Osgood Stops 31 as Red Wings Take 2-0 Series Lead over Penguins

Detroit netminder Chris Osgood stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced for the second night in a row, leading his Red Wings to another win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and a 2-0 lead in their Stanley Cup Finals matchup.

It was the eighth time in Detroit’s 18 playoff games this spring that Osgood allowed one goal or fewer.

Unlike in Game One, the Penguins opened the game’s scoring, with an Evgeni Malkin power play goal with 3:10 left in the first period. After a goal-mouth scramble, Malkin snapped a shot on net that Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart bounced off of Osgood and across the goal line.

Jonathan Ericsson got the Red Wings on the board at 4:21 of the second period, blasting a one-timer from the point past Marc-Andre Fleury off of a faceoff.

Valtteri Filppula put Detroit in front 6:08 later, just after the expiration of a Red Wings’ power play. Marian Hossa put a shot on Fleury from the bottom of the left faceoff circle and the puck squirted free on the other side of the net. As Jordan Staal knocked Tomas Holmstrom into the crease, Filppula backhanded an acute-angle shot into the top of the net.

For the second consecutive game Justin Abdelkader wrapped up the scoring. Just 2:47 into the second period he skated into the Pittsburgh zone against three defenders, looped along the top of the circles with the puck, and then swatted a fluttering puck over Fleury’s glove.

The goal gives Abdelkader two on the series, leading all players.

Fleury finished the night with 23 saves on 26 Detroit chances.

The Penguins scored on their only power play while the Red Wings were held without a goal on two tries with the extra attacker, one of which was a 19-second five-on-three to end the game.

The five-on-three came about after Maxime Talbot speared Osgood in an attempt to knock the puck loose after a save. In the ensuing scrum, Malkin instigated a fight with Henrik Zetterberg.

The NHL has announced that the automatic suspension from an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of a game will be rescinded for Malkin and he will be available for Game Three.

Game Three will be on Tuesday night as the series shifts to Pittsburgh.

The Red Wings were once again without Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper, who remain out of the lineup due to injuries.

Red Wings Make Their Own Bounces in Game One Win over Penguins

The Detroit Red Wings score two goals on plays off the end boards and one more with a bouncing puck Saturday night, leading to a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins and a 1-0 lead in their Stanley Cup Finals matchup.

Brad Stuart, Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader were Detroit’s goal scorers. Ruslan Fedotenko scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal.

Stuart opened the scoring with 6:22 left in the first period. After holding in the puck at the Pittsburgh blue line, Stuart snapped a shot purposely wide of the net in an attempt to work it down low to Marian Hossa.

Instead, the puck bounced off of the end boards and came back to the side of the net, hitting the back of Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury‘s leg and deflecting into the goal.

Fedotenko tied the game with 1:23 left in the period. Stuart gave the puck up to Evgeni Malkin on the left wing in the Detroit end and Malkin fired a hard shot on Red Wings’ netminder Chris Osgood. Osgood couldn’t control the rebound and Fedotenko swept in to put it into the back of the net.

Franzen put Detroit back in front with 58 seconds left in the second period. Brian Rafalski fired a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle wide of the net, bouncing it off the back boards. Franzen picked up the puck at a low angle to the goal mouth and banked a shot of of Fleury and in.

Just 2:46 into the third period Abdelkader extended the Detroit lead. In a goal mouth scramble, Abdelkader gloved the puck out of the air and dropped it down to his stick. As it bounced, he golfed a shot into the top corner over Fleury’s shoulder.

Fleury finished the night with 27 saves on 30 Detroit shots. Osgood stopped 31 of 32 Pittsburgh chances, including a Malkin breakaway early in the second period.

Neither team scored a power play goal. Detroit had one chance with the extra attacker while Pittsburgh had two.

The two teams will meet in Game Two on Sunday night.

The Red Wings played without Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper, both of whom missed the end of the Western Conference Finals with injuries. Nicklas Lidstrom and Jonathan Ericsson returned to the Detroit lineup to start the Stanley Cup Finals.

Former Pens Star in Red Wings’ Win over Pittsburgh

Marian Hossa scored a goal and Ty Conklin earned the shutout Sunday afternoon, helping the Red Wings defeat the Penguins in the pair’s first return to Pittsburgh since bolting for Detroit as free agents last summer.

Hossa heard boos every time he touched the puck but they were never louder than after he scored to make the game 2-0 with 8:51 left in the third period.

