Monday, May 26, 2008

Stanley Cup Finals Game #2

Pittsburgh Penguins (2) at Detroit Red Wings (1)

Detroit leads series 1-0.

The Pens have not trailed in a series in the playoffs until now. In fact, they've never been tied. They won the first two games at home in each series and jumped out to a 3-0 lead overall in each. Losing the first game was tough, but they have the chance to earn the split tonight.

Is earning the split really that hard of a task? The two meaningful goals scored by Samuelsson were both a bit on the fluky side. They're certainly correctable mistakes. Ruutu could have iced the puck to live to fight another day. Fleury could have swiped the puck to the corner instead of trying to go to Malkin.

If I'm Coach Therrien, this is what I'm telling my players: Hey - when the game mattered, we made a few mental mistakes that burned us. Eliminate those and we have a good shot to win that game. We had a few great goal scoring chances that just didn't go for us. Keep pushing the offense and ramp up the intensity on the defensive end.

Gary Roberts will likely play today. George Laraque will likely sit. He played the fewest minutes of any player on Saturday, and McCarty wasn't interested in dancing with him during Game 1 either.

Lines are also changing. Malone is skating with Hossa and Crosby. Malkin and Sykora get Talbot with them. Third line is Dupuis, Kennedy and Staal. Roberts, Hall and Ruutu are on the fourth line.

I don't know if it's a panic move to shift the lines so quickly, but if you look more closely, the important pieces are intact. Crosby and Hossa are together. Same deal with Malkin and Sykora. Those are the important parts. The third line will be a bit faster with the addition of Dupuis at the expense of Ruutu. The fourth will still be able to hand out punishment.

Hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend. I'm also hoping we can have a great ending to the holiday weekend.

Let's Go Pens!


Will said...

Good write up, Pat. I totally agree that the Pens were in that first game with the exception of a few mental breakdowns. I was surprised that he shuffled the lines so much, but that's M.T. for ya. I imagine if they don't produce in the first 10-15 min, he'll be mixing them up again. Glad to see Roberts out there. BGL has not really done anything to warrant getting benched, but I understand the change because it obvious the RedWings are not going to get baited into a fight. Let's hope they Pens get a few of the bounces today and the damn refs at least call the game consistently... even though after watching so many games this year, I don't think that's possible.


DieSidDie said...

The Pens are useless. Enjoy the Prince of Whales Trophy this summer. It's not as nice as the Stanley Cup but people remember who comes in second. Oh wait, no they don't. And don't take it too hard when all 14 of your UFAs take deals from other teams this summer. I really hope Sid is worth the $9 million you are paying him. Go Wings.