Penguins Lose Game 1 in 4-0 Shutout

The Pittsburgh Penguins were unable to solve the Detroit Red Wings defense and goaltender Chris Osgood as they lost Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Championship Series 4-0 on Saturday.  The Penguins came out strong in the 1st period, but faded as they game went on and Detroit’s defensive game kicked in.  A poorly executed line change by the Penguins midway through the 2nd period served as the turning point and was all that the Red Wings needed to break the lock on a scoreless game.  Another Detroit goal early in the 3rd period enabled the Red Wings to close the defensive noose around the neck of the Penguins.  They finished it up with 2-late goals, one short-handed and one on the power play, to give them a 1-0 lead in the series.

In the 1st period, the Penguins took the first penalty at 3:51, but it quickly turned into a 4-on-4 as Detroit took a penalty of their own just 11-seconds later.  The Penguins offense then had their best opportunities of the game as the Red Wings took 3-more consecutive penalties, but Chris Osgood came up big and shut down the normally potent Pittsbrugh power play.  At 15:20, the Red WIngs had a goal waived off as Tomas Holmstrom was called for goaltender interference as he got his stick between the legs of Marc-Andre Fleury.  The call was questioned by the Red Wings’ bench, but was ultimately a non-factor in the outcome of the game.  The Penguins managed to outshoot the Red Wings 12-11 in the first, but were 0-for-4 on the man advantage.  The Penguins did manage to kill off 2-penalties of their own, including a high-stick call on Hal Gill that carried over 1-minute into the 2nd period. 

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

In the 2nd period, it was the Penguins who got into penalty trouble as Sidney Crosby (slashing), Ryan Whitney (holding) and Evgeni Malkin (tripping) all sat for 2-minutes.  Although none of the penalties resulted in a goal, it took the Penguins offense largely out of the game.  At 13:01, with the Penguins trying to get a tired line off the ice, Jarkko Ruutu tried to make a passing play out of his own zone.  With 2-Penguins players heading to the far bench, a flying Mikael Samuellson picked off the Ruutu pass and skated it in around the flat-footed defense and came around behind the net with a wraparound that beat Marc-Andre Fleury.  The goal, Samuellson’s 3rd of the playoffs, was unassisted.  The Red Wings went on to dominate the Penguins by outshooting them 16-4 in the period.  Despite it all, Marc-Andre Fleury managed to keep it a 1-goal game through the end of the period, giving the Penguins a chance to get back into it.

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

In the 3rd period, it was Mikael Samuellson again as he beat Marc-Andre Fleury at 2:16 to give the Red Wings the 2-0 lead.  Going in hard on the forecheck, Samuellson pinned behemoth Hal Gill into the boards and gained possession of the puck to beat Fleury with another unassisted goal.  The Penguins had an opportunity to pull within a goal after Niklas Lidstrom took an interference call at 15:27, but the Penguins offense just couldn’t get it done.  Instead, Daniel Cleary put the game out of reach with a short-handed goal with just 9-seconds left on the Penguins’ power play.  Brad Stuart was credited with the assist.  Then with just 13-seconds left in the game and Jarkko Ruutu in the box for slashing, Henrik Zetterberg beat Fleury to make it 4-0.  Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Lidstrom were credited with the assists on the final goal.  The Penguins were dominated again in the 3rd and were outshot 9-3. 

In a press conference after the game, Coach Michel Therrien noted that the Penguins played their worst game of the playoffs by failing to compete and neglecting to play their system.  He also noted that the team has always bounced back from fair performances with big games, and he expects that will be the case on Monday night when the teams meet up at Joe Louis Arena for Game 2.  He also rightfully noted that the Red Wings played an excellent game, aside from thefirst period penalties.  It was the 2nd time the Penguins have been shutout in these playoffs, with the last time coming in Game 4 against the Rangers.  The Penguins battled back from that performance to win Game 5 3-2 in overtime. 

 

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