The shots were 12-6 in favor of the Wings and the score 2-0. Simply put, the Wings control the puck and the Pens have got to find a way to get it back. All six of the Pens shots were via the power play. The dominance of puck control, taking away the speed in the neutral zone and the simple breakouts using the weak side of the ice has been very impressive through 20 minutes. They have simple support around the puck in every area of the ice.
Watch how effective Datsyuk is with and without the puck. Very seldom does one see him not come up with the puck in traffic. When he does, he will make something happen and usually Zetterberg has found open ice to receive it from him. Valteri Filpula is another player that is beginning to emerge as prototypical Wing. He is beginning to show composure in tight areas sees the ice as well as anyone and can take the punishment. His growth is not always measured in points, but created opportunities.
Where are the Penguins? Don't blame them. As part of the CBJ's we felt the wrath of the Wings game eight times this year and actually played them well having a chance to win the season series in late March. Therrien must get his stars on the ice more often and some cycling low must be part of their plan when they do get the puck in the zone. Over half way through the game only seven total shots by the Pens. The best opportunity in the game so far shows Andreas Lilya falling down and Pens going in on the 2-0 in tight on Osgood, but to no avail. Frustrations are beginning to mount as the period moves on Malone playing with his third broken nose of his career goes to the box. The Pens now have five periods of no goals in the finals and the Wings have tied an NHL playoff record as the have scored the first six goals of the Final Series.
Datsyuk… you have to love this guy even more after sending in Zetterberg for a great opportunity… there was a late hit on Zetterberg and the result, he goes after Malone to stick up for his partner. As the period continues, it becomes apparent the frustrations are growing in the Pen corner, but a grandmother call on Dallas Drake, with 12 minutes to go is quickly nullified as Malone goes to the box for his third time tonight… the frustrations continue. Playing 4on4 with the Wings controlling the puck, Filpula scored a goal that will be shown throughout the hockey world tomorrow. It was a goal where all four players touched the puck as they dangled their way up the ice… and now a new record of seven consecutive goals to start the series.
Gary Roberts has tried to play a heavy game tonight. At 42 years old, he returned after a bout with pneumonia and was in the face of every one that moved… even the "Mule" Johan Franzen, as he gave him a little shot to the head to let him know he was back. It just set off an alarm on Franzen as he gets a couple of shots of his own in on a Penguin. No concussion-like symptoms tonight as he played a solid game.
As the game continued, the frustrations lead to a lack of discipline and several penalties… that will not take a team to the Promised Land, but will only embarrass. There is no need for that in this great game. Roberts after Datsyuk?... Sykora runs Osgood? This is not team toughness, but shows no class on behalf of the Pens. It is not physicality but cheap shots.
Doc Emerick said it best… "it was masterful surgery" on behalf of the Wings… the better team is dominating the game in all areas. It will be time to stitch up the wound in Pittsburgh… going as planned says Dr. Babcock and his cast of fellows!!... back-to-back goose eggs for Ozzie, the fourth in history to start the final series. Sooooo…
*Throughout the season, AAA brought you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings". The Columbus Blue Jackets broadcasters will try to keep you updated on all the offseason action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets get to the free agency period.