Stanley Cup Final Preview: Time For Revenge?
Bad Breaks Have Penguins Down 2-0 To Wings
Total Pro Sports – After two games, they have outshot the Detroit Red Wings, a feat that is not easily accomplished by most NHL teams, but they have still yet to beat them in this year’s edition of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.
Blame it on the schedule, the refs, or the goalies. Whatever the problem is, the Penguins better find a way to solve it going home, else they will be watching the Wings raise the Cup in front of them for the second straight season.
Game one had its fair share of ugly goals and game two was much of the same. The Pens opened the scoring in the first period with a Brad Stuart own goal that was credited to Evgeni Malkin on the power-play. The Wings would even it up in the 2nd after an icing by the Pens led to a Jonathan Ericsson goal off the faceoff. It was questioned whether Dan Bylsma should have used a timeout, but after doing so in a similar scenario last game and still having a goal scored against, he decided against it this time. That would prove to be a costly error as the goal changed the momentum and the Pens’ timeout would not be utilized throughout the remainder of the game.
The Wings continue to come at the Penguins and after a very controversial non-call by Marian Hossa to keep the play in the offensive zone, Valtteri Filppula would backhand a loose puck past a sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-1. Penguin players voiced their displeasure towards the men in stripes, but to no avail.
The Penguins got their fair share of chances, hitting the post on several occasions, but Sidney Crosby and the gang could not solve Chris Osgood, and the Wings Justin Abdelkader would put a slap shot on a rolling puck over the glove of Fleury to seal a 3-1 victory.
In the dying seconds of the game, as the Pens tried desperately to put one by Osgood, some rough stuff would break out, eventually leading to a mock-fight between Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg. Malkin would be assessed an instigator penalty, automatically carrying with it a one game suspension, but the call was later rescinded by league officials. That was the right call and it is doubtful that any Wings’ player or coach will dispute that.
It is also unlikely they will dispute the no-call on their second goal, but don’t expect the same from the Pens. The refs have decided to put their whistles away during this series and although it has resulted in “unfair” chances for both teams, it has also kept the flow going, leading some (like Don Cherry) to applaud the efforts of the referees thus far.
So now headed back to Pittsburgh for game three set for Tuesday night, the Penguins will need to find a way to score. They have been getting the chances and even though they go back home with similar results as last year, they have been much more effective this time around and have played step for step with the Wings. Game three will be a big one, but expect the Pens to come out hard, and if they can get Crosby going, they have every reason to believe that they even the series before going back to Detroit. But if Zetterberg, Osgood and the rest of the Wings continue to stymie Pens offense, it could be a much shorter visit to the finals this time around.
TPS was at game one over the weekend, and we must say, it was quite the atmosphere. The Pittsburgh fans traveled in large numbers and could be heard loudly throughout the first two periods of the game, but in the end, it was the Wing fans singing loudest. Here are a couple of the more interesting moments shared by Wing and Pens fans we happened to witness:
- Following the game, one wing fan slapped a Pens fan in the face with my poster. That’s right. I was carrying my piece of Joe Louis memorabilia that someone donated to me. She took it from my hands, smacked him, and gave it back.
- A larger Penguins fan in the row behind us had one too many to drink, and after the Penguins scored, he was caught off-balance and fell onto the family of Red Wing fans beside us. One of the younger girls was actually injured in the incident, requiring an ice pack later in the game.
- It is pretty surprising, but there was actually Toronto Maple Leaf jerseys in attendance. Those Leaf fans are everywhere, and who can blame them. It’s been a while since they have seen playoff hockey in their own building.
We didn’t get to see any flying kicks, or hot dog shooters, but it was a great game nonetheless. Here are some of the things we caught on camera.