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Pens add experience, Wings scoring punch for Game 2

Monday, 05.26.2008 / 8:00 PM
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Pens add experience, Wings scoring punch for Game 2
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings
Phil Coffey | NHL.com Editorial Director 
DETROIT – At first blush, the Detroit Red Wings' 4-0 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final had all the classic characteristic ingredients of a rout. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins, after all, were shut out, nearly doubled in shots, 36-19, and lost the territorial battle in the second and third periods. But looks can be deceiving, especially if you're not amid the planning and playing.

"I wouldn't change anything, to be honest," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said in advance of tonight's Game 2 (6 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio). "We had our chances, and we didn't put them in. It came down to execution, but it's pretty tight. It's playoff hockey, comes down to whether you put the puck into the net or you don't. I don't think they did a whole lot to shut us down completely. It was tight checking, and they got their chances. We got ours. And we'll continue to try to create things and battle."

But there will be changes in Game 2, especially for Pittsburgh. For the Penguins, veteran Gary Roberts is expected to play after sitting out the opener as a healthy scratch. Georges Laraque is expected to sit out. In addition, the Pens shuffled their lines considerably at Sunday's practice. Ryan Malone was on the left side of Crosby and Marian Hossa, with Pascal Dupuis moving to the left side with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy. Evgeni Malkin figures to center Max Talbot and Petr Sykora while Jarkko Ruutu will be on the left side of Adam Hall and Roberts.

"Don't pay attention to the lines today," Penguins coach Michel Therrien joked. "We're going to take five minutes away for the press conference. No, we've got to make adjustments. Every team has to make adjustments through the course of the playoffs. And we believe those adjustments are going to help us to get success.

"Like I said before, it's not like we didn't want Gary Roberts in our lineup," Therrien said. "It was like the guys before we get to the Final did a fantastic job. They get a reward. It's about rewarding players, and when we told Gary that he was not playing, (we have) got to make sure he's got the right attitude and make sure he's ready to play.

"I've got confidence that he was going to be back in our lineup. He's going to be back in our lineup. And obviously when you take somebody who is not playing, you bring him into your lineup, somebody's gotta get out. So we evaluate all different options, and we decide it's going to be Georges."

Roberts is one of three Pens to have won a Stanley Cup, along with winger Petr Sykora and defenseman Darryl Sydor, and he always has been a strong leader, so his return was welcomed by teammates.

"He's going to bring physical presence," Crosby said. "Obviously his experience, too. But he's a guy that can go out there and really give you momentum with a big hit or creating that energy that you need sometimes. So I think when he's out there, every guy on the ice knows it. He's someone that's going to bring a lot of energy for us."

The Red Wings are hoping to welcome Johan Franzen and his 12 goals in 11 playoff games back for Game 2 as well. Franzen has missed the last six games with concussion-like symptoms, but Wings coach Mike Babcock figured he will be ready.

"Yeah, we haven't been able to find a doctor to keep him out," he joked. "So we're trying, though. He's going to practice again - he's practiced today. He's going to practice again tomorrow. He's been cleared to do everything. So one of these days he'll get cleared to play."

The Red Wings aren't fooled by the appearances of Game 1. In fact, the Wings were pretty impressed with the way the Penguins started Game 1 and found flaws in their own game to overcome.

"It's not like Crosby and his line and Malkin and Sid's line didn't have chances," Babcock said. "If you go through the chances, for us we were out-chanced in the first period. They had four power plays, and they out-chanced us. They out-shot us and out-chanced us. If we don't have some puck luck in front of our net and things don't go the way, maybe they're up, and then the game's different.

"So from our perspective, we've got to tighten up," Babcock said. "We gave up too much on the penalty kill. We didn't think we got started on time. Just being nervous and not handling the puck like we're capable of handling it. And those are good players. And the one thing about good players is they're real competitive. If they don't like their game, their last game, they usually have a better game the next game.

"And they can all shoot it," Babcock said. "And really shoot it. I mean Gonchar shoots a bomb. Malkin shoots a bomb. Crosby has a great release. And then with Malone, you have a good net front guy and a great low walk in Hossa. So to me, they have all the ingredients of a real good power play. That's probably why they're leading the playoffs in power-play percentage."

For Chris Osgood, or any goalie for that matter, facing the Penguins is a difficult task at best because of their staggering array of offensive talent. Osgood know the limited attempts he saw during the second and third periods of Game 1 will probably be the exception rather than the rule.

"Just trying to follow the puck," Osgood said of his approach. "(Ryan) Malone in front of me. (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin making great passes and obviously (Marian) Hossa, great shooter and (Sergei) Gonchar. For me, I tried to stay big, tried to get as much of my body in front of screen shots as I could. Just track the puck. They made the nice passes to the back door a few times. I just try to get over there as fast as I can and make myself big.

"The one thing we did good on penalty kills, we didn't give them very many second chances," Osgood said. "When we did get our stick, we got it down the ice. That's important against them, not to give them second and third opportunities in their power play."

One point is abundantly clear, the Penguins will not panic after a road defeat and the Red Wings do not believe the home win in Game 1 has guaranteed anything.

"It's only Game 1," Crosby said. "So I don't think it's desperation. Like I said, it's matchups. I don't think we've had to match up our lines as far as the different tandems that the other teams play against us or 'D' pairings and stuff like that. For the most part, we've had to play against, with one of our lines, probably one really strong pairing, and then it's kind of tailed off after that. It's a little different with this team. So it all comes down to matchups."

"This is only one game," Therrien said. "We would like to have had a better result yesterday. I didn't think we played a good game. And the Red Wings played really well. I mean, in time I believe we could play a lot better.

"We've proven in the past after a fair performance we always bounce back," Therrien continued. "This is what I'm expecting from that team. And we addressed it with the players before the practice. And it was important to make sure we got the right attitude today. I thought our guys were sharp during practice. So we're going to try to bring that to the game."

"They had some chances," Osgood said. "They played real hard. We did a good job of taking away the middle in the last two periods, and kept them to the outside as much as we could. Another difference was to stay out of the box. That was huge for us the last two periods. We're happy with what we did the last two periods, but we know it's just one game. And we have to continue to do it for the rest of the series."



 

 

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Jun 04 '08DET 3 at PIT 2H. Zetterberg
Jun 02 '08PIT 4 at DET 3 - OTP. Sykora
May 31 '08DET 2 at PIT 1J. Hudler
May 28 '08DET 2 at PIT 3A. Hall
May 26 '08PIT 0 at DET 3B. Stuart
May 24 '08PIT 0 at DET 4M. Samuelsson
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%