Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2 (5/31/09)

Less than a day after winning game one, Detroit is facing off tonight in game two of the Stanley Cup Finals against Pittsburgh.

The Red Wings lineup was unchanged from yesterday. They were still without Datsyuk and Draper. Osgood and Fleury were the starting goalies. The Penguins replaced defenseman Boucher with forward Dupuis.

Detroit got so much time from their third and fourth lines last night that I’m guessing fatigue will be more of a problem for the Penguins. The only thing that the Red Wings really needed to improve on from last night was the giveaways. They had a lot of turnovers and they were lucky to still have dominated the game. They did so well on faceoffs that I think that helped negate the large number of turnovers they had.

Just to clear up one issue, the media ran straight to Sidney Crosby and told him that Mike Babcock had accused him of headhunting. They made it sound like Babcock was complaining about Crosby’s play. If you listen to his comments in context though, he was being complimentary. He was saying that liked the way Crosby and Zetterberg went at each other. It’s just another example of the media twisting words and inventing controversies. When will they learn that what’s happening on the ice is exciting enough without making up garbage like that?

In the first five minutes Detroit seemed to be having some problems again with giveaways. They did a good job of nullifying Pittsburgh’s opportunities after the fact. The third and fourth lines were once again playing very well and with a lot of energy.

Towards the end of the period Pittsburgh started gaining momentum and had several good chances. Osgood was on top of his game as usual.

The first power play went to Pittsburgh late in the first period when Kronwall crosschecked Talbot. The Penguins got the puck in on Osgood. He stopped it but the Penguins had about 10 whacks at it. It was bouncing around and eventually it bounced between Osgood and Stuart and ended up going in off of Stuart’s stick. Malkin got credit for the goal which put his team up one to nothing.

That score held until the end of the period. The Wings were badly outshot in the first period and Pittsburgh had all the energy and confidence for the second half of the period. Detroit was very sloppy with the puck in their end. They had a lot of turnovers again. The Red Wings had no shots in the last ten minutes of the period and Pittsburgh had nine.

The Wings looked really sloppy in the first few minutes of the second period. They kept turning the puck over, icing it, and going offside. They just weren’t looking very good. Then the fourth line came out and had a good shift which seemed to wake them up a little. Then the top line had a great shift and nearly scored several times and Pittsburgh finally iced it. Right off the faceoff they got the puck back to Ericsson who ripped it from the blue line. Helm was in front for the tip but he didn’t touch it. The shot beat Fleury and tied the game at one each.

The Red Wings had tons of momentum at that point. Zetterberg had one especially beautiful chance but Fleury stoned him.

Detroit got their first power play near the halfway point of the second period. Malkin had taken down Ericsson and was called for interference.

Detroit didn’t score but continued pressuring after the penalty ended. Filppula did a great job at the blue line to keep the puck in and got it to Hossa. Hossa shot it with Holmstrom in front of the net. Fleury stopped the puck and the rebound came out to the side of the net. Filppula was there to pick it up and shot a backhander from almost at the goal line into the top corner of the net. The Wings took the lead two to one.

Detroit had several glorious chances in the last minute of the period which started when Cleary went very strongly to the net. Fleury had some amazing saves. They didn’t score but they really built some momentum that would hopefully carry over into the third period.

The second period overall was probably better for the Wings than the first was. They still had a lot of problems but when they turned it up a notch they were great. There were a few spurts of a few minutes each where they looked fantastic. Those runs were enough to override the sloppy play during the rest of the period. Detroit did much better in terms of shots on goal and in fact had the lead by the end of the second period.

Early in the third period Detroit brought the pressure but they didn’t score. Pittsburgh got something going at the other end and they hit a post. The puck came back across the goal line behind Osgood. Zetterberg ended up on the ice in the net. Crosby shot again and the puck ended up under Zetterberg. The play was reviewed but there was clearly no goal.

A few minutes later Abdelkader took the puck at his own blue line and skated through the neutral zone. He took it into the Pittsburgh end with two guys on him. Gill knocked the puck away from him but he regained control. Abdelkader turned around slapped it at the net. It seemed to fool Fleury a little bit and went over his shoulder into the net. That made it three to one Detroit. It was Abdelkader’s second playoff goal of his career; the first was about 24 hours earlier.

With just under two minutes left Pittsburgh pulled their goalie again. There was some chaos in front of Detroit’s net but Osgood came up with it. Then there was a shot that Osgood stopped and Talbot took another shot at Osgood. That started a big fight between Zetterberg and Malkin. Unfortunately, Zetterberg threw most of his punches with his gloves on. They both ended up with their jersey’s off which means they weren’t tied down. Osgood and Talbot were getting into a little bit, too. There was only 18.2 seconds left at that point. When they sorted out the penalties Detroit had a 5 on 3 power play for the rest of the game.

The game ended with Detroit still up three to one. They did a great job shutting down Crosby again tonight. The team defense in the third period by the Wings was just incredible. Every time the Penguins got the puck the Wings converged and took the puck away. There were only a few quality chances for the Penguins and Osgood was perfect stopping them.

Now they move to Pittsburgh for Tuesday night’s game. Pittsburgh having last change could be a big factor since Bylsma seems very concerned with getting his desired matchups. Hopefully, the Red Wings can keep their momentum going on Tuesday.

This 1-3 win brings this Stanley Cup final series to 2-0 Detroit.

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