Once again the Penguins came out very tentatively. For a good portion of the first period the Pens were whiffing on passes and dump-ins, not skating hard, putting no pressure on the Detroit defense and generally looking uncomfortable. Again, they did warm up and start playing the Penguin game we know and love. At one point the Penguins were being outshot something like 7-2. By the end of the first period the Pens had outshot the Wings 11-7 with a 1-0 lead. Things seemed to being going in the right direction for Pittsburgh. The second period seemed to be much the same way. They started slow and got better as the period went on. It would be nice to see the Pens come out of the gate strong. It is going to be very difficult to beat the Red Wings four times if the team does not play hard for 60 minutes.
The Pens had plenty of scoring chances. They just need to finish on those opportunities a bit more frequently. Both Crosby and Guerin hit posts. A number of shots were directed right into Osgood’s chest. They missed the net on countless chances. The good news is that they were creating some very good chances. The bad news is that they (so far) are not finishing the chances they generate. This was similar to how they started in the Philly series. I feel good that the Pens will start to score on more of their chances as the series progresses.
In this game, Detroit played more of puck control game. They had possession for extended periods of time. They also had a lot of presence in front of our net. The Pens did a great job in game one of not allowing the Wings to set up in our zone. Detroit was more effective tonight. The Penguins will have to work harder to prevent Detroit from controlling the game in Pittsburgh’s zone.
- Again the officiating was non-existent. I am not trying to say that the refs were giving Detroit favoritism. The lack of officiating went both ways. They just called nothing all night. Interesting to see how the officiating is going for the finals. Is this some kind of league mandate…to “let them play”.
- One thing about the “no call” officiating is that it makes for long stretches of exciting play.
- I hate to keep harping on this topic, but I am gonna. The Pens defensive system is too soft at their own blue line. They continually allow the oppostion to come deep into the zone without a challenge. This is leading to scoring opportunities for Detroit. A perfect example is Abdelkader’s goal in the third period. He went easily into our zone on a one on three break. That does not make sense in my world.
- You have to give credit to Zetterberg for playing tough defense on Sid. Here is to getting the last change at home.
- The Pens drastically improved their face-off efficiency. They went from an unacceptable 29% to 53% tonight. So good news there.
- By no means am I blaming the loss on Fleury, but another bad goal in this game. This is the Stanley Cup Finals. It is time to shine, no more bad goals.
- I love what Malkin did at the end of the game. Sticking up for Talbot, as he was being mobbed by two Wings, and engaging Zetterberg in a fight should send a message to the rest of the Penguins. They had better come out Tuesday with more fire.
Now the Pens come home to even this series up. Let’s go Pens!