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Aftermath: Red Wings 3, Penguins 1

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
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The Penguins wanted desperately to leave Detroit with a split and the series tied at 1-1 heading back to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, the Red Wings’ 3-1 victory in Game 2 put the Penguins in a two-game hole as the Stanley Cup Final shifts to Mellon Arena for the next two games.

Pittsburgh put together another strong performance, but again, didn’t get the breaks needed to pull off the win. However, the Penguins all remain confident with the way they played in the first two games that they can still beat the Red Wings.

For inspiration, all the Penguins have to do is look back at their semifinal matchup with Washington. The Capitals won the first two games but Pittsburgh bounced back strong by winning the next three games and eventually came out victorious in the series.

The Cup is still within the Penguins’ reach. Detroit held serve at home and now it’s the Penguins turn to step up at Mellon Arena. The pressure is really on Pittsburgh to handle its business at home. The Penguins have conquered many challenges already this season. Now the team must answer the call again with its championship dreams on the line.
DETROIT (AP) -The Red Wings are tired, beat up, and just two wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup again.

Detroit's foil is the same, the defending champion's method a little different.

For the second straight year, the young Pittsburgh Penguins came to Joe Louis Arena to kick off the Stanley Cup Final. And just like in 2008, they're heading home down 2-0. The Red Wings topped the Penguins 3-1 on Sunday night, giving them matching wins on consecutive nights as they pursue a repeat of their title.

Evgeni Malkin scores a power-play goal for Pittsburgh in the first period (photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Faceoffs
The Penguins struggled in the faceoff circle in Game 1 and wanted to improve that facet of their game. Pittsburgh won 53 percent of its draws in Game 2, with great efforts from Maxime Talbot (6 for 8), Craig Adams (3 for 3) and Sidney Crosby (10 for 15).

What Could Have Gone Better: Goal Post
Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood deserves a lot of credit for his performance against the Penguins, but he had a little bit of help and a lot of luck. Three times Pittsburgh beat the netminder with a shot but the puck clanged off of the goal post. In fact, the Penguins have hit six posts in the last two games.
Sidney Crosby didn’t show up on the score sheet but the Penguins captain was the best player on the ice for his team. Crosby set up a few great scoring chances for linemates Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz. He also had two incredible opportunities himself – one when he split the Red Wings defense but sent a shot just wide of the net and on the other his shot hit the goal post. Crosby finished the game with five shots and won 67 percent of his faceoffs.
The Penguins power play converted a score to give Pittsburgh a lead late in the first period. Evgeni Malkin ripped a slap shot that Detroit goalie Chris Osgood turned aside. Sidney Crosby put the rebound back on the net and there was a scrum in front of the cage. The puck slid free to Malkin in the slot. Malkin’s shot hit the post and dropped in the paint. Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart tried to clear the puck but accidently batted it into his own net. Pittsburgh 1, Detroit 0.

The Red Wings tied the game with a tally four minutes into the second period. Detroit won a faceoff in the Pittsburgh zone and worked the puck to Jonathan Ericsson at the far point. Ericsson’s slap shot eluded a screened Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh 1, Detroit 1.

Detroit took the lead with a goal halfway through the second period. Pascal Dupuis couldn’t get the puck out of the Penguins zone because Marian Hossa broke his stick. Hossa then collected the puck and threw a shot on net. Fleury made the save but Valtteri Filppula flipped a backhand shot into the top far corner. Detroit 2, Pittsburgh 1.

Detroit added to its lead with a goal three minutes into the final period. Justin Abdelkader made a great individual play by skating the puck into the Penguins zone and unleashing a slap shot from above the near circle that handcuffed Fleury. Detroit 3, Pittsburgh 1.
The Penguins diverted from their recent lineup formula. Instead of dressing seven defensemen and 11 forwards, Pittsburgh opted for the standard 6-12 configuration. Forward Pascal Dupuis was inserted into the lineup in place of defenseman Philippe Boucher. The other scratches were Petr Sykora, Eric Godard and Alex Goligoski.

Bill Guerin couldn’t buy a goal in this game. He had two great chances in the second period on great set up plays from Sidney Crosby. His first shot clang off of the far post. Guerin’s second opportunity sailed just wide of the goal. Crosby also hit a post in the game.

Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg let off a little frustration with a bout in the final minute of the game. Since Malkin was assessed an instigator penalty, the NHL had to review the incident to determine whether the mandatory one-game suspension would be applicable. The league reviewed the matter and rescinded the one-game suspension on Malkin.
> Pittsburgh trails the Stanley Cup Final to Detroit, 2-0, and is 6-5 on the road in this postseason.

Head coach Dan Bylsma has a career postseason record of 13-6.

> Scoring Summary:
PIT, E.Malkin PP (13), 16:50 1st period: Penguins 1, Red Wings 0
DET, J.Ericsson (3), 4:21 2nd period: Penguins 1, Red Wings 1
DET, V.Filppula (2), 10:29 2nd period: Red Wings 2, Penguins 1
DET, J.Abdelkader (2), 2:47 3rd period: Red Wings 3, Penguins 1

> Sidney Crosby was held scoreless but still has 28 postseason points (14G-14A). Crosby has 22 points (12G-10A) in his last 14 games and has a point in 15 of 19 playoff games.

> Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s Art Ross champion, tallied a goal to add to his league-leading 30 points in the postseason (13G-17A). Malkin has 18 points (8G-10A) and six multi-point games in his last nine contests.

> Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves in the game.
1. C.Osgood, DET
2. V.Filppula, DET
3. J.Abdelkader, DET
“We have to remain confident. I think we played pretty well
both nights. We knew going in it wasn’t going to be easy.
We just have to remain confident and focus on Game 3.”
- Bill Guerin


Author: Sam Kasan

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