Stanley Cup Finals, Game 3 (5/28/08)

For game 3 the series moved to Pittsburgh.  The Penguins were hoping that having the home town crowd behind them combined with getting the last change would make all the difference in this game.

For most of the first period the change of venue didn’t seem to have much effect.  Detroit seemed to have slightly more trouble controlling the puck and the chances weren’t quite as good, but all in all Detroit was still dominating. 

Then as the period started to wind down, things changed.  Pittsburgh started to put together a few good shifts in a row and got several shots on goal within a few minutes.  As the Penguins confidence grew, Stuart tried to make an outlet pass to Zetterberg but put it in his skates instead.  The Penguins picked up the loose puck and moved it to Crosby who crossed in front of the net and shot.  Osgood got a piece of it but it went between his legs and in, giving the Penguins the first goal and some mental relief.

In the second period Pittsburgh came out with a vengeance.  They started the period with a continuing power play in which they generated some chances and kept the momentum going after it ended.  They got another goal on a second chance shot.  Crosby was standing next to the net and poked it home after Osgood turned away the first shot.  For most of the period they were just flying.  They finally looked like the Penguins that I expected to see in this series and the play was very exciting.  It was starting to look like the Penguins had stolen the Red Wings’ mojo.

Not to be outdone, Franzen took matters into his own hands when he got the puck from Lidstrom and stick-handled around just about everybody and roofed the puck.  It was such a quick shot that even in the replays I couldn’t really tell how it happened.  Either way, The Mule is back! 

The pace in the third period was just insane; the kind of play that is just so much fun to watch.  I was on the edge of my seat for most of the period.  They moved the puck up and down the ice with good chances at both ends and incredible energy.  At one point they went for well over 5 minutes without a whistle.

Unfortunately, the Penguins scored again when things got dicey in Detroit’s end.  Osgood tried to poke the puck behind the net but couldn’t reach it.  One of the Penguins got it, centered it, and they scored.

Samuelsson got another goal for Detroit as he let a blast go that may have been redirected.  That goal made it 3 to 2 Pittsburgh.  After that it was an all out attack by Detroit as they tried to tie the game.  By the time Osgood got to the bench for the extra skater there was less than a minute left.  Detroit had lots of chances but ultimately weren’t able to tie the game. 

The Penguins earned this one.  It was a great and entertaining game but I wish the result had been different.  The action was just incredible.  Detroit’s top line had tons of minutes.  Luckily there will be an extra day to rest before game 4 on Saturday.

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

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