Monday, May 26, 2008

Stanley Cup Finals Game Two - Rolling Red

Well, It was apparent to all that in order to have any chance whatsoever in game two, the Penguins would need to play a heck of a lot better than they did in game one. The Pens deliverable from the game showed that yep... they played better, but still not good enough to beat a rolling Detroit team.

This game was essentially lost in the first period with Detroit outshooting Pittsburgh 12-6 (with all 6 Penguins shots coming on the power play) and netting goals from Brad Stuart and then Tomas Holmstrom. As Pittsburgh played the Wings fairly well even in the 2nd and 3rd with no goals to show for it, it's pretty easy to point to period one as being the defining stanza of play.

Particular attention should be focused on the goaltender play and how it impacted this game. Chris Osgood was extremely solid in throwing his second shutout in a row and while Marc-Andre Fleury certainly wasn't the reason the Pens lost, he probably would like to have back one if not both of the goals that Detroit shot through him in the first. That said, the final score was of course 3-0 so there should be a greater amount of accolades heaped on Osgood than critique of Fleury.

So... the Penguins are down two games to zero, but should not be counted out just yet. While they can be criticized for some cheap hits at the end against Osgood and a recently returned to the lineup (from concussion symptoms) Johan Franzen, Pittsburgh did show signs of life with their surly play at the end (and pretty solid 2nd and 3rd period effort). They've yet to lose a game at the Igloo this postseason and if they can put together 60 rather than 40 minutes of solid hockey and have Fleury play as well as Osgood, game three is a chance to get back in this series.

That said, this matchup was billed at the start as experience (Detroit) against youth (Pittsburgh) and maybe putting together every single piece needed to beat experience is too tough a task for youth (albeit very talented youth).

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