Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
The Detroit Red Wings head into the work week up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals thanks to a pair of 3-1 victories over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and Sunday. It was the case of Detroit’s depth players stepping up and scoring with a pinch of luck thrown into the mix.
Game 2 Redux
Much had been said about the lucky bounces Detroit got in Game 1, resulting in a couple of goals. After Game 2, more people were talking about the lucky breaks Detroit got when Pittsburgh hit the goal post three times in the contest.
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson got Detroit on the board first with a slap shot from the point off of a nice faceoff win from teammate Darren Helm, who also screened Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury on the play. Helmer has been a jolt of energy for this tired team.
“You think about it, you have Ericsson, (Ville) Leino, (Justin) Abdelkader and Helm were playing for us,” [head coach Mike] Babcock said. “If someone told me that at the start of the year, I’d say we’re about at 82 and we’re finishing off the season. I wouldn’t think we’re in the Stanley Cup finals.”
Valtteri Filppula broke the 1-1 tie late in the middle stanza at 10:29. The Red Wings improved to 11-0 this postseason when leading through 40 minutes of action.
Michigan State alum Justin Abdelkader made his presence known this past weekend, scoring insurance goals shortly into the third frame in both contests. ESPN.com’s E.J. Hradek describes Abdelkader’s Game 2 goal and discusses lineup among other notes. Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press writes that Abdelkader apparently has a knack for scoring timely goals.
Emotions ran high as Game 2 wound to an end with a scuffle that turned into a fight breaking out with 19 seconds left on the clock. Evgeni Malkin was assessed the instigator penalty on top of a fighting major while his sparring partner Henrik Zetterberg received five for fighting.
Speaking of Zetterberg, the Swede seemingly shadowed Sidney Crosby’s every waking moment and when he got away from Hank for a moment and took a shot, Zetterberg was there sprawled out in the crease to prevent the puck from crossing that goal line.
Both teams will be in Pittsburgh by Monday evening to face off in Game 3 on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. EDT.
Ron Cook, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, believes the Penguins can become the second team to win the Stanley Cup after going down 2-0 on the road (the only team to do it was Montreal in 1971). He thinks that getting Sidney Crosby away from Henrik Zetterberg thanks to the last line change at home will help as will less lively boards at Mellon Arena.
In Other News
NHL.com breaks down some numbers for this series to give you an interesting take on the Stanley Cup Finals action thus far.
Larry Wigge of NHL.com writes how the play of the Swedes on the Detroit Red Wings makes practically every young Swedish hockey player want to play for the Winged Wheel.
Dan Bylsma returns to his home state as the Pittsburgh head coach. The Grand Haven, Mich., native played hockey at almost every level before retiring and becoming a head coach.