Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
“I see the train a comin’. It’s rolling down the track. It’s the Pittsburgh Penguins playoff hopes on Sidney Crosby’s back.”
OK, sorry, a little too much lyrical license there, but you get the point. In the most pressure packed moments of his still young NHL career, Crosby answered the call, shouldered the load, took his game to the next level or any other cliché you want to apply.
from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
The Pittsburgh Penguins deserve plenty of credit for the gutsy, gritty, inspired performance that produced Wednesday night’s 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Mellon Arena.
That’s the good news for Pittsburgh.
The bad news is the Penguins must duplicate that effort three more times in order to wrest the Stanley Cup away from Detroit.
While the Red Wings dominated and won the opening two games of the series in Detroit handily, Pittsburgh’s narrow triumph came in a game that easily could have gone either way.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
The biggest difference for the Penguins in Game 3 compared to the first two contests was their ability to get the puck deep in Detroit’s zone and keep it there. At the morning skate, a number of Pens said their goal was to generate scoring chances off the down low cycle and that is exactly what they did.
In fact, Pittsburgh’s constant pressure caused the Red Wings to make to make several bad passes up the middle, many of which were intercepted and allowed the Penguins to re-establish pressure in the Detroit end.
from Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Turns out the Detroit Red Wings might not be a team for the ages. Might not be just about flawless in every phase of the game. Might not be coached by the greatest tactician and motivator in NHL history.
It probably came as a surprise to some, particularly those in Michigan, but the Red Wings will not win the Stanley Cup in four games. In fact, they might not win it at all.
Transcript from the post-game Q&A with Red Wings coach Mike Babcock after game #3.
Q. You outshot them by a pretty big margin early on. I think it was 9‑1, or 9‑2. How much of a role did that play in tonight’s outcome? Do you think things would have ended differently if you got one early?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I think tonight we got off to a pretty good start on the road. I thought we were under control. Then I thought they had a pretty good push after a timeout, scored a goal. And I thought they controlled the next, I don’t know, 20 minutes of the game.
And then I thought we battled back pretty good. The third goal was a tough one for us to give up, just because it makes it hard to come back. But I thought we had a good push at the end.
The other thing, I didn’t think we used our bench good enough tonight. I thought the specialty teams were early. I don’t know if we used enough guys.
The transcript of the Q&A for Penguins coach Michel Therrien after game three.
Q. I’d like to start by just asking you, I saw you, at one point during the second period, you were having a chat with Sidney on the bench. How would you describe the game your captain played tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: On a big challenge like tonight, we approached our team, that was a huge challenge for us. It wasn’t any different than Game 5 we played at home against the Rangers and Game 5 we played at home against the Flyers. We approach it like a challenge. And there’s no doubt that we’re looking for your best player to bring an A‑game.
And certainly Sid did that tonight.
Update 11:02pm ET: Post-game press conferences are available at NHL Network Online.
Update 11:07pm ET: Rich Libero at NHL.com,
The Penguins talked about how returning home would restore their vigor. They made good on those words with a stirring 3-2 victory in Game 3.
The Igloo, as much as it gets bashed for being out-dated and old, simply crackled with emotion. The Pens handed out white t-shirts as fans entered the building. Sitting in the auxiliary press box near the ceiling, the effect came to full life.
Update 11:15pm ET:From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail, a complete post-game wrap-up.
Sources tell TSN Doug Armstrong is about to join the St Louis Blues.
Armstrong was expected to meet the Toronto Maple Leafs this week to discuss a management position in Toronto, however sources say he has cancelled that meeting and the expectation is that his hire in St Louis will be announced tomorrow.
Armstrong will work alongside veteran Blues general manager Larry Pleau for the next two seasons before assuming the manager’s role when Pleau retires.
from Chuck Gormley at the Sporting News,
This is where the slope gets especially slippery for Therrien. An emotional coach who strokes his players with sandpaper, Therrien needs to be careful how he handles himself in the next few days and weeks.
Can anyone forget former Philadelphia Flyers coach Terry Murray being in a similar situation in the 1997 finals? Like the Penguins, his team rolled into the finals as a confident bunch, only to get waxed by the Red Wings in four straight.
Following its Game 3 loss in Detroit, Murray said his team was basically in a “choking situation,” and a few weeks later he was fired. Therrien is in a similarly precarious position right now.
OFFICIALS FOR TONIGHT’S GAME
The referees for tonight’s game are Paul Devorski (#10) and Dan O’Halloran (#13). The linesmen are Shane Heyer (#55) and Jay Sharrers (#57).
TEAMS WINNING GAMES 1 AND 2 IN THE STANLEY CUP FINAL
Of the 31 home clubs who won the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1939, 30 went on to win the series. The only club to win the Stanley Cup after dropping the first two Final games on the road was the 1971 Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games.
Overall, clubs winning Games 1 and 2 of the Final have won 40 of 43 series.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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