The Wizard

We can thank Chris Osgood for this one. His teammates weren’t terrible, not by a long shot, but Osgood’s sustained excellence held off a Pittsburgh team that had the stronger night of the two squads.  I think it’s safe to say Osgood stole it. He had a very strong game, with the save on the Malkin breakaway standing out among a series of very good saves. He looked a little silly on the Pittsburgh goal, giving up the rebound like that, but throughout the second and third, he was a rock.

A brief word on officiaing: I’m all for letting the two teams play, but not at the expense of calling obvious stuff. I can think of multiple painfully obvious calls the officials blew and too many of them involved Pens targeting Hossa. I knew they’d try to get in his head by tying him up and throwing him off his game, but I didn’t think the refs would turn a blind eye to it. Not cool.

With Crosby’s little stickwork on Maltby after the game, you have to wonder if the Wings aren’t back in Pittsburgh’s collective heads. They played well enough and forced enough bounces to do it, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the Pens respond tomorrow.

The Wings need to get at them with a stronger overall effort in Game 2. They didn’t get their offensive game established all that well, even accounting for the difficulties presented by the second period’s penalties. And defensively, they can be better. The penalty kill was encouraging, but at even strength there were far too many Pittsburgh pressure shifts brought on by in-zone turnovers.

Getting the first win is huge. Now let’s get the next one, guys.

More tomorrow morning.

Filed under: 2008-2009, Playoffs

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Comments

  1. John W. says:

    I was pretty happy with the first period, it was probably the Wings' strongest of the three, although the 3rd wasn't bad. Their 2nd period was pretty weak, but the officiating didn't help. As Matt said, there were 2 VERY obvious times where Penguins took runs at Hossa when he was no where near the puck, no call. And how Malkin gets away with tripping Kronwall, directly leading to a breakaway, I have no idea. Of course, there was also Matt Cooke elbowing Homer in the face, but it's Homer, so of course no call.

    Looks like little Sydney is already at his peak frustration level, and after only one game too. We told ya it wasn't gonna be as easy to just walk to the net against a real defense. Not too mention he's one dirty little player, taking numerous shots at Hank's head. Unfortunately for him, Hank will not be deterred by Crosby's bush league antics.

    If I'm the Wings, I'm throwing every puck I can at Fleury, he just has a way of scoring timely goals for us. Starting with Hanks series winner in Game 6 of last year's Final, Fleury has put in three straight goals in for us, thanks kid.

    And if you wanna know why the Wings are winning this series, just look at the Maltby/Abdelkader/Leino line, it seemed like they played the entire 3rd period, and got a HUGE goal. The Pens just can't match that kind of depth for an entire series.

    Another playoff game where the Wings didn't have their best, while the other team threw a lot at them, and yet the Wings still win.

    Oh, and Pens fans, just a reminder, we didn't have Pavel, he'll be back…

  2. Alzy says:

    I didn't get to see the entire game, but gald Ozzie was strong. I have to agree with you though Matt about the no-calls on the Pens for their antics on Hossa. Two things stuck out to me in the highlights on nhl.com:

    The first was on the Hossa hit at centre ice in the second period, right before Hossa is checked, another Pens player tries an unsuccessful knee-on-knee shot.

    The second was on the Crosby "hit" on Hank in the second as well, the one NBC apparently felt the need to replay over and over, Crosby clearly leads with his elbow, just like Mike Brown. I'm sick of people calling these type of hits "shoulder checks" because they aren't. The players are just getting better at disguising the fact they're elbowing someone in the head. Not all elbow shots have to have the elbow point parallel to the ice.

    Man I hope Dangle-Dangle is back in tomorrow, however Malik had an encouraging read up, saying it looks like Draper will be in tomorrow. Who do you scratch though, Abdelkader or Leino? Abdelkader had the good vision to get his goal, but Leino did the work to get him that chance. I thought Leino looked good in the times I saw him, definitely looks like he can handle the physicality moreso than when we saw him in the regular season. I wonder if Uncle Mike might consider scratching Maltby, but I don't know how he can do that, considering how Maltby has elevated his play and lead the kids he's playing with on his line.

    A good decision to be able to make at this time of year.

  3. Jason says:

    For me, that extremely late elbow thrown on Holmstrom was the worst non-call of the game. For one, it's a headshot, plain and simple, and haven't we been listening all year how the NHL is going to crack down on headshots, particularly these idiotic ones that have nothing to do with the actual play? Not to mention it happened around the net, where at least two of the striped-shirts should have been watching as part of their job (and at least one MUST have been, since he blew the whistle). So how do they not call that?

