Game 2: Wings 3, Penguins 0

Update (1:01 PM): Bruce MacLeod has posted his thoughts on the game. - Matt

The Detroit Red Wings took a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals with their second straight shutout win over Pittsburgh last night at Joe Louis Arena.

I missed the first period because I was on the road. I was, however, able to listen to about half of it on the radio (after going through AM about five times and then all the way to the end of FM before finding it on the last FM station). From what I heard, the Wings had a dominant first. The fact that the Penguins didn’t have a single shot until over eight minutes into the game is incredible.

When I heard the call of the Wings’ second goal, it sounded like it was Henrik Zetterberg’s. Then Ken Kal said Tomas Holmstrom’s name and my first thought was it was going to be waived off. How sad is that?

I don’t remember much from the second period. Probably because not all that much happened, though if I recall correctly, this was the period in which Andreas Lilja inexplicably wiped out in the Detroit end, leading to a glorious Pittsburgh chance that fizzled out.

The third period was quite interesting. It began with Ryan Malone’s unecessary hit on Henrik Zetterberg, resulting in a scrum involving Pavel Datsyuk. Both Datsyuk and Malone went to the went to the box, the latter for the third of four times.

Malone cut short a Penguin power play with an idiotic goaltender interference penalty. I’m still not exactly sure why he felt it was okay to run into Osgood.

While the teams were skating four to a side, Valtteri Filppula scored one of the better goals of the playoffs after getting sprung by Johan Franzen. With Kris Letang tripping him up, Filppula did his best Bobby Orr impression  as he put the puck in the net:

Not long after the goal, Gary Roberts saw fit to punch Johan Franzen in the head far away from the play. Completely gutless play on the part of a player who is supposed to have class. It would have been gutless had it been anyone, but the fact that it was a player recently returned from a concussion made it even worse. Somehow the officials missed it and Roberts got away.

Franzen came out on his next shift (I believe) looking for retribution. He chose Maxime Talbot and they both ended up going to the box. Not long after those penalties expired. Ryan Whitney decided to emulate the Pens’ elder statesman by taking a shot at Franzen’s head himself. This time, the officials did call a penalty, overruling Whitney’s declarations of innocence.

The emotions of the third period hit a high point following Petr Sykora’s decision to bump Chris Osgood behind the net. Andreas Lilja reacted angrily and ignited a scrum in which Pavel Datsyuk threw down with a Penguin and somehow escaped without a penalty. Evgeni Malkin, Roberts, Franzen, and Lilja all received roughing penalties, while Sykora got goaltender interference. Roberts was also assessed a 10 minute misconduct.

I have to admit that the Pens’ shenanigans in the third period came as a surprise to me. I thought they were better than that, that they were above such tactics. Evidently, they are not. The various accusations that the Wings were diving do nothing to negate the fact that the Pens resorted to bushleague behavior in the face of another whipping at the hands of a better team.

Then they had the gall to whine about the officiating afterward. Newsflash to Coach Therrien: you’re not losing because of officiating, you’re losing because you’re being beaten by a team that remembers they have to earn their wins. You and your players appear to have forgotten that.

The series is not over yet, but if the Pens don’t find a way to grow up fast, it will be soon.

Now to the question of this series’ excitement or the perceived lack thereof. Do we no longer value talent and skill? I’ve read in a few places today that the Wings are boring, that their dominance is bad for the NHL, etc. To those people I say: get over yourselves.

The Detroit Red Wings are an extremely talented team that excels at both ends of the ice. If they were just a defensive team like the Devils or any one of the pre-Lockout small market teams, I would understand the criticism. As it is, however, I cannot understand why people don’t find Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall, Johan Franzen, and the rest of the team compelling.

They play together as a team, not a group of individuals. This is a team game, is it not? Do you value team play and team skill? From the whiny reactions to this series that I’m reading, I’m starting to think that too many hockey fans want individuals playing pond hockey.

I don’t know if this stems from the typical hatred of Detroit’s success by all those individuals whose fanship is at least partly defined by a desire to see the Wings fail. Whatever it is, it’s ridiculous. I can understand the feeling of being letdown by the fact that the Pens have not been competitive, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s not even the end of the series. Pittsburgh could get its act together Wednesday and make this “interesting.”

By the way, if the tables were turned, I can’t see people complaining about the Pens’ dominance.

