Thank You Pens For Giving Us A Series
Total Pro Sports – It wasn’t technically an elimination game last night for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it may as well have been. Down 2-0 in the series to the Detroit Red Wings, the Penguins found themselves tied 2-2 after two periods last night at home, but played the do-or-die third like you’d expect a desperate team to, and came out with a much needed 4-2 victory.
Ladies and Gentlemen we now have a series!
It looked scary for a while as Pens fans saw their team go into the second intermission being badly outshot 26-11, but the third period would be theirs, out-shooting the Wings 10-3 and outscoring them 2-0, one of those goals being an empty-net. How did they do it? Mostly on the backs of Evgeni Malkin (3 points), Marc -Andre Fleury (27 saves), and a surprise 2 goals from Max Talbot. Despite such great individual efforts, it was a complete team effort in the third, with all four lines and six d-men skating hard, taking the body, and moving the puck well. That would be too much for the Wings over the final 20 minutes, as they looked like the more tired of the two teams, and the final score reflected just that.
The game started off with a goal scoring spree in the opening period. The Pens got on the board first after a Max Talbot one-timer from the slot found its way past Wings goalie Chris Osgood. Less than two minutes later, Henrik Zetterberg grabbed a lose puck in front of the net and brought the Wings even again. They would take the lead on a Johan Franzen one-timer, but Kris Letang would even it up again on the power-play.
The second period was tight checking and as a result the score never changed. That would set the stage for the most important period of the post-season for the Penguins.
They replied, first with a power-play goal from Sergei Gonchar mid way through the third, then Talbot would seal it with an empty-net goal, his second of the night.
With the series now 2-1 in favor of the Wings, game 4 in Pittsburgh on Thursday will once again be much like an elimination game for the Pens. They will not want to go down 3-1 to the Wings for the second year in a row, as it is a daunting task to beat the defending Stanley Cup champions three consecutive games, especially with two of those being in Detroit.
Sidney Crosby was able to find the score sheet for the first time in the series last night, but even with last change on home ice, he still had a difficult time getting away from Henrik Zetterberg. One man who did have more room on the ice was Evgeni Malkin, and he responded with a large offensive output.
The Pens will need the same from him and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, as well as an improvement from Crosby in order to win three more games. They will also hope that the Wings do not get their star forward Pavel Datsyuk back for game 4. His presence means another strong defensive forward that will make things even tighter for the playoffs two leading scorers. Oh ya, and did we mention that Pavel was 4th in the league in points? Things might only get more difficult for the Pens from here, but if they expect to raise Lord Stanley, they will have to find a way to deal with it. Otherwise it will be Deja Vu all over again.
Here are the game 3 highlights.