Penguins Blanked Again by Detroit’s Stifling Defense

The Pittsburgh Penguins and their fans had another frustrating game against the Detroit Red Wings as they lost 3-0, marking a second consecutive game in which their highly potent offense was snuffed out by the exceptional defensive play of the Red Wings.  The Penguins seemingly played a better game than they did in the first game, but took too many ill-timed penalties and failed to convert on the few good chances that they were afforded.  To their credit, the Penguins never gave up in the game, but just could not break through the stifling defense of the Red Wings.  The Red Wings will take a 2-0 series lead to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, where the Penguins hope to extend their home playoff unbeaten streak. 

The Red Wings scored the ever-important first goal early in the first period, as Brad Stuart picked the corner on a semi-screened Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 1-0.  Valtteri Filppula picked up the assist on the even strength goal.  Then at 11:18, Tomas Holmstrom made it 2-0 as reached in behind Fleury and tapped in a puck that had trickled through his legs on a Henrik Zetterberg shot.  Shots were 12-6 in the first period, with all 6-Penguins shots coming on 2-powerplays.  The Penguins killed off 2-penalties of their own, including 14-seconds of a Gary Roberts roughing call that carried over into the 2nd period.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Two
Image details: Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings – Game Two served by picapp.com

There was no scoring in the 2nd period as the Penguins were again held to just 6-shots on goal.  The Red Wings put 11-shots on goal, all of which were stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury who did his part to try and keep his team within striking distance.  The Penguins successfully killed off the balance of Roberts 1st period penalty as well as a slashing call against Ryan Malone. 

In thr 3rd period, the Penguins took penalty after penalty and never gave themselves the chance to get back in the game.  At 7:49, the Penguins went on the power play and it looked like they might get an opportunity to cut the lead in half.  But just 15-seconds into the man advantage, Ryan Malone was called for goaltender intereference and the power play was negated as the teams skated 4 per side.  During the 4-on-4, Detroit scored their 3rd goal of the game as Valtteri Filppula made a spectacular move around Kris Letang and then connected on a Bobby Orr-like diving shot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury.  Then at 11:51, Max Talbot took a double-minor roughing call in a fracas with Detroit’s Johan Franzen, who got just 2-minutes.  Then again at 16:08, Ryan Whitney took an ill-timed roughing call when he took a shot to the head of Pavel Datsyuk after the whistle.  Then at 18:52 with the little question as to game’s likely outcome, Petr Sykora knocked Chris Osgood down as he skated by the net and a large scrum ensued.  Sykora picked up a goaltender intereference call while Malkin and Roberts each took 2 for roughing.  Gary Roberts also picked up a 10-minute misconduct.  Detroit’s Lilja and Franzen each got 2 for roughing, giving the Red Wings yet another power play. 

Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Two
Image details: Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings – Game Two served by picapp.com

The Penguins return to Mellon Arena for Game 3 on Wednesday night with the hope that they can find a way to break the defensive juggernaut.  The Penguins will have the crowd on their side and the good fortune that they have enjoyed on their own ice throughout these playoffs, having yet to lose a game there.  If the Penguins can find a way to win on their own ice, they can claw their way back into this series and gaain some confidence and momentum.  Needless to say, it will be a tough challenge if Detroit can continue to play the way they have in Games 1 and 2. 

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