“I guess we expected them to boo him a little bit but, man, that was vicious at times,” Conklin said.

“These are great hockey fans, and they show you their emotions,” Hossa said. “Once or twice in your career you’ve got these games, so basically you try to enjoy it because this doesn’t happen often.

“You try to use their energy to your advantage.”

Hossa’s goal came as he looped through the Penguins’ zone, carrying the puck down the right wing before coming back up the left side, losing the trailing Jordan Staal and putting a backhander from the high slot past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

“I was just hoping it would get there. It kind of surprised me (it went in),” Hossa said.

Pavel Datsyuk scored Detroit’s other two goals, putting home a rebound on a power play at 10:08 of the second period and on a strong individual effort with 2:12 remaining.

Conklin stopped 25 shots en route to the shutout, his sixth of the season.

The Red Wings were without forward Johan Franzen who missed the game with a bruised hand suffered in Detroit’s win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Red Wings Hold Off Pittsburgh Comeback to Claim Cup

After scoring with just 34 seconds remaining to force overtime on Monday night, the Penguins looked for late goals to pull even again on Wednesday. This time, Detroit’s defense held strong and prevented Pittsburgh from tying things up, giving the Red Wings their fourth Stanley Cup in the past eleven seasons.

Marian Hossa‘s power play goal with 1:27 left in the third pulled the Penguins to within a goal but Chris Osgood stopped Hossa as the clock ran out to finish off Detroit’s championship run.

The Red Wings took the lead early with Brian Rafalski scoring at 5:03 of the first period on a power play. Rafalski snapped a shot from the left faceoff circle off the shin pad of Hal Gill and past Marc-Andre Fleury for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Valtteri Filppula put Detroit up by two at 8:07 of the second, banging the rebound of a Mikael Samuelsson shot between Fleury’s legs.

A power play goal by Evgeni Malkin with 4:34 left in the period put the Penguins on the board, scoring on a blast from the top of the left circle that went between Chris Osgood’s pads.

Henrik Zetterberg, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the playoffs, scored the eventual Cup-winning goal at 7:36 of the third.

He snapped a shot on Fleury from the left wing and the puck trickled through before stopping in the crease. No one but the referee could see where it was and when Fleury fell to try to cover it, he knocked it back into the net.

Pittsburgh went two-for-four on the power play and Detroit went one-for-three.

Fleury finished the night with 27 saves on 20 Detroit shots, finishing the playoffs with a .933 save percentage and a 1.97 GAA. Osgood stopped 20 of 22 attempts to finish the postseason with a .930 save percentage and a GAA of 1.55.

The Red Wings will celebrate their championship with a parade through Detroit on Friday.

Thirty-four Seconds

I keep coming back to a few things from tonight’s triple-overtime loss…

#1 – If the Red Wings had been able to clear the puck in the final minute, this series is over. One of those times you see how one bounce can change a whole season.

#2 – I’m not happy with the two goalie interference calls on Detroit in OT. Roberts can throw his elbow all over, people can be tripped up, but heaven forbid anyone get close to Marc-Andre Fleury.

#3 – There was a play where Pittsburgh fired the puck into the net on a Detroit power play. Maybe in OT, I can’t remember. It bounced off the net and was never even blown dead.

I might have more notes than that if I get a chance to watch my DVR’d copy of the game. As it is, I’m on I-94 on my way to Ann Arbor to pick up a car to go home and am kind of in shock.

The series is far from over but I can’t say I’m comfortable right now.

Comeback Puts Red Wings One Win from Cup

For the first time in these Stanley Cup Finals the team that scored first didn’t win the game, for the first time in these playoffs the Pittsburgh Penguins lost at home, and the Detroit Red Wings now sit one win away from their fourth Stanley Cup Championship since 1997.

Jiri Hudler‘s first goal of the Finals gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead at 2:26 of the third period.

After Brad Stuart held the puck in at the blue line, Darren Helm set up a pick to let it come to Hudler for a backhander from low in the right circle. The puck bounced off the post and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury before falling across the goal line.

The Penguins had a chance to even things up midway through the third with a long five-on-three. Henrik Zetterberg led the penalty kill, tying up Sidney Crosby‘s stick on what would have been a simple tap-in at one point and stealing the puck for a break into the Pittsburgh zone at another.

Pittsburgh had opened the game’s scoring just 2:51 into the game, with Marian Hossa jamming the rebound of a Sergei Gonchar blast past Chris Osgood from the side of the net on a power play.

