Penguins Come Alive, Beat Red Wings 3-2

At last, we witnessed the level of competition that we had originally anticipated between these two great teams!  After a 2-game slumber party, the Pittsburgh Penguins awoke at Mellon Arena and became the team that went 12-2 to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.  After going scoreless in the first 2-games, the Penguins scored the first 2-goals of this game thanks to the tenacity of Captain Sidney Crosby, and ultimately went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on Wednesday night.  It wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t supposed to be easy.  But, from this fan’s perspective, the game contained all of the intensity and excitement that you would expect from a Stanley Cup game.

In the 1st period, the Penguins finally ended a lengthy scoring drought and managed to get their first goal of the series.  The goal didn’t come until 17:25, but it was just what the Penguins needed to lift a large burden and give them some confidence and momentum.  With the Red Wings trying to move the puck out of their own zone, Sidney Crosby picked off an unforced turnover and drop passed it to Marian Hossa who unloaded a quick shot on net.  Chris Osgood made the save, but gave up a juicy rebound that Crosby redirected back between the goaltender’s legs to make it 1-0.  Marian Hossa was credited with the lone assist.  The Penguins were outshot 9-6 in the first, but were prefect on the penalty kill as they killed off penalties to Jordan Staal (holding) and Sergei Gonchgar (hooking).  The Penguins had 2 powerplay opportnities, including one that carried over into the 2nd period, but failed to convert.

Detroit Red Wings v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three
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In the 2nd period, the Penguins managed to pour on the pressure and take the Red Wings off their game as they outshot them 13-9.  At 2:34, just 32-seconds into the Penguins final powerplay of the night, Sidney Crosby found the back of the net again to establish a 2-goal Penguins lead.  With Crosby and Hossa posted by the net, Sergei Gonchar let a shot go from the point.  The shot never made it through, bouncing off a defender’s skate and onto the stick of Ryan Malone.  Malone then attempted a shot that bounced off some skates again and found the stick of Marian Hossa.  Hossa quickly released a shot that was stopped by Osgood, but the puck rebounded to Crosby on the side of the net who put it behind the goaltender to make it 2-0.  But the Red Wings found a way back into the game on a powerplay of their own at 14:48, as Hal Gill sat for the 2nd time in the period for clearing Tomas Holmstrom from in front of the Penguins net (via a cross-check).  The goal was scored by Johan Franzen who simply undressed the Penguins defense, walked right in on goal, and roofed the puck over Marc-Andre Fleury’s shoulder.  Nicklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronvall picked up the assists on the goal, that sliced the lead to 1-goal.  The Penguins were 1-for-1 on the powerplay and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill in the 2nd period.

In the 3rd period, the Penguins managed to restore the 2-goal lead on an even strength goal by Adam Hall at 7:18, his 2nd of the playoffs.  After a huge hit by Kirk Maltby on Tyler Kennedy at the Penguins end of the ice, Gary Roberts responded at the other end of the ice by leveling Andreas Lilja and freeing up the puck.  Max Talbot dug the puck out of the boards and made a cross-crease pass to Adam Hall, who ultimately ended up behind the net with the puck.  Standing behind the net all alone with the puck, Adma Hall made a couple of attempts to pass the puck out, but it ultimately ended back up on his stick.  He finally found an opportunity with Osgood turning to get back into position, and shot the puck off the back of the goaltender and into the net to make it 3-1.  Gary Roberts and Max Talbot picked up the assists.  After the Hall goal, the action up and down the ice was non-stop, with play going without a whistle for over 6-minutes.  Finally, at 13:37, Mikael Samuellson let a shot go that appeared to deflect off from Brooks Orpik’s stick and into the net to cut the lead to 1-goal again.  Brad Stuart and Valtteri Filppula picked up the assists on the play.  Things got hairy at 15:42 as Evgeni Malkin took a hooking call and gave the Red Wings the opportunity to tie it up, but the excellent play of Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins’ penalty kill thwarted a late game comeback for the Red Wings.  The Penguins survived a 16-5 shot surge in the final frame to come away with the much needed victory.

Detroit Red Wings v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three Image details: Detroit Red Wings v Pittsburgh Penguins – Game Three served by

The Penguins looked like a different team than what they brought to the first 2-games of the series.  They played the game that they needed to play by getting aggressive on the puck and putting pressure on the Red Wings defense and on Chris Osgood.  The Penguins also managed to change up the mathcups and enabling Crosby and Hossa to find more open ice.  Sidney Crosby (2G) was the game’s 1st star and Marian Hossa (2A) was the 2nd star.  Marc-Andre Fleury had a strong game in net as he stopped 32-of-34 shots, including 15 in the final period, for a 0.941 save percentage.  The series resumes on Saturday night as the Penguins host the Red Wings at Mellon Arena for Game 4, and look to tie the series up 2-2.


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