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The Confluence


Several times over the years, I watched the highlights of the 1960 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, with their improbable victory over the New York Yankees, led by Bill Mazeroski’s home run in the bottom of the ninth.

In the locker room, they interviewed Pirates’ manager Danny Murtaugh, who was incredulous as he was trying to describe the feeling of winning the World Series, and then he said “and against the Yankees of all teams”.

Well, that’s what I feel like tonight, after the Penguins defeated the Wings 2-1 in Game Seven to win the Stanley Cup.  The Wings are the closest the NHL has to an absolute machine, but the Penguins have found a way, somehow, to defeat them four times in five games and hoist the Cup.

Max Talbot was the “unlikely” hero with both Penguins’ goals, and Marc-Andre Fleury came up huge again for the Pens with 23 saves, including a potentially Cup-saving save on Nik Lidstrom with one second remaining.  Evgeni Malkin was awarded the Conn Smythe award for Playoff MVP.

It was yet another game in which the officials definitely put the whistles away, as there were only five combined penalties, with only three powerplays, none of which resulted in goals.

The Penguins also had to complete the last half of the game without Sidney Crosby, who appeared to have suffered a knee injury on a big check by Johan Franzen.  Crosby only had one shift in the third period and couldn’t return after that point.

The Wings started the game as the definite aggressors, applying a steady forecheck, while conversely the Penguins seemed nervous and timid.  That said, the Penguins survived the first period rush by the Wings, and it ended scoreless.

Early in the second period, the Penguins got the absolutely huge first goal of the game.  Malkin deflected the puck on an attempted clearing pass that went to the stick of Talbot, who skated towards the net and fired a wrister through the five hole of Chris Osgood to give the Pens a 1-0 lead at the 1:13 mark of the second period.

Midway through the second, Chris Kunitz deflected the puck off a pinch in the Wings’ zone and shuffled the puck to Talbot, resulting in a 2-on-1 break.  Talbot skated in on Osgood and fired a beautiful wrister to the top shelf that Osgood didn’t have a chance on to make it 2-0 at 10:07.

The Pens clamped down for the remainder of the second period, denying the Wings a chance to chip away at the lead.

As the time started to click down, the Wings’ pressure kept on increasing.  They capitalized on their push on a one-timer by Jonathan Ericsson that Fleury got a glove on but couldn’t make the save to cut the Pens’ lead to 2-1.

The Wings’ pressure continued to the very end.  With Osgood on the bench, the Wings had one last push that came very close to tying the game.  A slapper from the right point was stopped by Fleury, but he left a rebound that went right to Lidstrom.  Lidstrom attempted to get the puck high on Fleury, but Fleury dove out to cut the angle and made the stop as the time wound down, and the Penguins were Stanley Cup Champions.

Other notes:
- Once again, Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi led the Pens with +2.  Both men are UFA’s-to-be, we’ll see if one or both are back.
- 44 hits for the Pens tonight, led by Brooks Orpik with 9.
- 25 giveaways for the Wings tonight.
- 20 blocked shots for the Pens, compared to only 3 for the Wings.
- The Pens were only 30 pct. successful in the faceoff circle tonight.

What an incredible night.


Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: detroit+red+wings, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins


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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

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.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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