Obviously, I’m a biased observer. As a Wings fan, I love every minute they shut out the Penguins, every goal they score, every time they turn away a Pittsburgh rush with ease because all of those things vindicate everything I’ve believed about this team since they were eliminated by Anaheim last year. For Wings fans, their success so far is exciting. I just see no reason by others can’t join in.

Filed under: 2007-2008, Game Reports, Playoffs

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Comments

  1. Ryan says:

    Talbot gave Franzen a slew-foot. That's why Franzen went after him when they both went to the box.

  2. Brian says:

    "I have to admit that the Pens’ shenanigans in the third period came as a surprise to me. I thought they were better than that, that they were above such tactics. Evidently, they are not. The various accusations that the Wings were diving do nothing to negate the fact that the Pens resorted to bushleague behavior in the face of another whipping at the hands of a better team."

    I don't think any team that is down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals and without a goal is above getting frustrated and having a few players lash-out. When you can't get anything else going, the last resort is always roughing the other team up a bit. Any other team would've done the same and I don't think it should come as a surprise. And the Wings aren't some "shining city upon a hill" with respect to gamesmanship, either…every team has their bad times.

    "The emotions of the third period hit a high point following Petr wSykora’s decision to bump Chris Osgood behind the net."

    Calling it "Sykora's decision" makes it more than it really was. It was incidental contact with Sykora turning to skate behind the net, brushing into Osgood. Sykora is not Sean Avery and out to cheap shot Osgood, he just brushed Osgood on his way behind the net. Osgood played it up by falling over and staying down to draw a penalty/scrum. Hasek's antics with flopping must've brushed off on Osgood.

    "Then they had the gall to whine about the officiating afterward."

    Like there hasn't been whining in every series this playoffs, and you've never whined about officiating after a game…everyone complains about officiating to some extent, especially after they lose.

    And it's Therrien's job to get after the refs if he thinks it's going to get them on his side the next game.

    "They play together as a team, not a group of individuals. This is a team game, is it not? Do you value team play and team skill? From the whiny reactions to this series that I’m reading, I’m starting to think that too many hockey fans want individuals playing pond hockey."

    I don't know whether you're trying to insinuate that the Pens are not a team and/or are individuals playing pond hockey but people aren't bored because of the team play of the Wings. While you as a Wings fan enjoy "every time they turn away a Pittsburgh rush with ease" I don't understand your confusion. Would you be enjoying this series if you weren't a Wings fan? I myself have been BOTH a Wings fan and Pens fan at different times, and I was finding myself switching channels during Game 2. It's just not fun to watch a team that, for whatever reason, can't compete against another team (whether it be nerves/skill/home ice/etc). I wouldn't blame the rest of the NHL fans for being blind to the amazingness that is the Wings…try to understand that it is boring when the competition level is at zero (other than when you're a fan of the dominating team).

    Half-jokingly, I'm hoping the Wings see the greater good and let up. Let the Pens score a goal, maybe even win a home game :) They can get the Cup celebration back at the Joe, and the Pens fans can enjoy a win. And that'd for sure help TV ratings which I bet will be reduced to Pens/Wings fans until the Pens are able to be 1% competitive.

    —And all comments above, however they come off as, are really in good nature. Not trying to pick a fight but had to respond with a different perspective on these things.

  3. Scott H says:

    NO.

    Bury the Pens. Period.

    After the classless Bertuzzi like move on Franzen, I have ZERO respect for the Penguins as an organization, and even less respect for Little Gary Bettman-Crosby.

    Humiliation at the Mellon is the only appropriate 'perspective' I care to explore.

    The 'greater good' would be for people like Gary Roberts to crawl back under a rock and for the league to enforce its current regulations rather than invent new ones mid-game.

    There is no making nicey nice with Penguin fans. Pittsburgh deserves to be shredded and openly thrashed…in front of their blindly ignorant fans. Since when do we have to be PC about hockey?

    There is no room in Hockey for cowards…on or off the ice. Hockey is war….not a politically correct game of Go Fish. There is no sharing, no nap time, no even stevens, no lets all make friends with the less talented boy in the corner, no do overs, no mulligans, and simply put….the team that loses in the final round is the first LOSER, not the next best. There can be only one. Which ever team loses, than they lost to a team that played a full best of 7 series. No whining, no weepeing and woulda shouldas.

