Sunday, May 31, 2009

Optimism Approaching Pens-Wings, Game Two

The Penguins are down a game as they prepare for the second game of a television-twisted series that will award the Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh or Detroit, but they should not be daunted.

A year ago, Detroit dominated Pittsburgh in the series opener, establishing a tone that resonated throughout the Stanley Cup Finals. Last night, the Penguins played as well as did the Wings, and lost largely because Detroit was the beneficiary of several breaks -- strange bounces off Joe Louis Arena's idiosyncratic boards that led two pucks to carom behind the Penguins' goaltender, a blown call that deprived the Penguins of a penalty shot (under Rule 67.4) when Henrik Zetterberg smothered a puck located precariously on the back of his team's sprawled goaltender in the crease.

Pavel Datsyuk is reported to be unable to return to the Red Wings' lineup for tonight's game, Niklas Lindstrom appeared to be hobbled last night; the Penguins are the healthier and younger team, suited to a cramped series. The home advantage and a 1-0 lead give the Wings a slight edge, but I still like Pittsburgh's chances.


Anonymous said...

and the same damn thing happened tonight! Pens are playing hard and well, maybe the bounces will go in our favor at the Mellon Arena, aka Civic Arena.

Infinonymous said...

I still have not seen the Wings outplay the Penguins (except perhaps that Detroit seems to have a better sense of the officials' threshold with respect to obstruction). In the hockey playoffs, a club need not be desperate until it loses in its building.

A 2-0 advantage is handy, though, and the Penguins should need every angle -- big games from their stars, the fresh legs of youth, Datsyuk in the stands -- to climb back from that hole.