Pittsburgh finally ends drought to win Game #3
Penguins look to even series on Saturday
Game #3 – Pittsburgh Penguins 3 - Detroit Red Wings 2
There is a first time for everything. For Pittsburgh, this means their first goal and after two failed attempts, their first Stanley Cup win this post season. Also, they continue to be undefeated at the Mellon Arena (9-0) in these playoffs with a scraping 3-2 win over the Red Wings last night. What hurt Detroit were their weak defensive zone turnovers and the consistent play of Marc-Andre Fleury.
The game starting with an extreme tempo that led to a few sluggish penalties which slowed the pace down very quick. At one point, the Red Wings outshot the Pens 9-1 but the game remained scoreless until a Brad Stuart turnover. Stuart attempted a lazy pass in the Wings' zone that was intercepted by Marian Hossa who passed it to a finishing Sidney Crosby. Finally, the Pens and Crosby had scored their first goal of the series at the 17:25 mark of the opening period in Game #3.
Period 2 began with a terrible Niklas Kronwall hooking penalty on which Crosby tallied his second of the game. It was a perfect power play goal assisted by Ryan Malone and Hossa just 2 minutes into the frame. Fleury held off the Wings the best he could until the 14:48 point of the second. Johan Franzen broke around the awkward Pens' defense to finish a beauty on a Detroit power play, to make a 2-1 game and silencing the crowd.
Hard work led to Pittsburgh’s game-winning goal by Adam Hall 7:18 into the final period on assists from Maxime Talbot and Gary Roberts. But the Wings really picked up the pace; firing shot after shot from everywhere and anywhere but could only beat Fleury once in the third period. Mikael Samuelsson popped in goal at the 13:22 mark from a screened shot, to make it a 1 goal game. Pittsburgh survived the 16 shots they faced in the final 20 minutes to make this a 2-1 series.
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Here are the key factors in this series as stated in our 2008 Stanley Cup Finals preview:
The Wings got secondary scoring for the third straight game, getting goals from Franzen (13 goals in 13 playoff games) and Samuelsson. Pittsburgh on the other hand, is not as picky to get secondary scoring, when they just got some scoring. Sid “the kid” took control with 2 goals as he is expected to do, while Hall surprised himself with a bank shot marker. The Pens still need lines 2 and 3 to wake up and perform; you too Mr. Malkin.
Home ice advantage really played a role to improve the performance of the Pens. For the first time in the series they skating with a purpose. The speed was closer than the previous 2 games but Detroit is winning more battles and still breaking out for more opportunities. The Penguins' defense has no answer for the Wings offense, but thank goodness for Pittsburgh they have Fleury.
For the third game in a row, Fleury faced over 30 shots against him and was also still much more impressive than Chris Osgood’s showing. The Wings do not look to their goalie as a game breaker, where as the Pens do. Pittsburgh has to lower the shots on Fleury - he has to tire out eventually, which would be the conclusion to this series. Thumbs up to Fleury if he can keep up his work ethic and focus. Thumbs down to Osgood, who only has to not allow more than 2 goals to win the series.
Game #3 was a “must win” for the Penguins and they delivered, now game #4 is a “must win.” Pittsburgh cannot go down 3-1 to Detroit heading back to Joe Louis Arena for game #5. Crosby wears the “C” on his jersey and played like a true captain, now others must follow. For the Wings it is simple; no defensive turnovers.
Because of horrible Stanley Cup scheduling, the Penguins are going to have a hard time carrying this momentum into the next game, since it is 3 days away on Saturday. I say the well-experienced Detroit team takes game #4 in dominating fashion, giving Pittsburgh their first home loss in 10 games, but more importantly, a single game away from the big silver mug.
Detroit leads series 2-1.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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