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Red Wings fly away with 2007-2008 Stanley Cup

Detroit wins Championship with European-based team

 

Game #6 – Detroit Red Wings 3 - Pittsburgh Penguins 2

The Detroit Red Wings were the best team during the NHL's regular season with 54 wins and 115 points. They confirmed their dominance in the 2007-2008 year by winning their 4th Stanley Cup in the last 11 years, with a 3-2 Game #6 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Pens never really had an answer for the likes of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk or Chris Osgood who all had huge roles in this series victory. Also, Nicklas Lidstrom finally breaks a historical goose egg becoming the first European born player to captain a team that wins Lord Stanley’s mug thus negating my previous article about how only Canadian Captains win cups.

This NHL finale was not as close at the score makes it out to be. Marc-Andre Fleury looked to be fatigued for this first time in this series, leaving sloppy rebounds and ultimately scoring on himself on Detroit’s winning goal.



Brian Rafalski opened the scoring with a top corner power play snipe (deflected off Hal Gill’s leg), 5:03 into the game on assists by the dynamic duo of Zetterberg and Datsyuk. In the 2nd period, Valterri Filppula stuffed the puck through the legs of Fleury, who had left a careless rebound from a Mikael Samuelsson shot at the 8:07 mark. Chris Osgood made the save of the night with his robbery of a Gary Roberts effort at point blank range. Sid “the kid” got absolutely hammered by Brad Stuart in the corner and was not the same player for the remainder of the game. He looked winded, sore and was even limping when he did not have the puck, which is disastrous for the Pens.

The Wings were up 2-0 until later in the 2nd frame when Evgeni Malkin finally came out of his cocoon scoring his 1st goal of the series on the power play. But Detroit was now 20 minutes from drinking the finest champagne from the largest trophy in sports.

In the 3rd period the puck sat behind Fleury after a half made save from a Zetterberg shot and as the Pittsburgh goalie attempted to cover it, he shoved it past his own line. The Pens were now down by 2 goals with 12 minutes left in their hockey lives. To make the finish interesting, Marian Hossa perfectly deflected a Sergei Gonchar shot past Osgood at the 18:33 mark of the 3rd period.

Could this be déjà-vu from game #5? Almost. With 10 seconds left in the game, the Pens applied pressure that very nearly got past Osgood and after the Wings defense could not clear the puck Hossa flicked the puck through the crease as time expired.

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Here are the key factors in this series as stated in our 2008 Stanley Cup Finals preview:

  • The Penguins did not have much secondary scoring in this series, besides Sykora’s OT winner last game. Come to think of it, Pittsburgh barely had primary scoring. Detroit got goals from all cylinders with all 4 lines and defense providing offense.

  • Detroit outshot Pittsburgh every period in game #6 and managed at least 30 shots on net in every single game in this series. The speed of the Wings kept the Pens tied up and contained while punishing with goals. To put it best, the Red Wings have a team of great players while the Pens have a team of 4 players.

  • Fleury was remarkable all series and should hold his head up high. He was the sole reason why this series lasted the 6 games in these finals. Must be nice to be Osgood who earned game #1 and game #2 shutouts without even paying attention. All he had to do was play good enough and did not have the pressure of being the game breaker. Both goalies played as good as expected, but Fleury was beyond human until game #6.

Zetterberg was phenomenal in the playoffs this year earning him the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable playoff player. His 13 goals, 27 points, superb defensive play and game-winning Stanley Cup goal are well deserved of the award.

Crosby, Malkin and Fleury are a great core to build a team around but this showed the Penguin franchise that more is needed. Pittsburgh will have many problems keeping this exact team together next year, making for important off seasons. This was a great series to watch and for the young Pens; there is always next year.

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Notable Stanley Cup facts:

  • Detroit had at least 30 shots on net in each of the 6 games and outshot the Pens 219-142 or 36.5-23.7 per game.

  • Detroit out scored Pittsburgh 17-10.

  • 5 Red Wings now have 4 Stanley Cup rings; Nicklas Lidstrom, Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Tomas Holmstrom while Steve Yzerman gets his 1st as a member of the front office.

  • Chris Chelios won his 3rd cup this year, but won his 1st with the Montreal Canadiens in 1985-86, a year before Pittsburgh Captain Sidney Crosby was born.

Detroit wins the Stanley Cup series 4-2.

 

By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer

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