Nicklas Lidstrom tied things up for Detroit 4:17 later, rifling a shot from the top of the left circle past Fleury just after the expiration of a power play.

The Red Wings were scoreless on three power play chances while the Penguins scored their lone goal on one of their six tries with the extra attacker.

Osgood made 22 saves on 23 shots in earning the win. Fleury stopped 28 of 30 shots for his first loss at Mellon Arena since November 21.

Detroit can close out the series at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.

The Red Wings were without Tomas Holmstrom, who missed the game with an apparent hamstring injury. Darren McCarty took his place in the lineup and Dan Cleary skated in Holmstrom’s spot alongside Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

Penguins Finally Score, Take Game Three 3-2

The Pittsburgh Penguins finally got on the board Wednesday night, scoring three times to earn a 3-2 win after being shut out in their first two Stanley Cup Final matchups with the Detroit Red Wings.

With the win, the Penguins avoided going down 3-0 in the series, which now stands at 2-1 with Game Four on Saturday night.

Sidney Crosby led the way for Pittsburgh, scoring the game’s first two goals.

With 2:35 left in the first period, the Pittsburgh captain capitalized on a Detroit turnover. Brad Stuart sent a pass into the skates of Henrik Zetterberg in a failed attempt to clear the Detroit zone. Ryan Malone worked the puck back on to Marian Hossa for a shot that deflected off of both of Nicklas Lidstrom‘s skates to Crosby, who snapped a shot past Chris Osgood.

Just 2:34 into the second period, Crosby banged in the rebound of a power play shot by Hossa and the Penguins had a two-goal lead.

Johan Franzen scored his first goal of the series to get the Red Wings on the board on a Detroit power play. With 5:12 left in the second, Franzen went outside-inside to get around defenseman Rob Scuderi on the left wing and drive to the net. He lifted a near-side shot from in close over the shoulder of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and into the net.

On a broken play at 7:18 of the third, Adam Hall put the Penguins back up by a pair, banking a shot from behind the net off the back of a scrambling Osgood.

With 6:23 left in the game, Mikael Samuelsson snapped a shot from the right wing past Fleury to pull the Wings back within a goal but they would be unable to tie things up, with Pittsburgh holding on for the win.

Fleury stopped 32 of 34 shots in earning the win while Osgood made 21 saves on 24 Pittsburgh shots.

Osgood Blanks Penguins Again, Wings Lead Finals 2-0

Goaltender Chris Osgood earned his second consecutive shutout as the Detroit Red Wings rolled to a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night, giving them a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Osgood stopped 22 shots in the effort and became the second goalie in NHL history to start his Finals career with six consecutive wins.

The Red Wings got on the board just 6:55 into the game when Brad Stuart rifled a shot off of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and into the net.

Valtteri Filppula gained the Pittsburgh zone on the left side and slid a pass across to a trailing Stuart while going to the net. Stuart waited for Filppula’s screen before blasting a shot on net. Fleury got a piece of it but not enough as it deflected up and in.

Tomas Holmstrom stretched the lead to two 4:23 later, finishing off a chance by Henrik Zetterberg.

Holmstrom sent the puck from behind the net to Zetterberg in the slot to bang between Fleury’s pads. It slowly slipped through and Holmstrom reached in behind Fleury to push the puck across the goal line.

A highlight reel goal by Valtteri Filppula finished off the game’s scoring at 8:48 of the third.

With the teams skating four aside, Filppula was sprung on a rush into the Pittsburgh zone with a pass by Johan Franzen. He raced around defenseman Kris Letang and cut back in front of Fleury while being hooked. On one leg, he put a shot past Fleury before flying through the air.

The game ended with the Penguins trying to assert themselves physically, as Petr Sykora bumped Osgood, leading to a scrum that saw Pavel Datsyuk drop Gary Roberts. After time ran out, Maxime Talbot approached the celebrating Red Wings but was led away by the officials.

The Red Wings will look to take a stranglehold on the series in Game Three from Pittsburgh on Wednesday, a virtual must-win for the Penguins.

Franzen returned to the lineup after missing six games with concussion-like symptoms. Darren McCarty was scratched to clear room for him.

Samuelsson, Osgood Lead Red Wings to Game One Win over Penguins

Mikael Samuelsson scored two unassisted goals and Chris Osgood stopped all 19 shots he faced to guide the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals Saturday night.