    But really, my infuriation springs from something even simpler: it's that the Red Wings never pull that after-whistle junk when the play is stopped around Ozzie's crease. They show respect for the guys in the other team's uniform, even when they don't deserve it, and don't get into needless scrums unless the other team initiates and takes the kind of liberties the Pens got away with tonight. In evidence, look at that play where Guerin ran over Hank in front of Ozzie in the middle of the third, I think it was–it was clean, absolutely nothing wrong with it. Just physical play while the game was still going. But so many teams would have drilled Guerin right in the back with a crosscheck after the whistle for just making a good, hard, clean hockey play like that. The Red Wings, however, just go back to the circle and get ready to drop the puck again, as it should be. Yet the NHL rewards the Red Wings for demonstrating the best parts of sportsmanship by letting other teams constantly abuse the Detroit players after whistles. After what Niedermayer got away with on Datsyuk last round, though, how can I be surprised. Basically I guess we have to wait until Holmstrom or Cleary lies with his brains all over the ice before one of those gutless officials finally decides enough is enough.

    It got me to pondering, though, about why I root for the Red Wings, beyond the arbitrary and obvious reasons, being the closest NHL team to me geographically speaking, and that they are a great skilled team that wins a lot (winning–Ford family, write this down–really is fun). But I think it's just that respect they show for the quality of the game itself–they win the game by playing the game, not by taking cheapshots after the play is dead or when the ref is looking the other way (or, as tonight, when the ref is looking right at it, but refuses to strengthen any credibility the NHL has, which is very little, regarding the statement of its policies and the enforcement of those policies). Even if they didn't have all the skill that they have now, and had to work a lot harder for fewer wins every year; and even if I grew up around Montreal or Anaheim or Pittsburgh or anywhere else (assuming my personality and belief system were left unaltered), if they still played with the same respect and dedication and stoicism, even in the face of a league that has apparently so little respect for its best organization, and often, it seems, itself, Detroit would still be my team. That's what makes the Wings worth watching in my book.

    As for the game itself, while I think the Pens played fairly well, and Detroit had a few lapses with passes and defensive coverage, my overall feeling was that Detroit was never going to lose this one. Ozzie indeed helped that quite a bit with his great play, erasing some of those more notable gaffs (and the Malkin breakaway, after the non-call, absolutely huge); the grinders on the back lines too, it's hard to say enough about how they played tonight. Generally, everyone seemed pretty strong, and I never really found myself doubting the outcome of this one., even when the Pens tied it near the end of the first. Against Anaheim, I would have been unsettled, because they always seem to find a way to make one or two goals go a long way. But something tells me if Pittsburgh is going to win it all, they'll have to pot 4 or 5 goals a game to do it. They won't be able to stretch 1 or 2 goals a game into four victories, and Detroit's D can still be better even than they were tonight, which wasn't terribly shabbby.

    I feel like quoting Ash from Alien, to the crew of the Pittstromo: I can't lie to you about your chances, but you have my sympathies…

  4. Kyle says:

    I was a bit miffed on some of those non-calls as well. But I'm going to let it slide. The game-to-game officiating is what enrages people the most. So the NHL set the standard with this one that a lot of the interference is going to be let go. If Detroit ends up on a parade to the box on those screen-type interference calls and late hits in the neutral zone, I'm going to be pissed.

     

    But for now, I'll just enjoy this one. Osgood was tremendous, and it's nice to see Abdelkader pop in his first in front of the home crowd. They'll learn how to say his name soon enough.

  5. Keith says:

    Once again I want to start off by saying I love Osgood. He's a lock for the HoF, but I felt today he was awful. The Pens goal was 100% Ozzie losing the puck and the fact that the Pens didn't score 3 or 4 more goals were Ozzie lost the puck was due to luck, okay defense, and Malkin choking. Obviously the breakaway save was huge and probabbly was the key turning point of the game, but a goalie losing the puck, dropping it to his side, and having a guy like Stuart clear it, is not good. It won't cut it the rest of the series.

     

    The refs were downright terrible. Ignoring Cindy's slash on Maltby I counted 8 major penalties that weren't called. Key missed calls included the elbow to Zetterberg, the clearly late hit on Hossa by Cooke (I think), and Malikin's breakaway inducing trip. I don't expect the refs to be perfect, but those 3 were obvious and either play changing (Kronwall) or targeting a superstar player (Zetterburg and Hossa). Those need to be called! I don't understand why the refs blew dead the play once when a Pens and Wing were chirping at each other behind the play. I didn't think that was a cause to stop the game.

     

    Felury was awful. And I loved him Crosby and Malkin going 0 for. Malkin got an assist but I don't know why, Ozzie played it and turned it over. Malkin missed 2 or 3 scoring chances and I love how he "the superstar" looks to pass back to a d-man over shooting from the slot now. It's funny how much we're in his head. Cindy deserved 2 penalties not called, the Matlby slash and after he got jacked by someone along the board and punched Z in the back of the head. Real classy.

     

    Finally, anyone else think Cindy and Bettman have a love affair. I can see Bettman giving Cindy a back rub after the game and Cindy asking for even more bias refs. Of couse Bettman wants Cindy so he will do anythin Cindy asks (promote him unconditionally, find horrible refs, change the scheduling, etc). I'm sick of Cindy. He doesn't play defense and he can't kill a penalty. What a real team player and leader!

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