Osgood on his stick side.
Detroit captain Steve Yzerman quickly rushed to Osgood's defense.
"We're not worried about Chris," Yzerman said in the hushed Detroit dressing room. "We have confidence in him. We knew we wouldn't have an easy time playing in Dallas. "
Langenbrunner, who was at the end of his shift and getting ready to head to the bench, couldn't believe his good fortune that produced his first goal of the playoffs.
"I was definitely surprised it went in," Lang-en-brunner said. "I was just trying to get a shot on net. I just crossed the red line and shot. "
Langenbrunner said the Stars knew Osgood gave up some long distance goals in earlier playoff games.
"You watch the other series and see what goes in," Langenbrunner said. "Our style against any goalie is to get the puck to the net. I don't know if I've ever had one from that far. It's been a tough playoff for me. I've been robbed several times."
Osgood said the puck took a crazy bounce.
"The puck curled up my stick, and when it got past, I knew it was in. There wasn't much I could do," Osgood said as he hurried to the team bus.
Detroit coach Scotty Bowman refused to blame his goalie.
"We lose as a team," Bowman said. "We won two at home, so we know we can win there. We just have to start the game with an open mind. We can't think about what happened. We were trying to protect the lead and we made some mistakes."
Detroit's Brent Gilchrist, who used to play for Dallas, said the Stars deserved the win.
"I thought they played a good game and deserved to win," Gilchrist said. "They had a lot of pressure on us in the third period, and Chris played unbelievable to keep us there. It's too bad we couldn't hang on."
Guy Carbonneau's wrist shot into the upper left-hand corner of the net beat Osgood on his glove side to tie the game 2-2 with 1:25 left.
"I was trying to create a chance. You're desperate in that situation," Carbonneau said. "I was just trying to shoot it at the net. Nobody wanted the season to be over."
"We caught a break with the overtime goal, but we battled hard and that's the way we have to play," Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Our persistence paid off. Now we get to fight another day."