Powerful Penguins fail to score again in game #2 loss
Chris Osgood earns 2nd straight shutout
Game #2– Detroit Red Wings 3 - Pittsburgh Penguins 0
This series is turning into a laugher after all of the hype of this being the “most exciting” finals in years. Pittsburgh has no answer for Detroit’s offense, defense or goaltending. It has been so decisive, uncompetitive and terribly one-sided that there may not be a game #5. With complete control, the Red Wings won the 2nd straight game of the Stanley Cup last night at the Joe Louis Arena, pummeling the Penguins 3-0.
The first period looked like the Harlem Globetrotters playing those no-names guys in green jerseys, only the Wings were the Globetrotters. Brad Stuart hammered in a slapper from afar to beat Marc-Andre Fleury glove side, 7 minutes into the game assisted by Valterri Filppula. At the 11:18 mark of the first, Tomas Holmstrom finished off a Henrik Zetterberg pass to give the Wings an early 2-0 lead. Being down by 2 goals at this point was no surprise since the Penguins had not yet registered a single shot on net. Actually, Pittsburgh did not manage an even strength shot on net in the entire period.
I almost felt bad for the Penguins in the blank and bland second period; they look tired, unmotivated and confused for the 2nd straight game. In the final frame, Filppula scored an amazing goal (maybe the best goal of the playoffs), as he stormed by the slow Pens defense and went post to post, beating Fleury. The Penguins, with all their youth, speed and skill, were exposed as not-ready-for-Stanley-Cup players. This is not about young players not showing up: this is about one team absolutely sucking the life out of the other.
The final minutes of the game saw a little melee after what Pittsburgh’s Coach Therrien called “great acting” by Chris Osgood. Ozzy was awkwardly “tripped” by Petr Sykor which broke out the a small time riot, that actually saw Pavel Datsyuk feeding fists to Gary Roberts face. Also, Johan Franzen made his return after missing 7 games with concussion like symptoms and was giving haymakers to Evgeni Malkin with his back on the ice. Franzen was being tormented all game with Pittsburgh taking any opportunity to cheap shot him in the head - it was sad to see the Penguins stoop that low.
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Here are the key factors in this series as stated in our 2008 Stanley Cup Finals preview:
Detroit is obviously embarrassing Pittsburgh in secondary scoring; Pittsburgh cannot even get primary scoring. Stuart scored a goal, screened by Franzen, and Filppula put 2 points on the score sheet. The Pens defensemen are not ready for pressure like this, not even close.
It gets more and more clear which team is faster in this series. If you do not believe me, watch the Filppula goal, or let the Wings stat of 34 shots on net compared to the 22 of the Pittsburgh help change your mind. Pittsburgh should hold their heads in shame after realizing that Roberts, who is 42 and the eldest on the team, led the team in hits and intensity, even getting involved in a fight. There is no other way to describe the first 2 games without saying how dominating the Wings have been.
Again, I feel that Fleury played better than Osgood. Fleury faced a flurry shots (32), though he should have made saves on 2 of the 3 goals he allowed. The Wings have figured out that Fleury does drop into the butterfly position a lot quicker than he probably should, and that is why they shoot high. Meanwhile, Osgood recorded his 2nd straight finals shutout, having to make only 41 saves in the 2 games combined. The thing that Ozzy has over Fleury is something called goal support.
Well, I claimed that game #1 was the worst performance the Pens have showed to date; game #2 may challenge that. Evgeni Malkin did absolutely nothing in this game; no shots on net, no points, no presence on the ice and a pitiful -2 plus/minus rating. The Pens are in a deep hole and they will need Houdini’s magic tricks to get them out, being down 2-0 in the series. The Sweden Red Wings (8 starting players from Sweden), I mean the Detroit Red Wings, are 2 more wins away from making Nicklas Lidstrom the first European captain to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Of the 31 teams in NHL history to be down 2-0 in the finals, only 1 has amazingly come back to win. The Penguins looked worse than brutal in Joe Louis Arena but now go home for games #3 and #4, where they are 8-0 this postseason.
Detroit leads series 2-0.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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