Detroit's defense controls game #4 victory
Wings 60 minutes (or more...) away from Cup
Game #4 – Detroit Red Wings 2 – Pittsburgh Penguins 1
The “Henrik Zetterberg Show” was on in game #4, just not on the score sheet. Zetterberg's play in the third period, on one shift in particular when the Wings were two-men short for 86 seconds, propelled the Red Wings to within a victory of the Stanley Cup, with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Mellon Arena.
Zetterberg led his team with his leadership when he made three individual plays, the kind that no statistic can quantify -- he took a goal away from Sidney Crosby, he blocked a shot, he lugged the puck for almost 15 seconds to kill some time -- in the kind of shift that defines a player's career and on this night defined the kind of championship team the Red Wings are about to become.
For the first time all series, the team that scored the opening goal in the game did lose, with the Penguins also losing for the first at home all post season. Marian Hossa finished a goal scores goal 2:51 into the game, giving Pittsburgh a very quick 1-0 lead on the power play. Less than 5 minutes later, Nicklas Lidstrom slapped in the equalizer a few seconds after a Pittsburgh penalty had ended.
A bland, somewhat paint drying 2nd period saw no scoring and did take the crowd out of the game, giving the advantage to Detroit heading into the final 20 minutes. The game winner was scored by Jiri Hudler assisted by Darren Helm and Brad Stuart at the 2:26 mark of the 3rd period. Tons of pressure was applied by the Pens offense but to no avail; the Wings were far to composed to get beat in this game.
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Here are the key factors in this series as stated in our 2008 Stanley Cup Finals preview:
Detroit managed 30+ shots on net for the 4th consecutive game in this series; the Pens defense cannot keep up with the Wings. A very high percentage of dump-ins and puck races are won by the Wings, while Detroit is also keeping up with the grittiness of Pittsburgh. What do the Penguins expect when they have Hal “Skill” (Hal Gill) on their blue-line.
Marc-Andre Fleury keeps facing more shots and saving more shots than Chris Osgood, but the wins are not coming his way. Fleury keeps smiling like a chipmunk but he needs to get some help from his terrible defense. Osgood’s experience is really showing. He does not work harder than he has to and remains calm during the toughest times of the game.
The Penguins are done. Detroit will win game #5 to hoist the Stanley Cup on Monday night.
Detroit leads series 3-1.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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