    I am a fan of hockey. I am a fan of the warrior mentality that is a hockey player. I am a fan of the art and purity of talent that parents of young children spend hours upon hours and thousands of dollars to cultivate. I am a fan of the soldier who plays by the rules, even when the other army isn't. I am a fan of a sport that has respect built into it's basic building blocks. I am a fan of a commissioner who would recognize that and hold true to the traditions of excellence that came before him. I am a fan of a sport that has 1 team that wins a cup that is so steeped in tradition that it has rules of it's own. I AM a fan of hockey first, and my favorite team second.

    Obliterate the weak opponent. They are NOT worthy.

    Of course, I am not trying to pick a fight either, just had to respond with a different perspective on things.

  4. Brian says:

    "Hockey is war…."

    You need to tone it down a bit, buddy…hockey is a GAME.

  5. Tim says:

    Sykora dropped his shoulder and squared to Ozzie before "getting bumped by Ozzie"

    Sykora threw the hit; Ozzie did his job and made sure the Refs saw it. His veteran moves are making sure the Refs see when he gets bumped.

    Therian can complain all he wants, and the sad thing is that it will effect the game. Homer will lose goals, and Ozzie will be a "Diver" and get penalized for it. Just seems like a lot of effort that could be put into making Malkin realize that he's not tired, and instilling a little heart into his team.

    I forgot who it was, but someone pointed out that the Penguins play like they are happy to be in the finals, and Detroit plays like they want a cup. The Pens have a hole to climb out of, and they're going to have to earn their wins with hard work.

  6. Sarah says:

    Just a girl's perspective…

    "When you can’t get anything else going, the last resort is always roughing the other team up a bit."

    Yeah, if you're dirty and classless. Just cause a lot of teams do it doesn't mean it's right. It never works anyway. Once a team loses composure, there's little hope for them. Ask all the teams that are playing golf right now about that.

    "And it’s Therrien’s job to get after the refs if he thinks it’s going to get them on his side the next game."

    Actually I think it's Therrien's job to inspire his team. If he were smart he'd be trying to get them to play better, rather than feeding them excuses.

    Crosby seems to be the only one in the interviews who doesn't go pushing the blame every which way he can Unfortunately, for him, despite all the attention he gets, nobody actually listens to him. They just torture him about his scruffy boy-beard and take his picture.

    Honestly I never heard Therrien complain about the officiating anyway, on the contrary, I thought he was saying that the Wings were playing within the rules, but he still slapped that nasty 'O'-word on there anyway:

    "They’re good on obstruction. It’s going to be tough to generate any type of offense, if the rules remain the same. So it’s the first time we’re facing a team that the obstruction is there, and we’re having a hard time skating to take away ice."

    So apparently, there is absolutely no obstruction in the Eastern Conference. Hmmm… And the rules must change or no one will ever score against the Wings. It's a wonder we didn't just shut everyone out all season… Okay, I'm exaggerating, but tell me it doesn't seem like he's grasping at straws. They've never played a team with obstruction before? They're in the same division as the devils for pete's sake! Granted, they're not the same team that played a flawless "trap" years ago, but still. That's just a silly statement to make.

    Is he seriously whining about the rules that Gary has spent years implementing specifically for players like Crosby? Oh, I hope Gary doesn't hear his ungrateful babble. That would probably break that miniature basketball in his chest that pumps his blood.

    "I myself have been BOTH a Wings fan and Pens fan at different times"
    Dude, I wouldn't brag too about being a side-swapper if I were you…

    "I’m hoping the Wings see the greater good and let up." How about hoping the Pens find their composure and give the Wings a go of it. Would it really be exciting to see the Wings playing half-heartedly just so Pittsburgh can keep up? Seems like it'd be much more exciting to see two teams running on all cylinders than an equally matched display of mediocrity. I don't think it's the Wings who make games boring, it's their opponents.

    Oh, and nice speech there Scott – I kept having flashbacks to those 'My NHL' commercials after the lockout… "The skillful warrior…" They were sorta creepy, but I liked the idea anyway. Maybe you should be in advertising…

  7. Scott H says:

    When was the last time you drew blood playing Candyland Brian?

