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A report card look at Wednesday's third game of the Stanley Cup final @NHL

PITTSBURGH - A report card look at Game 3 of the NHL's Stanley Cup final between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins:


Penguins, A: Sidney Crosby delivered the kind of magical nights people talk about 20 years later. It's as if he told his teammates, 'Jump on my back boys, I'm going to carry us back into this final.'

Crosby led the way with two goals and his fellow forwards followed. Marian Hossa and Evgeni Malkin, welcome to the Cup final. We missed you. Malkin, who bore most of the brunt for the opening two losses after a pair of no-shows, was electric. Hossa was flying on Crosby's right side, putting up two assists.

The support soldiers were also effective. The fourth line grinded out the third goal by Adam Hall. Linemate Gary Roberts had some big hits on the night. Maxime Talbot was full of energy. Head coach Michel Therrien, with the last line change, was able to get Crosby's line away from Henrik Zetterberg's and it made a huge difference.

Red Wings, B: Valtteri Filppula's second line with Johan Franzen and Mikael Samuelsson had another strong outing. Franzen's goal was a thing of beauty in the second period and Samuelsson gave his team hope in the third period with his goal. Stars Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were shut out.


Penguins, B: The Wings had made a habit of crashing the crease and making Marc-Andre Fleury's miserable in the opening two games. On Wednesday night they paid the price to be in the blue paint. Tomas Holmstrom, in particular, took a beating from the Penguins defencemen, notably from Hal Gill.

Wings, B-minus: The Penguins finally got a forecheck going in this game and the Wings' blue-liners heard footsteps on a few shifts. Under more pressure, not all the outlet passes were perfect and there was even the odd turnover. Clearly no cause for concern, however.


Penguins, B-plus: Fleury was outstanding in the first period when the Wings took an early 9-1 shots advantage. That was crucial because a Detroit goal could have crushed the Penguins' shaky confidence. Instead, his big saves held his team in the game until Crosby opened the scoring and allowed the Penguins to relax. And believe.

Fleury probably should have had Samuelsson's goal. But he was solid when the Wings pressed for the equalizer and preserved the victory.

Wings, C: Chris Osgood should have probably had the opening goal by Crosby and was unnecessarily out of position when Hall banked a shot of him from behind the net in the third period.

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