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Three Questions: Wings-Penguins

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
Who’s getting the job done for the Wings?

Once again, the Detroit ‘grinders’ are getting it done when it counts.  By grinders, we’re talking about the third and fourth lines, which have been exceptional in the first two games of the finals.

Justin Abdelkader is the prime example.  After being informed by Babcock that he might not see a single shift in Game 1, Abdelkader had the goal of the night.  In Game 2, he repeated the trend, scoring the third goal that was icing on the cake for the Wings.  Abdelkader rushed up alone, and was staring down Pittsburgh defenseman Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi.  Abdelkader cut to the middle of the ice and had the puck knocked away.  He regained possession however, and turned sharply, and fired a rocket to the upper-right corner of the Penguins’ goal.  It was a huge goal for the Wings.  Abdelkader played 8:55, recorded six hits, and won four of six face-offs.

Darren Helm stepped up as well, and it’s not a surprise anymore.  The Wings’ speedster had two shots and seven hits, and he picked up the secondary assist on Jonathan Ericsson’s goal because he won the face-off on the play.  Helm played 16:25, as he continues to earn more and more ice time from Babcock.

How about Ozzie?

In Game 1, Chris Osgood turned aside 31 shots to get the win.  Same number of saves, same numbers on the scoreboard at the end, and the same result in Game 2 – Osgood picks up the win.  Once again, Osgood made 31 saves, frustrating the Penguins’ snipers in all three periods.

On his first save of the night, Osgood robbed Kris Letang.  Osgood came out to cut down the angles, making a save on the Penguins’ offensive defenseman after he took a one-timer on a pass from Evgeni Malkin. 

In the second period, he managed to get his glove on a one-timer from Malkin, who was standing just footsteps out from the crease. 

And in the third, he frustrated captain Sidney Crosby.  Crosby split the Wings’ defense, and had Osgood cutting to the right post.  Crosby fired to the left, and it looked like he had Osgood fooled.  But with a quick leg kick, Osgood redirected the shot to the corner, and preserved the big lead for his team.

Have the Wings officially rattled the Penguins’ duo?

It’s not often that you see assistant captain Henrik Zetterberg drop the gloves.  It’s even more seldom that he does it while he’s trying to help his team hold down a lead in the final minute.  But when his opponent is the NHL’s leading scorer in the regular season, it’s okay if they both spend some time in the box.

After a mad scramble out in front of the Wings’ goal in the closing seconds, Malkin took offense to Zetterberg pushing Max Talbot out of the crease.  The Penguins’ star started swinging at Zetterberg, and Hank fired right back.  The fight rotated around Osgood’s crease, with both superstars exchanging blow after blow.  Zetterberg had Malkin on the ground, then Malkin popped back up.  More punches were exchanged.  The linesmen finally stepped in to break it up, and both exited the ice for the rest of the night.

It was the biggest sign of the Crosby and Malkin duo being rattled.  Malkin picked up the all-important instigator penalty, which means there’s a chance he will be suspended for Game 3.  The Penguins’ center had four of the five Penguins’ penalty in the contest.  He picked up an interference call in the second period, which the Wings scored on.  Then he got the instigator, fighting major, and a misconduct penalty at the end.  Talbot had a slashing penalty, and that was it for the Penguins.  
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