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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Red Wings Take Game One Over Penguins

OUCH! The Penguins were, in some ways, unnecessarily and semi-self-inflictedly spanked Saturday night in Game One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Detroit won at home 3 to 1 over Pittsburgh. Game Number Two is tonight and also in Detroit.

The killer stat, according to game analysis, is that the Red Wings won 71 percent of game faceoffs. Yeah...you're not going to win a hockey game nailing only 29 percent of faceoffs.
The Red Wings effectively neutralized the talents of Penguin Sidney Crosby. They just shut him down. Ditto Crosby's teammate Evgeni Malkin, rendered all but ineffective by the Red Wings.

The Penguins had two power plays early in the second period and did nothing with them. Not making the most of one power play, we'll call it a mulligan. But failing to capitalize on two almost back-to-back power plays, well...don't foresee coming out the winner of the game.

An odd karmic fate bestowed upon the Penguins were two goals scored by Detroit that crossed the crease by deflecting off the skates of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Something like this in sports decides the winner of the game and is unique to hockey because ice is both unpredictable and unforgiving. It would almost be comical if it weren't so maddening. Golfers can, to some degree, read a golf green. Not so with ice. Ice is fickle and mischievous. Ice laughs and taunts those who use it as a surface on which to play a sport.

Detroit was the better team last night because they made the best out of every opportunity. And I'm rooting for the Penguins big time. The Penguins didn't even look like they were there mentally. I don't know - I don't think it's a physical thing with Pittsburgh; Saturday night seemed all mental. This is an obstacle that Coach Dan Bylsma must disintegrate and remove for his players.

T.C. at Leather Penguin, a year ago...a year ago, mind you - after the Cup - said he suspected the Penguins would be in the playoffs this year. T.C. was amazingly prescient, which is why he's one of few people I consider an NHL and Hockey Guru.

Pittsburgh needs to win tonight and even up the games 1-1. They can't leave Detroit at 0-2, returning home for games three and four, expecting those games will be their leveling point.
Saturday night's game - minus the two Detroit goals via odd karmic fate - would have been a tight game. Detroit, in my opinion, probably would have won 2-1 without the karmic fate of their two goals bouncing off the skates of Fleury.

The Penguins have to win tonight.



One game doesn't make a series, though I would strongly recommend that the Penguins not drop game 2. Of course I'm very certain they know that already. Should make for an interesting game 2.

Congrats on the Red Wings, my friend. They played a great game Sunday night, except for the first period.

I thought the Pens looked great in the first period of game 2. After that, they returned to who they were in Game One. A terrible performance by the Pens. For the sake of the fans, I hope they win both games 3 & 4 in Pitts.
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