Detroit Wins Games 1 and 2 of Stanley Cup Finals
After a rare back to back set of games in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Detroit Red Wings grabbed a 2-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning both of their home games by the score of 3-1. Netting just two goals in two games, the Penguins stars have been effectively shut down, particularly Sidney Crosby, who has no points and who has seen less ice time than usual.
In the opening game on Saturday evening, Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk did not suit up, although captain Niklas Lidstrom did. The Red Wings struck first on a somewhat lucky Brad Stuart goal 13 minutes into the first period. Stuart's goal bounced off Marc Andre Fleury's skate and into the net after he shot the pock wide and behind Fleury. The Penguins were able to even the score before the end of the period however. Five minutes later Ruslan Fedotenko grabbed the rebound from an Evgeni Malkin shot and backhanded it past Chris Osgood to tie the game at 1.
Pittsburgh would have several good opportunities in the second period but was unable to capitalize on any of them, including a breakaway attempt that Osgood turned away. With just one minute remaining in the second, Johan Franzen scored on a backhand for his 11 th of the postseason, coming from assists by Brian Rafalski and Henri Zetterberg.
Less than three minutes into the third Justin Abdelkader got his first goal of the playoffs to give the Red Wings their decisive 3-1 edge. The Penguins would out shoot Detroit in the period but were again unable to convert on any chances, mostly limited to one shot opportunities at a time instead of prolonged periods of attack. There was a total of only three penalties called in the entire game.
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals was held on Sunday evening and both teams entered confident. Detroit had won game 1 without Datsyuk (and he would miss game 2 as well), had received great goaltending from Osgood and shut down the stars from Pittsburgh. The Penguins on the other hand felt that they received a few bad bounces and could easily convert a few more opportunities.
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This time it was Pittsburgh that would strike first. Malkin got a power play goal, his 13 th of the postseason, 17 minutes into the first period. Kristopher Letang and Bill Guerin assisted on the play as Malkin scrambled to put home a loose rebound behind Osgood.
The second period would be all Detroit however. The Red Wings tied the game four minutes into the session on a goal from Jonathon Ericsson, assisted by Jiri Hudler and Darren Helm. Six minutes later Valtteri Filppula scored on a backhand with assists from Tomas Holmstrom and Marian Hossa. It appeared that Hossa could have had a penalty called on him earlier in the play, however the referees either missed it or let it go and the Red Wings claimed a 2-1 lead.
In an odd coincidence, less than three minutes into the third period, Justin Abdelkader scored on a slap shot with assists from Holmstrom and Hossa. His second postseason goal ever, the rookie made the score 3-1, just as he did with his first postseason goal ever, three minutes into the third period of game 1.
Crosby had a goal called back from review after he hit the post later in the period. The Penguins dominated the session, out shooting Detroit 12-3, and 33-26 for the game. But Osgood was great in net once again as the Red Wings prevailed 3-1 to get a 2-0 series lead.
In the final seconds of the game fans were treated to a fight few probably expected to see. Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg went at it, both losing their jerseys and exchanging solid punches in the process.
The good news for Pittsburgh is that they are going home to play game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Tuesday night. The bad news is that 32 times in history the home team has won games 1 and 2 in the finals. They have gone on to win 31 of those 32 times. Pittsburgh is looking to change that statistic and their stars will need to step up to see that it's done.
By Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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