Pens battling jinx at Joe

Sidney Crosby has yet to record a point at Joe Louis Arena in the Stanley Cup final. (Sun...

Sidney Crosby has yet to record a point at Joe Louis Arena in the Stanley Cup final. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

DETROIT -- In this Stanley Cup final tale of two cities, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins must do something they've haven't done all season: Win at Joe Louis Arena.

The last time the Penguins won in Detroit was Game 5 of last year's final, in triple OT. They've since lost four straight at the Joe -- three in this series and once in the regular season.

But they're undaunted by the monumental task facing them tomorrow night in Game 7 of this final.

"We've just got to stay confident in our game," said centre Jordan Staal. "Every night, if we play the right way, we know we'll be fine. You could tell (before Game 6) that everybody was comfortable in the room and ready to play.

"We knew if we played the right way, we'd come out on top. We just feel the same way coming into Game 7."

GAME 5 DEBACLE

There has been a huge difference in the way the Penguins have played at Mellon Arena compared to the Joe.

In the 2-1 win in Game 6 Tuesday, the Penguins were the more aggressive team until the Wings took their game to another level in the third period.

But in Game 5 in Detroit, the Penguins got hammered 5-0. They've only scored two goals in the first three games in Detroit during the final.

That can't help their confidence, although the Penguins remain optimistic.

"It's not really about home ice. It's about playing the game and dictating (tempo)," said coach Dan Bylsma. "The home crowd gives you momentum a lot of times and makes it hard to get the momentum back because the building keeps going and going and going.

"That's the tough part of being on the road with two teams so close because that can be an edge. We have to be better in Detroit around the goalie. We have to get more pucks there and win those battles and that is something they've done better at home than we've been able to do at their arena. The difference in the margin is going to be slim."

The Wings, looking for their 12th Cup in franchise history and fifth since 1997, are happy to be home.

"You feel a little more comfortable in (your) building," said coach Mike Babcock. "I've been in a series exactly like this (with Anaheim in 2003) and went into (New) Jersey for Game 7 and lost. It was the same thing ... We couldn't win on the road. We couldn't even touch the puck and it was ugly."

The veteran Wings have every right to be confident.

"Fatigue's not going to be a factor. It can't be. It's one game. So you know that laying it out on the line is so worthwhile. Knowing that there is no tomorrow, that any bumps, bruises, whatever you have, you have all summer to heal up," said centre Kris Draper.

"So now it's a matter of just getting to that level and just laying it all on the line for yourself, for your team, for everything. Because you know when, if you can win that game, everything that you've done is so worthwhile. All the sacrifices, everything that's been involved in this season, and that's exactly what we're going to do."


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