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Three Questions: Wings-Penguins

by Michael Caples / Detroit Red Wings
What went wrong?

The Red Wings fell behind in Game 6, and they couldn’t mount enough of a comeback.  The problem wasn’t the second period, however; it was the first period.  The Penguins came out fired up in front of their home crowd, and dominated the shot chart.  The Wings were outshot 12-3 in the first period, and that was just more fuel for the Mellon Arena crowd to get fired up.  Jordan Staal scored the game’s first goal early in the second period, and then the Wings really had an uphill battle.

They started to chip away at the shot deficits, recording nine to the Penguins’ 12 in the second period.  And in the third, the Wings outshot the Penguins 14-7.  But were firing at a hot goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury, who turned aside 25 shots after a poor outing in Game 5. 

What did the Wings do right?

The Wings looked great on the penalty kill in Game 6, carrying over their impressive performance from Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena.  They killed off two penalties in the first period, one to Henrik Zetterberg and one to Valtteri Filppula.  They were clutch penalty kills as the Wings attempted to stall the Penguins’ home-ice flurry to start the game.

Detroit was unable to capitalize on their power-play chances, however.  They finally got some man-advantage opportunities in the third period, but by then, they were looking at a deficit on the scoreboard.   Though they failed to score, I thought they did a great job of generating chances on the power play, considering the situation.

It was also nice to see Kris Draper get on the scoreboard for the first time this postseason.  Draper missed some time with an injury, but he’s starting to look like he’s back in game shape.  If the Wings are to win Game 7, they’re going to need all four lines producing.

So it all comes down to the last game?

That’s right, the winner of the Stanley Cup will be decided Friday night (8 p.m. EST) at Joe Louis Arena.   It’s only fitting that a match-up of hockey’s two best teams would take the longest time possible.   The Wings spent 82 regular-season games fighting for home ice in this situation, and they earned it during that time-span.  Now, it will all come down to a Penguins team on a roll after a big home win, versus the Red Wings, who have had success on home ice all postseason.  Detroit is 11-1 when playing at Joe Louis Arena, which is one win shy of a NHL playoff record for home wins.  Hopefully the Wings can make use of the extra day between Games 6 and 7, by resting and getting focused for Friday.    
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