Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Penguins Game Three - "Reports of Their Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated"

Wow. What a great hockey game Detroit and Pittsburgh played tonight.

Starting with the aforementioned assumption that the Wings played to their potential (and the Pens did not) in games one and two, Pittsburgh needed to step up their game in order to have a chance of winning back in the Igloo for game three. Rest assured, they did step up and narrowly won a game against another consistent Red Wing effort.

This was the type of hockey game that could have been won by either team as it featured offenses driving to the net, excellent goaltending (Marc-Andre Fleury might have wanted back the 2nd goal allowed, though) and hard hitting all over the ice. The fact that the Pens were victorious was the result of a very good Pittsburgh effort coupled with a few more bounces their way than Detroit got.

A game like this fully demonstrated why it was so necessary for the Penguins to win should they have any chance in the series. Starting with talented opponents and assuming repeat occurrences of each team's effort, intensity and attention to detail, you would likely have a 50/50 split in wins and losses over a number of games.

The point being, if Pittsburgh had fallen behind three games to zero, it's next to impossible that they would have been able to take four in a row from Detroit with the way the Wings have played. In fact, Detroit has played well enough this series that I'd say to have a realistic chance, Pittsburgh needs to win Saturday as well. Reason being, should Detroit go up three games to one, the odds of Pittsburgh either greatly outplaying them or getting the breaks needed to win three of four are slim.

However, a win Saturday in game four would be simply holding serve on home ice and should the Pens pull it off, they could then completely disregard their shortcomings in games one and two and start in on a best of three series.

Here's to hoping the Pens do get it done Saturday as it would mean one of the most compelling Stanley Cup Finals matchups in recent memory would be living up to the advance billing.

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