Samuelsson had scored only two goals in the previous 16 games of the playoffs before notching the game’s first two tallies.

His first goal came with 6:59 left in the second period. The Penguins went for an ill-timed line change while Samuelsson had the puck in the neutral zone. He used the extra space to race in down the left wing and wrap around the net, banking a shot in off of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Just 2:16 into the third he scored again, breaking up a short pass from Fleury to Evgeni Malkin and knocking the puck past Fleury to put Detroit up by a pair.

With 2:42 left in the game, Dan Cleary added a shorthanded goal. Kris Draper threw the puck the length of the ice and Cleary raced down after it as it came off the back boards, swatting a backhander high into the net.

With Jarkko Ruutu in the box for slashing Tomas Holmstrom, Henrik Zetterberg scored from the slot to wrap up the game’s scoring with 13 seconds left in the game.

That goal was the only power play goal of the night, with Detroit having six chances with the extra attacker and the Penguins five.

The Red Wings thought they had scored the game’s first goal with 4:40 left in the first period when Nicklas Lidstrom beat Fleury but the goal was negated with a controversial goaltender interference call on Holmstrom.

Fleury stopped 32 of 36 shots against in his first-ever Stanley Cup Finals appearance.

The win boosts Osgood’s record in the Finals to 5-0.

Game Two of the series will be on Monday night from Detroit.

The Red Wings were once again with Johan Franzen, who has resumed practicing with the team but has not been cleared to play.

Thoughts on the NHL Draft Lottery

Over at SportsLogos.Net there’s a debate about whether or not the 2005 NHL Entry Draft was rigged to make sure that the Pittsburgh Penguins got Sidney Crosby.

The debate is in the Winter Classic thread (registration required) so rather than clutter that up with off-topic chatter, I figured I’d bring it here.

User capsfan1000 points out the following, from which I’ll work…

# 2002: Ryan Whitney (5th overall)
# 2003: Marc-Andre Fleury (1st overall) (originally pitsburgh had the 3rd pick)
# 2004: Evgeni Malkin (2nd overall)

Those are some low draft poistions. The Penguins should have been in the same position as the Caps (and the Panthers for that matter) and both should have been in the same boat with one draft ball each. But the NHL fixed it so that the Penguins would have three thereby giving Pitssburgh a better chance of drafting Crosby. In that way the NHL did fix the draft.

That’s where my complaint lies, as well, but it’s not that Pittsburgh got Crosby rather the flaw in the draft system.

The league is set up so that continued dominance is supposed to be difficult. Bad teams are rewarded with the opportunity to draft better players while good teams pick later on. The idea being that the better players will make the bad teams better. Meanwhile, the good teams get worse by losing the ability to pick higher. The Rodent calls it the lava lamp. It doesn’t always work that way but that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

Now lets look at the Penguins. Three pre-Crosby top-five picks in a row. It’s not any other team’s fault that the Penguins failed to use those picks to get anyone who could immediately help their team. Why should Pittsburgh have gotten yet another shot at a top pick because they chose people who wouldn’t have an immediate impact?

I pick on the Penguins because it’s the example that actually happened. In theory it could be much worse.

Lets say Winnipeg (just to use a team that doesn’t currently exist, so as to not piss off a current fanbase) realizes that they need a massive rebuilding effort and are willing to sacrifice several seasons to do it. They know their fans will pack the arena every night no matter how bad they are, so they bomb a season and get a lottery pick. They pick someone who could have an immediate impact but decide not to sign him. Next season, they do the same thing. The year after that, another bombed season (after all, the draft hasn’t helped them yet since they haven’t signed those players).

After three lottery picks in a row, they finally sign all three of those guys, and they’ve got an entire line of future stars coming in. That first player selected should have helped the Jets, maybe even taking them out of the lottery for the next couple years, but the front office deliberately held out for more lottery picks.

Is that extreme? Absolutely, but I think the idea shows the flaw in the system. I think that after a certain number of lottery picks in a row, a team needs to be told “No, you’ve had your turn, you’re doing something wrong, go to the end of the line and try again.” Whether it’s from front office shenanigans or poor drafting, there has to be a point where enough is enough.

Coming back to Pittsburgh, it means that Whitney and Fleury and Malkin should have been enough. It’s the team’s own fault that they drafted people who either weren’t ready for the NHL or couldn’t be signed. No more do-overs.