    Hockey = NOT a game

    /simply fed up with people not being called for the most heinous of injury intended fouls. This "game" is worse off with people like Pronger and Roberts and Bertuzzi and Simon….
    //disappointed with Kronwall leaving his skates too
    ///it's playoff fever Brian, I've got it bad!

  8. Ron Landrus says:

    I got your back Scott!

  9. Ron Landrus says:

    I want a poster of Val in the air after the goal.
    I was watching slow-mo and there was a healthy photo flash at just about optimum timing.

  10. Justin says:

    Why would you even half-want the Wings to let up on the Pens? That's just stupid. I would hope I don't need to explain why. If the Pens get their game together and EARN a win, fine. But saying, "We should let them have a win just to let their fans feel good" is arrogant, cocky, and dumb.

    About the cheap shots on Franzen: Did anyone else notice Malkin going after Franzen during the scrum at the end? Watch a video, any video, of it. You'll see Malkin slowly skate towards the group as if he doesn't really want to get involved. Then Malkin notices #93 with his back to him, so he decides to jump on Franzen. Franzen would have none of it though, and knocks Malkin down and almost punches him.

    If the situation was different, I probably wouldn't have made anything of it. But given the two cheap shots to Franzen's head earlier in the game, it seemed like Malkin was going for a cheap shot himself. I guess I'm the only one who noticed it, as I haven't seen anyone else mention it anywhere yet.

  11. cupman says:

    Have you heard the story about someone taking a dump in the Stanley Cup?

    Well, the man who guards the Cup 24/7 talks about that and more…By the way, Teemu Selanne currently holds the Stanley Cup drinking record.

    http://www.maxim.com/StanleyCupStories/articles/2

  12. Matt Saler says:

    I think some of you guys need to read Brian's disclaimer at the end of his first comment.

    Brian,

    I don’t think any team that is down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals and without a goal is above getting frustrated and having a few players lash-out.

    Good point. Frustration is understandable. However, there's a difference between starting scrums after the play and Roberts' slug to the head of Franzen. That's not frustration, that's a lack of class, even if it was only momentary on Roberts' part.

    Osgood played it up by falling over and staying down to draw a penalty/scrum. Hasek’s antics with flopping must’ve brushed off on Osgood.

    You forget that it happened at the side of the net. Sykora did put his shoulder into Osgood and had a fair amount of momentum backing him up. So the contact wasn't strictly a minor brush. On the replay, you can see Osgood step on the side of the net to try to regain his balance. I'm not denying that Osgood embellished and would have fallen anyway, but what he did was not Hasek-esque. He effectively tripped on the net.

    Like there hasn’t been whining in every series this playoffs, and you’ve never whined about officiating after a game…everyone complains about officiating to some extent, especially after they lose.

    My point there was that the Pens should be worrying about themselves at this point, not the officiating. They aren't playing like they should be and can't pin that on the referees. I'd just like to see some more honesty from Therrien, because he's not doing his team any favors by shunting the blame elsewhere.

    It's one thing to complain about the officiating when it's actually been a problem, but I honestly don't think it's been an issue for just one team here. If there's a problem with it, it's that they aren't letting either team just play. Already there have been too many penalties in this series and Therrien wants more? Please!

    I don’t know whether you’re trying to insinuate that the Pens are not a team and/or are individuals playing pond hockey but people aren’t bored because of the team play of the Wings.

    No, I'm not insinuating that the Penguins aren't a team. I just think the Wings are playing together as such a cohesive unit that people are disappointed. They want to see superstars like Crosby and Malkin stand out and take command of the series. That's where my reference to pond hockey comes from, this desire to see individuals take the lead.

    Would you be enjoying this series if you weren’t a Wings fan?

    That's a difficult question to answer because I can't draw from prior Finals that have seen similar dominance. I'd like to think I'd appreciate a team's skill and ability even if it meant a series was one-sided, but if I were predisposed to disliking that team, I'd obviously not enjoy it. That's at least part of the problem here, as most people who aren't Wings fans already don't like them.

    Sarah,

    Seems like it’d be much more exciting to see two teams running on all cylinders than an equally matched display of mediocrity.

    Exactly.

  1. […] Register « Game 2: Wings 3, Penguins 0 […]

  2. […] game of the Stanley Cup Finals Detroit leads the series 2-1 with wins in Game 1 (4-0) and Game 2 (3-0). Pittsburgh took Game 3, […]

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