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The Detroit Red Wings suffered their first loss (4-2) in the Stanley Cup Finals last night in Game 3 at Mellon Arena. The story of the evening was special teams as Pittsburgh went 2-for-3 with the man advantage while the Wings scored once on two attempts. Both of Pittsburgh’s power-play goals Tuesday night came at critical times. Defenseman Kris Letang scored at 15:57 in the first period with the man-advantage to even the game up at 2-2. Midway through the final frame, defenseman Sergei Gonchar took a shot from the point and, with the help of a screen down low, scored to snap the tie. The marker ultimately stood as the game-winner.
Game 3 Redux
As mentioned above special teams was the determining factor in the loss, leading a lot of the media to discuss the power play and penalty kill in their game recaps or articles. Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press writes that “the Wings have discovered an enemy they may fear more than Sidney Crosby on a breakaway. It’s called the whistle.” A headline for a Detroit News article on the topic referred to it as the “not-so-special teams.” Ansar Khan at MLive.com discusses Detroit’s struggle to kill penalties. Defenseman Sergei Gonchar has been a key factor in Pittsburgh’s success on the power play according to Larry Wigge at NHL.com. Sports Illustrated’s Michael Farber called Gonchar the team’s “wounded warrior.”
While the Wings seemingly got the lucky breaks to kick off the Stanley Cup Finals at home, the Penguins were the ones getting the bounces or calls at Mellon Arena. A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter believed the Wings were the better team last night, but Pittsburgh was able to take the win.
Another popular storyline was the return of Marian Hossa to Pittsburgh and how the Penguins fans would react. Brian Compton of NHL.com talked about the booing from the crowd and how Hossa reacted. Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News wrote, “Marian Hossa’s reception at Mellon Arena on Tuesday night was hardly a red-carpet welcome, but it wasn’t nearly as viciously loud or just plain vicious as was anticipated.”
Michael Zuidema of The Grand Rapids Press discussed the coaching battles with line changes and how Henrik Zetterberg logged a whopping 24:19 minutes of ice time, second only to captain Nicklas Lidstrom. DRW.com’s Michael Caples noted the home advantage Pittsburgh had regarding the line changes.
NHL.com posted some fun facts and figures about Game 3 for all of you stat nerds.
In Other News
After Game 1, much was made of Crosby’s whack on Kirk Maltby following the game. Crosby’s reasoning for the stick tap? Maltby was chirping too much and Crosby just wanted Malts to know he was there. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press talked about Maltby’s affinity to chirp and the impact that can have on the game.
There weren’t too many Wings fans in attendance of Tuesday’s game, but you could easily spot them in the stands thanks to Detroit’s bright red jerseys in contrast to the whiteout at Mellon. The Detroit Free Press talked to some Wings fans wandering the concourse or taking in the game outside the rink on the big screen.
Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski wonders if yesterday’s loss means that Pavel Datsyuk will find his way into the lineup. He has been out with a foot injury since Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. We could also see Wings coach Mike Babcock insert Kris Draper in the lineup, likely replacing Ville Leino.
After scoring two key goals in Games 1 and 2, Michigan State alum Justin Abdelkader has snagged some media attention. The Detroit News posted a Q&A with Rick Comley, who is the head coach of the Michigan State hockey team. NHL.com even posted an article about the Abdelkader billboard that coach Bylsma referenced in his press conference following Tuesday’s morning skate.
Next Up: The Wings face off against the Penguins Thursday night at 8 p.m. EDT in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The game will be televised on Versus in the U.S. and RDS or CBC in Canada. Be sure to check out WingsLive, which is our narrative play-by-play where you can chime in with your own comments on the action. If you’re in the metro Detroit area, be sure to check out the Game 4 viewing party at The Post Bar in Novi.