DETROIT -- All the talk coming into Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals was about the big four – Pittsbugh’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
Yet, after the game, the talk shifted to an unlikely scorer, Mikael Samuelsson. A wrap around goal and a rebound past Marc-Andre Fleury gave Samuelsson two unassisted goals, and lifted the Red Wings a 2-0 lead en route to a 4-0 win and a 1-0 series edge.
“I think that those things happen, they have a good team, they have some depth, and you have to be aware of everyone,” said Pens’ defenseman Hal Gill, who was on the ice for both Samuelsson goals. “We’ll talk about it; it’s something we’ll focus on tomorrow.”
The focus may have to shift if Pittsburgh hopes to even the series in Game 2 on Monday night. Not only did Samuelsson score twice, but Dan Cleary scored as well, short handed.
“We were so tired, we just tried to get the puck out of the zone and it was a tough goal there but there’s nothing you can do, it’s just one goal,” said Pens’ Jarkko Ruutu.
Samuelsson seemed to be at the right place at the right time.
After a disallowed Red Wings’ goal in the first period, both teams were looking to take advantage and score first, but it was Samuelsson -- the only player in this series to have played for both teams -- who put the Wings on top.
“They turned the puck over at the red line, and I saw – the first one, they were out there, like, 30, 40 seconds,” Samuelsson said. “I just took a shot at it. They went to the net, I couldn’t really cut in front, so I had to go behind. And I guess the goalie committed to me a little bit, so I took a chance to throw it at the net, and it went in.”
The goals proved to be the game-winner in Chris Osgood’s second shutout of the postseason.
The second line scoring seemed to capitalize on Pittsburgh’s mistakes.
“Bad decision with the puck; bad Change,” said Pittsburgh head coach Michel Therrien. “Those are mental mistakes against a team like the Red Wings. You can’t do those type of mistakes.”
Just to put a cap on the night, Zettterberg scored with 13-seconds left. But the star of the night, Samuelsson, was happy he could help the Wings take and early 1-0 series lead on Pittsburgh.
“The feeling, it was great for sure,” Samuelsson said. “Just live in the moment. I think we played good as a team tonight. I’m lucky to be the one who scored a couple of goals.”