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Hall basks in victory's glow

by Staff

Adam Hall gave the Penguins some breathing room at 7:18 when he made a heady play behind the Detroit net, shooting the puck off the back of Osgood and into the net during a mad scramble in front. WATCH Adam Hall's goal
PITTSBURGH – Penguins' fourth-liner Adam Hall was soaking in the moment following the 3-2 victory with a throng of reporters surrounding his locker stall that was at least four people deep.

He talked about the team, about how big of a win it was for the Penguins Wednesday night. When asked about scoring the game-winning goal, which he did 7:18 into the third period – it put the Penguins up 3-1 – Hall talked about the team.

But in a quieter moment, a one-on-one interview, Hall allowed himself 15 seconds to talk about himself and what scoring a game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final meant to him.

"You know, this is the ultimate stage for a hockey player," Hall told "Since you were a little kid this is what you grew up watching every year on TV and you were always dreaming about scoring that goal to win the Stanley Cup. To be on this stage and have a game like this, it's definitely up there."

Hall scored the goal by banking the puck in off of Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood's backside. He originally shot the puck off the side of the net and it took a fortuitous bounce behind the goal. Hall was able to gather it again, and with Osgood fighting to get back in position he just fired the puck at the goalie and wound up with gold.

"You don't think about it. You don't have time to think," Hall said. "I just threw it off the back of him just hoping to bank it off of him."

-- Dan Rosen

Crease Warfare -- In essence, small battles form the big picture when it comes to the Stanley Cup Final.

Perhaps the most entertaining battle so far has been the play of Pittsburgh's defensemen against Detroit's crease menace, Tomas Holmstrom, who seemed to get the best of the battle the first two games. But Pittsburgh evened the score Wednesday night in the Game 3 victory.

Holmstrom didn't have a point and actually missed part of the third period after being injured in a front-of-the-crease battle.

"I thought Tommy did a good job going to the net," Wing coach Mike Babcock said. "I think they tried to do something each and every game. That front, he drew, I think for certain, two penalties. But our power play has to be better."

Holmstrom did draw two penalties, both assessed to Hal Gill, who waged a running battle with the big Swede in front of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Gill wasn't happy with the penalties, either. He suggested that Holmstrom was diving, a theme that has been building since Game 1.

"I don't know who I am more mad at, him for diving or the ref for not calling the dive," Gill said.

Gill got some support from teammate Brooks Orpik.

"It's amazing how easy he goes down 5-on-5," said Orpik. "I play against him on the power play and he gets in position and you can't move the guy. It's amazing how strong he is at times and how easy he goes down at times. He's one of the strongest players I have ever played against and to see guys going down that easy, it's disappointing at times."

-- Shawn Roarke

Sydor settles in -- Darryl Sydor figured it would take him a few shifts to get used to the speed and the pressure of playoff hockey, but the 16-year veteran who has now played in the Stanley Cup Final five times settled in and had a strong playoff debut.

Sydor, who was a healthy scratch for the Penguins first 16 playoff games, played 18 shifts totaling 13:31 of ice time. He was credited with two blocked shots and one hit.

"The first shift wasn't the best one I wanted, but I knew that would happen," Sydor said. "I knew there would be jitters and nerves. You can do all you want in practices, but when you get out there timing and people getting on you quick. I felt better as the game went on."

Sydor's teammates appreciated the effort he gave these past two months despite the fact that he never played a game. His work habits paid off Wednesday night.

"Him and the rest of the guys who haven't played a lot, who have been staying after practice, working hard, getting skated pretty hard for the last two months here, they all realize that there might be an opportunity if their name is called," Sidney Crosby said. "He's done a great job of making sure he's in good shape, and he looked great out there tonight."

Orpik said noticed a tangible difference Sydor made.

"There was that one rush when he jumped up into the play and we got about three or four chances after he jumped up with that backhander," Orpik said. "I think that sparked us. Everyone got going after that and Sid scored right after that."

-- Dan Rosen

Malkin makes mark -- Evgeni Malkin may still be searching for his first point of the Stanley Cup Final, but without a doubt the maligned Hart Trophy candidate, who has been criticized for his slippage in play of late, played his best game of the Final.

Malkin had three shots on goal and was throwing his body around as he accumulated 17:52 of ice time. He had only one shot on goal and was a minus-2 in Detroit.

"The first two games weren't the best games our team played and especially me," Malkin said through his translator. "My coaches helped me with some recommendations of what I should do and I went over it with myself what I had to do better. I had a good game."

Even a late penalty he took for hooking Niklas Kronwall with 4:18 to play in the game didn't dampen Malkin's spirit. However, he did thank his teammates for killing off that penalty and keeping their 3-2 lead.

"He got some chances, got some quality shots," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said of Malkin. "He worked really well both sides of the ice. If Geno keeps playing like this, you know eventually he's going to get rewarded."

-- Dan Rosen

Ready, aim, fire -- The Red Wings may have lost Game 3, but they continued to outshoot the Penguins by a wide margin.

