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 impressionÂ 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.