"I think we outplayed them (in Game 2) and, last year, we got outplayed pretty badly and went home thinking 'What are we going to do?' Right now, we're thinking we know what to do and just have to keep sticking to it. If we do, things are going to go our way."
-- Hal Gill
- The Pittsburgh Penguins
have come too far and absorbed too many scars to throw in their white rally towel at this stage in the playoffs.
"I think we outplayed them (in Game 2) and, last year, we got outplayed pretty badly and went home thinking 'What are we going to do?' defenseman Hal Gill
said. "Right now, we're thinking we know what to do and just have to keep sticking to it. If we do, things are going to go our way."
The fact the Penguins have outshot, won more faceoffs and have had fewer giveaways through two games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Wings hasn't really meant much. The reality is the Pens return home to Mellon Arena for Game 3 Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio) in desperate need of a victory. It's the same situation they faced in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the favored Washington Capitals
before rallying for a seven-game series win.
"We just have to play a 60-minute game against these guys," Penguins forward Chris Kunitz
said. "We must be able to throw more pucks on net and try and get better and better. I think everyone in this room feels we have a great, great chance to win this series and we have to go home and play in front of a great crowd in order to make that happen."
For starters, the Pens need to find a crack in the armor of Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood
, who has been nothing short of remarkable for the second-straight playoff season. In 18 games, Osgood is 14-4 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. He has stoned Sidney Crosby
and Evgeni Malkin
numerous times while receiving some assistance here and there from the goal post.
"You get into a zone where you're moving smartly and putting yourself in good position to make the stops," Osgood said. "Right now, I'm feeling sharp and feel good. It'll be nice to get this day of rest (Monday) before getting back at it on Tuesday."
Osgood, who is two victories shy of equaling his career high of 16 playoff victories set during Detroit's Stanley Cup-winning 1997-98 season, is looking eerily similar to the goalie who played a huge role in the team's Cup run last spring. Osgood finished 14-4 with a 1.55 GAA and .930 save percentage in the 2008 playoffs.
And the Penguins are finding that out the hard way.
"We think we've got to do more in front of (Osgood)," Kunitz said. "He's playing great and their defensemen are getting sticks on pucks."
Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom
, who blocked two shots and saw 23:20 of ice time in Game 2, said sticking to a tight defensive game plan has also benefitted the Wings.
"I think we've been able to keep them on the outside, but 'Ozzie' has also made huge saves for us and that was the case (in Game 2)," Lidstrom said. "He had point-blank chances and came up huge. We've been able to play well with the third guy high and having that forward coming back -- we're not just diving in and creating any 3-on-2 opportunities against us and playing smart hockey."
Pens coach Dan Bylsma
has been encouraged by his team's play through two games, but is hoping for better results on home ice where his club has a 6-2 record.
"We've been able to play in their offensive zone for periods of time," Bylsma said. "But they've been able to get timely goals. They've been better at getting pucks in and around the net and getting that goal. Our challenge will be to get to the offensive zone, get to their goalie and look for loose pucks -- that's what they've been able to do and they have two wins as a result. We'll look to do the same when we get back for Game 3."
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com.