Saturday, May 24, 2008

2008 Stanley Cup Finals Game One - Red Tide

Goodness gracious. Pittsburgh vs Detroit may still turn out to be a great series with the tandem of Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk & Henrik Zetterberg on the other, but tonight it was all Red Wings with a resounding 4-0 victory.

What made this game particularly scary if you're a Pens fan was the methodical nature in which Detroit outplayed Pittsburgh in all aspects of the game at various points.

First period: The action was back and forth, but the benefit of hindsight shows that the key out of this opening stanza was Detroit killing off four penalties in a row (with help from some excellent goaltending by Chris Osgood). Additionally, the Wings had a goal disallowed on a questionable goaltender interference penalty against.

Second period: The rink was tilted with Detroit outshooting Pittsburgh 16-4 and exiting the second 20 minutes with a 1-0 lead thanks to ex-Penguin Mikael Samuelsson.

Third period: Only three shots for Pittsburgh and the Wings slowly, and then quickly, put the game away with one early and two late goals.

So... at different points of the game, the Red Wings demonstrated their makeup as a complete team and the favorite in this series.

Early on they both held off the powerplay onslaught and overcame a tough call against them (note to the San Jose Sharks: overcoming adversity is a good thing to do). Then they poured it on with a high-powered offense (and contributions from an excellent cast of role players). And... oh yeah, they utilized both solid (see: Kronwall, Niklas) and spectacular (see: Lindstrom, Nicklas) defensive play to shut down the Penguins and start the break the other way.

One game is of course only one game, but the Wings looked very good in dispatching Pittsburgh. At this point it will be up to Messrs Crosby and Malkin to see what they can answer with.

Few people question whether the Pens will win a Stanley Cup with these two superstars, but whether they can do it in their first try, and against such a strong opponent, is definitely an open item.

1 comment:

Alan said...

This was the first series that the Penguins had to open on the road. As tough as it is to play in Joe Louis Arena, we'll have a true read on the series after game 3 back in Pittsburg. But Detroit did look awfully good. But leading only 1-0 going into the third period opens up any team to the possibility of a funny bounce, etc. along the way.

I'm looking forward to a good series (and hopefully extended).