The Wings wound up outshooting Pittsburgh 34-24 – and that's the smallest margin in the three games this far. For the series, Detroit has out-shot Pittsburgh 104-65, an average of 13 per game – almost precisely the Wings' per-game advantage during the playoffs. The 24 shots were the most by the Penguins in the series.

One big difference in Game 3 was that Fleury got more help from his teammates. The Penguins blocked 26 shots, only one less than they had in the first two games combined.

-- John Kreiser

Racehorse hockey -- NBC play-by-play man Mike Emrick got a workout in the third period, when the Penguins and Red Wings played without a whistle for a span of 6:03 after Adam Hall's goal at 7:18 gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead.

The teams went end to end with abandon in a span that saw seven shots on goal, eight more that were blocked and three others that missed the net. There were also seven hits credited, including four by Orpik in a 14-second span as he worked to keep the Red Wings away from Fleury's crease.

An icing call at 13:21 finally gave Emrick – and the 17,132 fans at Mellon Arena – the chance to catch their breath.

-- John Kreiser

Henrik Zetterberg are the Detroit Red Wings were not happy with their performance in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

No Need To Panic-- While the Red Wings saw their series lead trimmed from 2-0 to 2-1 on Wednesday night, star forward Henrik Zetterberg doesn't believe it's time for hysterics.

After all, the Wings did control the tempo at the start of the game and held an early 9-1 edge in shots on goal. It wasn't until Crosby scored with 2:35 left in the first period that the tide began to turn.

"We're not happy about the way we played," said Zetterberg, who was held to three shots on goal. "We made some mistakes and they took advantage of it and scored some goals. They had the puck and we couldn't get it, and they scored. If we just take care of that and keep playing good offense, we'll be all right."

-- Brian Compton

Everyone has to step on the gas -- Hall said this was the kind of night he dreamed of as a kid growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, scoring the winning goal in a Stanley Cup Final game.

"This is the ultimate high stakes for me," he said after giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-1 lead 7:18 into the third period of a 3-2 victory over the Red Wings. "Yeah, I dreamed of something like this when I was growing up, but it's so much sweeter to see it go in for real."

Hall had just two goals in 46 games for the Penguins in the regular season. Now, he has two goals in 14 playoff games.

Coming off the bench on a change, the 27-year-old winger got control of a bouncing puck behind the Detroit net. He saw Osgood was having trouble get back into the goal crease, so he took a chance on trying to bounce a shot off Osgood's rear end and in -- and it worked.

A fourth-line game-winning goal.

"It's not like the first line is going to score all of the goals in the playoffs," Hall said. "Everyone has to step on the gas."

-- Larry Wigge

Home Cooking -- Detroit became victim No. 4 in the list of teams that have yet to beat Pittsburgh at Mellon Arena this postseason.

With a 3-2 win over the Wings in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Pens improved to 9-0 on home ice. With the crowd roaring well before the drop of the puck, Pittsburgh finally broke through and ended Osgood's shutout streak at 137 minutes and 25 seconds when Crosby scored his first of two goals on the night.

"Whenever you come back to your home rink and you have your home crowd, you feel a little bit more of a boost," Red Wings forward Kirk Maltby said. "He got two goals tonight. But we had a chance to tie it up late, and unfortunately we ran out of time."

-- Brian Compton

Home ice bounce -- The Penguins are understandably glad to be home after two straight shutout losses in Detroit. Besides having their home fans behind them, the Pens are much more familiar with the quirks and bounces in Mellon Arena.

"The boards in Detroit are very bouncy. Here they're not that great," defenseman Ryan Whitney said of the difference between the two. "In Detroit, the Wings know how to use that – they take shots that miss the net and bounce out in the slot."

While Whitney will also be glad to be playing in front of "our atmosphere and fans," he was impressed by the number of Penguins' fans who made the trip to Detroit for the first two games.

"There were tons" of Pittsburgh fans, he noted. "They were great to see. We heard them in the warmups. I was just sorry we couldn't give them something to cheer about."

-- John Kreiser

Mirror image -- In all sports, the hardest team to play is often the one that plays most like you do. That's a lesson the Penguins are learning – often painfully – in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Penguins rely on controlling the puck to generate their offense. But in the Red Wings, they're playing the team that hangs onto the puck better than any club in the NHL.

"They're a puck-possession team, and we're a puck-possession team," Therrien said. "That's the first time this year we're having such a hard time to get to the puck."

One thing Therrien is hoping for is that the change of venues – from Detroit's Joe Louis Arena to Mellon Arena – will result in some more power plays for his team.

"Hopefully, we're going to get some calls, starting tonight, that will give us a chance to, first of all, put the power play on the ice," he said. "After a few penalties, usually players adjust and give you a chance to get to the puck.

"Right now, we're having a hard time to get to that puck, so it's tough to manage the puck like we're used to."

-- John Kreiser


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