Stanley Cup Finals, Game 3 (6/2/09)

The Red Wings and Penguins shifted to Pittsburgh for game three of the Stanley Cup Finals. The goalies were Osgood and Fleury and the lineups were unchanged for both teams.

The Pittsburgh fans were out in force with their white t-shirts. Even though they’re the enemy I have to admit that’s really cool looking. Of course they were also booing Hossa every time he touched the puck.

The biggest concern for the Red Wings was probably that Bylsma would have a much easier time of getting Crosby on the ice when Zetterberg wasn’t out there. Zetterberg certainly did a great job against Crosby in the first two game but it’s such a team effort on defense that I think Crosby will still find a lot of traffic in his way even with Zetterberg on the bench.

The Penguins had some chances in the first couple of minutes, one by Crosby. The Wings converged well and Osgood made a couple of good stops. The Penguins looked very energized. The Red Wings were just treading water trying to survive the first five minutes.

They almost did it. With just over 15 minutes left in the period, Cleary dove to try collecting a clearing pass that was behind him. He wasn’t able to control it and it was taken by the Penguins still onside. Malkin ended up with it and passed it to Talbot in the slot. He one timed it and beat Osgood for the opening goal.

The Red Wings answered back very quickly. Leino took the puck in and sent it around to Franzen. Franzen gave it back to Leino behind the net. He took it in front of the net and shot. Fleury stopped it and the rebound came to Zetterberg while Fleury was still down. Zetterberg put it into the mostly open net to tie the game. They made it look pretty easy

The first power play of the game went to Detroit at about the halfway point of the first period. Orpik interfered with Cleary and was called for it. On the power play Zetterberg made a pass through traffic to Franzen. Gill got a piece of it but he didn’t control it and it ended up right at Franzen’s stick. He quickly shot it into the net. The deflection of the pass sort of threw off the timing of the play and I think that’s why Fleury missed it. He probably thought that the play was broken up by Gill and relaxed a little. Franzen’s goal made it two to one Wings.

A few minutes later the Penguins had too many men on the ice for about 20 seconds and nobody caught it except Eddie Olcyk.

With about five minutes left Cleary was called for holding and the Penguins went on the power play. Lidstrom tried to clear the puck and Crosby cut it off and had it point blank chance on Osgood. He shot it and Osgood went down and corralled it. It was a great save on what looked to be an easy goal.

Then Malkin made a pass across the ice to Letang. He shot it and it hit Kronwall’s skate and changed direction slightly. It was just enough to make Ozzie miss it. The game was tied at two with four minutes left in the first.

With just under two minutes left Franzen was called for tripping when his stick got caught in Adams’ skates. The Wings killed the penalty for the rest of the period. They still had two seconds of power play time left for the start of the second period.

It was a very exciting first period. Zetterberg was fantastic. Both teams played pretty well. The Red Wings had more shots but overall it seemed pretty even.

The second period was another high energy period. There was a lot of back and forth action but the defense was tight at both ends. Samuelsson hit a post and there were a few chances the other way early on. For most of the rest of the period it was dump, chase, battle, and clear without much of a real scoring threat.

Then Helm came out and worked his magic. He had the puck for a long time and ended up drawing a penalty. Detroit didn’t score on the power play but they generated a lot offense and it carried over to after the power play ended. They kept up the pressure for the rest of the period. Despite some great chances there was scoring in the second and the period ended still tied at two.

In the first few minutes of the third period the Penguins had some great scoring chances. The Wings got stuck in their own end needing a change and then iced it. The Penguins came close to scoring and then continued the pressure on the next shift. Osgood made a few big saves to hold the tie.

Halfway through the period Ericsson was called for interference. It was a pretty weak call especially considering all the non-calls that Pittsburgh had including too many men on the ice and a punch by Kunitz to Franzen’s ear. On the power play Letang shot the puck from the blue line. It redirected a time or two. Gonchar tipped it last. There was no way Osgood could have stopped it and the Penguins were up three to two.

With about a minute left Osgood went to the bench for the extra attacker. Almost immediately Talbot got the puck and put it in the net.

That was it for this one. The Penguins were right back in the series. The Red Wings again seemed to have too many turnovers, although the stats didn’t really reflect that. In general they play well, though. Just like the games that Detroit had won, this one was pretty even. A few different bounces and the outcome could have been different. I didn’t really expect a sweep but it was still disappointing. I wasn’t happy with some of the calls the referees missed or with some of the things they did call. I can’t really say was very consistent or even.

This 2-4 loss brings this Stanley Cup final series to 2-1 Detroit.

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