Dumb luck goals.
Those were the three things that combined to give the Penguins the loss tonight. All three Red Wings goals had a substantial portion of luck involved. The first two were groan-inducing, with Stuart's shot deflecting off of the end boards and Franzen's shot deflecting off of the back of Fleury's leg.
The thing is, the Pens need to create their own luck. They seem to be tentative at times when bringing the puck up the ice, as if they're unsure how to attack the Red Wings. The power play especially (the second time) seemed to be victim to this. It could be that it happened too close to the first power play and the guys were tired, but the Wings have been bad on the PK so far in the playoffs.
The first period was considerably more physical than I expected. Hossa tried to kill Geno. Orpik knocked Hossa on his butt. Sid plastered Zetterberg. The debate on whether Kronwall leaves his feet was settled pretty clearly when he tried to hit Malkin high and missed completely. He somehow "magically" wound up in the air!
The encouraging thing is that the Pens were right there in this game. The Wings didn't win it so much as the Pens lost it. The Pens showed that they deserved to be there.
Sid and Geno need to find a way to score. As much as the Pens need secondary scoring, they need their superstars to step up and find a way to put the puck in the net. They've done it the entire postseason so far. They have to keep it going.
The Pens also need to keep punishing the top lines for Detroit. The Wings are very top-heavy in terms of ice time. If the Pens can play their style, establishing the forecheck early, it should pay big dividends late and Babcock can only go to Zetterberg so many times in the third.
The other thing to remember is that the Pens would love to earn a split. That's the key piece of information - as bad as this feels tonight, a win tomorrow night changes everything.
Next up: Game 2 - Sunday night. Get some sleep, 'cause we're gonna do it all again tomorrow.