Saturday, May 24, 2008

Red Wings 4, Penguins 0

That was a perfectly crappy way to start a series. The Pens were unable to take advantage of early chances and went on to lose 4-0.

The Pens came out and played well early. They were the beneficiaries of four straight power play chances (though the first was only 9 seconds) in the first period. They managed some good chances and nice scoring opportunities, but they were unable to score. Some of that may have been due to gripping the sticks too tightly, but more of it was because of the play of Chris Osgood. He didn't need to make many saves, but he was excellent when the team needed him.

Late in the first and into the second, the tide started to turn, due to the Red Wings going on the power play, as well as a chance for Dupuis that was stopped by Osgood (again).

About two minutes after the Osgood save on Dupuis, Mikael Frickin' Samuelsson took advantage of a tired Penguins' defense and scored when his wrap-around attempt banked off of Fleury's skate. If Flower doesn't touch it, that puck never crosses the goal line. You can't blame Fleury for that deflection, however.

Mikael Frickin' Samuelsson made it 2-0 Wings early in the second when the puck pinballed off of Malkin straight to the stick of MFS in front of Fleury.

The Pens never gave up, despite their lack of shots on goal, and had a nice sequence late in the third when Hossa rang one off the post, followed immediately by some more pressure from the Pens, to no avail.

The Wings added two more goals at garbage time, one at the end of a power play with just over two minutes left and the other while on the power play with 12 seconds left. If I'm Detroit, I'm not sure I have my top power play unit on the ice in the last 30 seconds, but the Pens need to stop them if they don't want them to score.

I'm more concerned about a few things:
  • The Pens turned the puck over several times in their own zone. The Wings seem to forecheck with two players, but they surely can't be the only team that employs that strategy. This is something Coach Therrien will need to game plan for.
  • The Pens would gain the offensive zone and then get jumped, leading to turnovers. Early on, they looked like they were shooting early to avoid this. As the game wore on, they started holding the puck more and it didn't work out very well for them. I'd rather see them dump it a few times. If they get success with that just once or twice, they'll give the Wings something different to think about.
I think, despite the domination on the scoreboard, that the Red Wings can be beaten. Osgood isn't the best goalie the Pens have seen in the playoffs, but the Pens have to solve the Wings system to get the chance to show that.

Next up: Game 2 is Monday night. The Pens have some work to do before then.

No comments: