2008-2009 Stanley Cup Final

#4 East – Pittsburgh Penguins

#2 West – Detroit Red Wings

GAME 1: DET 3, PIT 1

GAME 2: DET 3, PIT 1

GAME 3: PIT 4, DET 2

GAME 4: June 4 @ PIT, 8pm, VS,CBC,RDS

*GAME 5: June 6 @ DET, 8pm, NBC,CBC,RDS

*GAME 6: June 9 @ PIT, 8pm, NBC,CBC,RDS

*GAME 7: June 12 @ DET, 8pm, NBC,CBC,RDS

* If necessary; All times Eastern

With a capacity crowd in attendance and over 7,000 people watching on a screen located outside the Mellon Arena, the Pittsburgh Penguins looked to win the first of two home games against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings. When the ice was cleared at the end of the evening, a star and an unlikely hero stood tall as the Penguins won game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final 4-2 and cut Detroit’s lead to 2-1 in the series. Still, the Detroit Red Wings are confident they will be able to impose their will on the flightless fowl in game 4.

Scoring was opened by Pittsburgh’s “jack of all trades” forward Maxime Talbot, who sent a one-timer slap shot past Detroit netminder Chris Osgood at 4:48 of the first period.

Much like game 1 and 2, Detroit quickly answered back. This time it was Henrik Zetterberg, scoring his 10th of the post season at 6:19 of the first.

Five minutes later, Detroit added to their lead while up one man. With Pittsburgh’s heavy hitting defenseman Brooks Orpik in the penalty box for 2-minutes for interference, Johan Franzen put the puck past Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury at 11:13 of the first period for his 10th post season goal and a 2-1 lead.

Dan Cleary, a hero of late for the Red Wings, received a 2-minute holding penalty in the last few minutes of the first period. On the ensuing power play, Pittsburgh looked to even the score. Plenty of passing and cycling occurred, but the high powered Penguins power play, which included Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Sergei Gonchar, were unable to get any pucks towards Osgood. In the waning moments of the power play, Kris Letang was able to shake free on the far side half board and take a shot on the short side. Letang’s shot slipped through the human wall of Chris Osgood for his 4th goal of the post season at 15:57 of the first period, tying the score 2-2.

The second period was all Detroit, all the time. Of the 29 shots on goal the Red Wings took, 14 were on goal in the second frame. Nonetheless, Detroit was unable to get a puck behind Fleury. On the other side of the ice, Osgood needed to keep himself busy, as the Penguins only got 4 shots on net the whole period.

The game remained knotted at 2 until midway through the third period. Detroit blueliner Jonathan Ericsson was assessed a 2-minute interference penalty. On the ensuing power play, after great puck movement, the Penguins were able to park veteran forward Bill Guerin in front of Chris Osgood. Sergei Gonchar let loose a Russian rocket of a shot that found its way to the back of the net, past the screened netminder for the game winning goal at 10:29 of the third period.

Maxime Talbot added his second of the game, and sixth of the season, at 19:03, an empty net tally that sealed the game at 4-2.

The most controversial portion of the game was a 25 second (or so) period where the Pittsburgh Penguins had 6 skaters on the ice. Mark Eaton, who either noticed there were too many people, or he heard someone say “get off the ice”, scurried back to the bench. No minor bench penalty was called.

Fans of the Detroit Red Wings may be fairly confident of their team’s ability to bounce back and win Game 4, but there is one thing they should be concerned with: the penalty kill.

Detroit’s penalty kill has been atrocious throughout the season. They allowed 71 goals on 327 short handed situations throughout the regular season, a 78.3% kill, ranking them twenty fifth in the league. In the post season, they have allowed 18 goals in 63 short handed situations, a 71.4% kill, ranking them fourteenth out of the sixteen teams that made the post season.

At this stage in the post season, in the Stanley Cup Final, the PK unit needs to find a way to keep Pittsburgh off the board.

Three Stars of the Night

Detroit Red Wings – Quotables

“I didn’t skate for two weeks. Just wanted to feel it, (get) more confidence. When you don’t skate for two weeks, it’s a little bit hard for me. I feel it was better in the morning. I feel more confidence more now. I don’t score in like 12 games. This is problems. The foot is OK. Every day is better and better, and today is much better. I have more smiles. I’m more happy. It’s still a little bit sore, but it’s fine.

- Detroit Red Wings C Pavel Datsyuk

“Pavel already told me he’s warming up and planning on playing. Now, we’ve had lots of plans over the years. We’ll see what happens. I’m not making the decision. When Pav’s ready, he’s playing.

- Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock