by Tony on 05/31/09 at 01:37 AM ET
If the Penguins play every game in Detroit like they did in Game One tonight, I’ll take my chances.
The hockey gods were sure as hell smiling on the Red Wings tonight. The Red Wings were the recipients of not one, not two, but three fortunate bounces of the puck, which resulted in all three Wings’ goals in a 3-1 win over the Penguins in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Game Two is Sunday night back in Detroit.
Marc-Andre Fleury was the tough luck losing goalie, stopping 27 of 30 Red Wings shots on goal. On the other end of the ice, Chris Osgood saved 31 of 32 Penguins’ shots.
The outcome of the game is sure to be frustrating for the Penguins, who spent many portions of the game as the aggressor and controlled the play. The Wings’ offensive stars did relatively nothing. Johan Franzen got one of the lucky bounces to get credit for a goal, while Henrik Zetterberg had one assist.
There was no “feeling out” timeframe in this one, both teams started driving to the net hard and playing physical right away.
Brad Stuart was credited for the first goal of the game with about six minutes left in the first period, as his wrister to the trampoline-like boards bounced to the edge of the net, where it squirted behind Fleury’s pad and deflected into the net to give the Wings a 1-0 lead.
Ruslan Fedotenko got the only goal for the Penguins with 1:23 left in the first after an Evgeni Malkin steal was followed by a Malkin slapper that Osgood stopped but left a rebound that Fedotenko was able to pry away and backhand it into the net to make it 1-1.
It stayed that way until late in the second period when a flurry in the Pens’ zone resulted in an icing call on the Pens. After a Pens’ timeout, the Wings’ pressure continued and got a slapper from Brian Rafalski that Rob Scuderi blocked. But once again, the springy boards deflected the puck to the goal line, where Franzen backhanded a shot that deflected off the skate of a prone Fleury and went into the net to make it 2-1 Wings with only 58 seconds remaining in the period.
If that wasn’t bad enough, only a couple minutes into the third period, Justin Abdelkader fired a wrister that Fleury stopped, but the rebound deflected high into the air. Jordan Stall, defending Abdelkader, lost track of the puck, but Abdelkader was able to find the puck, put it to the ice where it bounced like a basketball, then bang the puck out of the air to the top shelf past Fleury to make it 3-1 Wings.
Outside of the terrible luck, the Penguins shot themselves in the foot in a couple of other ways. The Wings beat the Pens in the faceoff circle by a huge 39-16 margin. Zetterberg won 15 of 20 faceoffs, while Darren Helm won 11 of 15. In addition, the Penguins’ powerplay looked horrible. Not that they went 0 for 2, but that they only got two shots on goal, and could barely get the powerplay set up. They continually forced the puck to the blue line, where most often it was simply swatted away, instead of dumping the puck and retrieving it.
- The officials certainly put the whistles away tonight. Lots of non-calls that were penalties otherwise weren’t called on both teams.
- Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi were both a game-low -2.
- 5 blocked shots by Kris Letang.
- 20 giveaways by the Wings tonight, 13 by the Pens.
- 6 hits by Matt Cooke.
Tough loss tonight, I actually think playing back-to-back should help the Pens in hopefully tying the series tomorrow night.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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