Game one’s story line was directed by the man under the microscope all year long. This individual became a hero in a Detroit 3-1 win.Chris Osgood, who is making his own statement for the Hall of Fame, stepped up and won a game for his team. He was able to stymie Crosby and Malkin (stopped on a breakaway), even through a dominating second period was played by the Pens. The Wings did exactly what they needed to win the game.Aside from the goaltending heroics, highlights came on behalf of some unassuming stars.What will Game 2 bring, when the first time back to back games are being played in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1955?
In period number one it was played cautiously until a couple of opportunities by Fedotenko and Kunitz were stopped by Osgood.Non challant and controlled was the Wing tender through the first 15 minutes....then .... the fist PP of the night went to the Pens and they were patient until a shot by Malkin was knocked into his own net by Stuart.Malkin scored his 13th of the playoffs.The Wings finished off the first period not having a shot on goal for almost 9 minutes.Confidence prevailed for the Pens as the period advanced....1-0 Pittsburgh.There is no space for Crosby and Malkin as the defensive zone coverage of the Wings continues to be impressive.Special teams will be the difference maker tonight.
The Pens started the first 4 minutes with some good pressure.Malkin ripped one off the post past Osgood then the Wings woke up.They turned the heat up during the next few minutes and the Pens iced the puck....lost the proceeding face-off, a little pick by Samuelsson on Malkin off the draw and a shot that found the net.Helm won the face-off and set up the screen as Ericsson was credited with the goal. (Minus his appendices)
The Wings caught a huge break. Maybe it should have been a minor penalty.During their first PP, Hossa broke the stick of Pascal Dupuis with a slash.As Malkin was coming out of the penalty box, a second effort by Filpula to keep the puck in the zone resulted in #51 collecting a rebound and deposited a beauty of a backhand on the high blocker side of the net as Fleury was trying to collect his vertical...2-1 Detroit
Not long after, the Wings catch another break.Crosby set up shop behind the net and fed Bill Geurin who one timed one off the stick side post.End to end action was stopped for a only a second as Abdelkader laid a full body hit on the big man Malkin....both were stunned but the aggressor remained on the pond to finish his shift.The second period laid claim to why the Wings win.Skill....being opportunistic...heady perseverance ....these are a few examples that can only be maintained by hard work and battling....fun to watch through 2 periods of hockey!!
Period three starts out with the Crosby, Kunitz and Guerin crashing the net.A post hit, a scramble along the goal line and a Seeing Eye puck that will not go in the Red Wing net were early highlights.....THEN.....a self induced 1 on 3 by Abdelkader, a shot off Fleury’s glove and a 3-1 lead.This is the game of hockey.It looks like the Pens are going to tie it at one end, and then an innocent play becomes the separator. The Wings are scary good and tonight playing hard and have been lucky at times!
Osgood in one sense has caught a few breaks, but in another, does what he needs to do to win games. (30/31 in the save department)Stopping a breakaway on Crosby; kicking away a Malkin chance in tight and poise low to the ice was his flavor tonight.He is a competitor and does get plenty of support from his team in front of him. To Ozzie’s credit he has 3 Cups, 2 that he can take credit as being a difference maker.He simply has set the tone for this final series.
The Detroit Red Wings are in control.They do it again without Datsyuk and Draper.The Pens are frustrated and show it in the last minute.Malkin goes after Zetterburg and shows some emotion and obvious frustration, call it what you will. The Wings defensively have the stymied the stars of the Pens.The Wings do it all the time.That is their game they do it to all of us.
They will do it again...they win 3-1 and take a 2-0 series lead and head to Pittsburgh.Line match ups are now in the hands of Bylsma and the staff!!....Fleury has to be sharp if they have any chance at all.