Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Detroit Red Wings

Hossa set for rough return to The Igloo

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

PITTSBURGH -- The Red Wings need only to go back one year to recall what it's like to take a 2-0 Stanley Cup finals lead into "The Igloo" against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

They know what to expect from the raucous crowd that is encouraged to stage a "white-out" for Game 3 on Tuesday night. They have been here before, two wins shy of capturing the Cup.

Marian Hossa was also there last year, but his memories and experience will do little to help him face fans that were sorry to see him go and are angry that he has come back with the Winged Wheel on his jersey.

"It's going to be loud in Pittsburgh," said Hossa, who left the Penguins after last year's finals loss to Detroit and signed a cheaper and shorter deal with the Red Wings. "They show you what they think. It's going to be great atmosphere.

"Nothing is going to change on my part. I just try to use it to my advantage, that booing. Play my game."

Monday was the first off day in the series that began with the first set of back-to-back games in the finals since 1955. Neither team skated and only a handful of players were made available during the travel day.

This rematch has been quite different for Hossa, who joined the Red Wings in part because he believed they would give him a better chance at an elusive Stanley Cup title than Pittsburgh could. The assumption was a fair one, considering Detroit won the championship for the fourth time in 11 seasons and got right back to the finals this year.

And just like 2008, the Red Wings earned a pair of home wins at the start of the finals and carry a seemingly commanding lead into Pittsburgh. Detroit ultimately won the Cup for the 11th time in six games over Pittsburgh.

With a split of road games Tuesday and Thursday, the Red Wings would have a chance to become the first repeat NHL champions, since they did it in 1997 and '98, as early as Saturday night at home.

"We're not letting ourselves think about that," said captain Nicklas Lidstrom, a four-time Cup champion. "We know they have a great chance going into their building. We have a real tough challenge in Game 3."

Detroit won Games 4 and 6 in Pittsburgh last year, so the fired-up building shouldn't be too intimidating.

Pittsburgh faces the daunting task of beating the defending champions four times in five games. Of the 32 teams to win the first two games of the finals at home, 31 won the Cup. The 1971 Blackhawks, against the Canadiens, were the only ones not to seal the deal.

This is the second time Pittsburgh has trailed 2-0 in these playoffs. The Penguins rallied against Washington in the second round, and after outshooting the Red Wings in both of their 3-1 losses in the finals, feel they should have at least gotten a split in Hockeytown.

"I don't think we should be frustrated," defenseman Sergei Gonchar said. "I don't think we are frustrated because the series is not over. We're playing better, we're having chances and the series is not over.

"Going into this series, we knew it's not going to be easy. We're playing against a great team, and we knew it was going to be tough."

One thing that did change was Sidney Crosby's perfect attendance at media sessions. A fixture at the interview podium during the Penguins' long postseason runs the past two years, the Penguins captain took a day off Monday.

Despite chances to earn assists or get pucks past Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood, including one drive that hit the inside of the goal post and stayed out in Sunday's Game 2, Crosby has gone pointless in consecutive playoff games for the first time since the Red Wings did it to him last year.

So if a day away from the probing spotlight could help Crosby, the Penguins were all for giving the 21-year-old superstar a break.

"I actually have a game plan for the playoffs," coach Dan Bylsma said. "I made a point of saying every day doesn't need to be Sidney Crosby day. So there have been days when he hasn't been out here. So that was it.

"We made a choice to give other people a chance to be up here and for you to talk to them and feel it's important for it to be a team thing, not just Dan Bylsma and Sidney Crosby talking at the podium every day."

View More