The plays that turn the tide in every game of playoff action -- that is what the beauty of hockey history is built on.
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Stanley Cup Finals - Game 3 - Detroit at Pittsburgh
A) Two quick strikes -
After controlling much of the play early on, Pittsburgh finally broke through. Dan Cleary
turned the puck over at the Detroit blue line, where Kris Letang
picked it up to keep the possession alive. Letang dished it to Evgeni Malkin
, who sent a one-time pass over to Maxime Talbot
for a shot from between the faceoff circles and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
The excitement would be short-lived, however, as Ville Leino
took the puck from behind the Pittsburgh net and went hard to the goal. The puck was poked away by Sergei Gonchar
, but it wound up on the tape of Henrik Zetterberg
, who wristed an easy goal past a screened Marc-Andre Fleury
, quieting the Mellon Arena crowd and tying the game just 91 seconds after Talbot had sent the Penguins faithful into a frenzy.
B) Z's lucky bounce -
With the Wings on their first power play of the night, Detroit was struggling to put together good chances. But after a faceoff in the Penguins' zone the puck eventually came to Niklas Kronwall
at the blue line, who passed it along to Henrik Zetterberg
at the left halfboards. Zetterberg then attempted to center the puck with a pass across the zone, but it was deflected between the circles off the stick of Matt Cooke
In a stroke of bad luck for the Penguins, the puck went straight to Johan Franzen
at the bottom of the right circle. Franzen lifted the puck into the top left corner of the net, giving the Wings a 2-1 lead.
C) Letang's slapper -
Pittsburgh was staring at a deficit heading back to the locker rooms at the first intermission, when a holding call on Daniel Cleary
would give the Penguins a shot to tie the game. The Pens would cash in on the opportunity, as Evgeni Malkin
passed the puck across the zone and just beyond the reach of Johan Frazen to Kris Letang
. Letang nearly lost the puck, but recovered it and fired a hard slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle.
While Niklas Kronwall
may have screened Chris Osgood
, Letang's slapper beat the netminder five hole, tying the game near the end of the opening period.
D) Samuelsson kisses iron -
After Johan Franzen
lost control of the puck in the Pittsburgh zone, Ruslan Fedotenko
swooped it up and moved out of the defensive zone. Once at the red line, however, Fedotenko attempted to pass the puck, but fanned on the dish. A Detroit defender then pushed the puck up ice where it was picked up by Mikael Samuelsson
Samuelsson found himself on a breakaway with a golden opportunity to break the stalemate early in the second period. The winger geared up and released a hard wrister from in between the faceoff circles, and while the shot beat Marc-Andre Fleury
, it couldn't beat the iron. The rubber clanged loudly off the post, leaving the game square at two goals apiece.
E) Gonchar's winner -
An interference call against Jonathan Ericsson
gave Pittsburgh the extra man midway through the third period. The Penguins would spend their third power play of the night pouring on the pressure, taking numerous shots on net and keeping possession in the Detroit zone -- due in no small part to the deft puckhandling of Sidney Crosby
After a shot by Kris Letang
went wide of the net, Evgeni Malkin
took the puck behind the net and skated to the right halfboards. Malkin passed to Sergei Gonchar
, who blasted a shot from the blue line that was deflected in front of the net and past Chris Osgood
. Gonchar's goal finally broke the tie, giving Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead and, eventually, their first win of the Stanley Cup Final.
FINAL SCORE: Penguins 4, Red Wings 2