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Game Three in Pittsburgh...Line Match-ups and Determination the Key?

by Bill Davidge / Columbus Blue Jackets

Before Game 3 even begins, the chess match has already begun.  Can the Red Wings match up accordingly against the Pens?  The question will be answered in 60 minutes of playoff hockey!! about the pre game introduction of Mario Lemieux as he dropped the ceremonial puck!!  It is great to see the affection and dedication for the individual that kept the dream going in the steel city....and how about the crowd outside of Mellon Arena?  The city of Columbus had a taste of what the future will bring to the Capital city.


Early match up? Malkin -Crosby What a line to start the game...but a “too cute” play by Crosby is nullified by the Wings defense.  Leino.-.Adbelkader – Maltby a solid checking line that will see the ice.  Bylsma sends Malkin out with a new line and the line of Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin are reunited and that is the way that will go as the evening continues.  The first 5 minutes is all Pittsburgh.  A turnover by Cleary in his zone is capitalized on a one timer by MaximeTalbot...a great feed by Malkin set the table....1-0 Pittsburgh.


As firehouse changes and matches are taking place, the Red Wings tie the score on a solid play by Ville Leino, as he directs the puck to the net, the rebound available then Zetterberg drills a drag snapper high over a sprawling Fleury...1-1 is the score.  The first PP goes to the Red Wings as Orpik made his way to the box...the Pens are 13/13 in kills going back to the Carolina series.  Things happen around the net, but the moving pick by Filpula out high gives the Wings an opportunity....but...a cross ice pass from Lebda to Franzen who moves into a scoring lane to one time it....2-1 Detroit.  So patient.


Pittsburgh tries a ploy...20-25 seconds of too many men on the ice.  No call....really no call!!  Four officials on the ice waiting to make a difference on the pond and the obvious is not being called...WOW....the Pens get their fist PP of the night on a too many men on the ice call served by Dan Cleary.  A couple of chances by the Pens are finally forgot about as Letang scores through the 5 hole of Osgood...bad goal, one that he has to make the save...score 2-2.  Pittsburgh is turning the heat up with speed and forcing the Detroit defense to turn and pick up the puck.  Another minor penalty is called on the Wings and good pressure is sustained by the home team without success. The end of period one is over 12-7 shots for the Wings and the score is tied 2-2.


Period 2 should prove to be interesting.  Hossa is possessed.  He shows his desire and the inert want to stick it up the “who-who” of the Pen fans.  They boo every shift.  The ice tilts for a second as Samuelsson takes advantage of a turnover in the neutral zone and proceeds to rip one of the stick side post. Five minutes into the 2nd, the Wings are controlling the pace. The next five minutes is a mixture of end to end, physical play and tight defensive zone coverage.  Typical 2nd period action relates to tight play in all three zones, waiting for someone to make a mistake.....but with 4:25 to go in the period the Wings have their 2nd PP of the game. The Wings are all around the net, but to no avail, the Saran Wrap is stapled to the posts of the Pittsburgh net....just wait.....there will be a minor penalty called on the Wings in short may take a while, but just watch...I know you did!!!!!  Shots on goal 26-11 in favor of the Wings!


Period 3 starts with the Penguins all over the Wings early.  Osgood was strong on a couple of chances.  The Pens continue to pressure the defense of the Wings, but defensively the Wings do a solid job of containment.....oh yes...remember that penalty?  An interference call to Ericsson at the 11 minute mark is called.  The Pens go ahead 3-2 on a PP goal on a shot by Gonchar with numbers in front of the net.  It was his 3rd of the playoffs.  Watch again....there will be no penalties called the rest of the game.  The officials will pack that metal object away and do not want any more to do with this game....just a guess...this will prove to be the game winner if I am a betting man!!!!!!!!


Opportunities at both ends are keeping the fans in standing motion...Talbot rips one off the post, then he goes in all alone and Osgood makes a huge this thing RIGGED?   My significant other is listening and paying attention to the blog and the play....NOT A CHANCE!! is easy to referee the game with a soft drink with cheese and crackers as my focus.  Did the better team win tell me!!  An empty net goal with 56.4 to go in the game by Talbot secures a 4-2 victory for the will be at least a five game series!!


Stay tuned!!!  Thursday night will be a dandy.













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