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GAME DAY: SCP '09, SUNDAY MAY 31, STANLEY CUP FINAL--PITTSBURGH AT DETROIT, 800 PM ET

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davetherave

davetherave
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GAME DAY: SCP '09, SUNDAY MAY 31, STANLEY CUP FINAL--PITTSBURGH AT DETROIT, 800 PM ET PitPittsburgh at GAME DAY: SCP '09, SUNDAY MAY 31, STANLEY CUP FINAL--PITTSBURGH AT DETROIT, 800 PM ET DetDetroit

GAME TWO, 2009 STANLEY CUP FINALS
RED WINGS LEAD SERIES 1-0

8:00 PM ET, May 31, 2009
Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan

NBC/CBC/RDS

Penguins-Red Wings Preview

(From ESPN/STATS LLC)

The Detroit Red Wings opened the Stanley Cup finals with a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Neither team will have much time to rest, reflect or make adjustments.

For the first time in more than 50 years, finals games will be played on back-to-back nights as the Penguins and Red Wings meet in Game 2 on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit got the go-ahead goal from Johan Franzen -- his team-high 11th of the postseason -- in the final minute of the second period and Chris Osgood finished with 31 saves in Saturday's 3-1 victory.

More important for Mike Babc0ck's club, though, was slowing down Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who were tied for the postseason scoring lead with 28 points coming into the finals.

"We knew coming into this series that these guys, when you've been here before, you know what to expect so you're ready to start on time," the Detroit coach said.

After being blanked by Osgood in the first two games of last year's finals, the Penguins said they had a different mind-set. Still, only Ruslan Fedotenko scored off an assist from Malkin.

"We can do a better job," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think there are some areas that we can keep at. But that's the challenges. And getting back at it (Sunday) is a good thing for us."

Crosby entered Detroit on a six-game point streak and with an NHL-high 14 postseason goals, but managed only two shots. A third-period drive by him rang off the post, ended up on Osgood's back and was smothered.

"I've never seen that happen before. I've never seen the puck stay on a goalie's back like that and just sit there," the Penguins captain said.

It's been 12 years since the last repeat Stanley Cup champion -- Detroit in 1997 and 1998 -- and 25 years after the most recent finals rematch as Edmonton and the New York Islanders squared off.

But generations have passed since finals games were played on consecutive nights.

On April 9, 1955, the Red Wings and Canadiens met in Montreal with the Canadiens winning 5-3 to even the series at 2-all. The next night in Detroit, the Red Wings posted a 5-1 victory, and went on to win the Cup in seven.

A big reason for the short turnaround this time is NBC and the league didn't want to stunt excitement about a matchup with the potential to draw nontraditional viewers.

Preparing to play two high-pressure games in a 24-hour span also will be a little different.

"You've got to make sure you get a lot of food in you tonight and get a good night's sleep," said 39-year-old Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who returned after missing the final two games of the Western Conference finals with an injury. "When the game starts (Sunday), I think you have to keep the shifts a little bit shorter. Keep your legs going again, but keep your shifts shorter and try to get the four lines rolling as well so everybody gets into it again."

Looking to move halfway toward their fifth Cup in 12 years and 12th overall, the Red Wings haven't lost in Game 2 of the finals since falling to the Canadiens in 1954. Detroit has outscored its opponents 22-8 in Game 2s against Montreal (1955), Philadelphia (1997), Washington (1998), Carolina (2002) and a 3-0 win last year over Pittsburgh.

"It's a race to four," Bylsma said. "They got one."

Falling into an 0-2 hole, though, could doom the Pens' hopes of hoisting their first Cup since the Mario Lemieux-Jaromir Jagr heydays in 1992.

Since the best-of-7 format was introduced in 1939, teams that have gone up 2-0 in the finals are 41-3. No team has blown a 2-0 lead since Chicago against Montreal in 1971.

"This is tight hockey," Crosby said. "We didn't expect to come in here and have it be easy. But the good thing is we've got a short period of time here to prepare and get ready for Game 2. We're confident that we can get one here and go home."

Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

davetherave

davetherave
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So who wins tonight?

Do the Pingus bounce back?

Do the Wings do their thing?

How many goals?

Who are the Sudden Unsung Heroes?

:##:

shabbs

shabbs
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Hall of Famer
I see a Pingu win tonight.

wprager

wprager
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Administrator
Home ice is going to be big for Detroit. I thinks Fleury is going to be really worried about the boards tonight, so Detroit will use that to their advantage, just not sure how. Suffice it to say that, if a goalie is concerned about a particular area, the opposing team can take advantage of that knowledge. The matchups on defense certainly didn't hurt.

I think we're going to see a little less leniency from the refs for the second game -- Sid got away with a cross check to the back of the neck of Zetterberg; Zetterberg got away with a semi-accidental butt-end in the face of Sid on a face off (which led to a goal, by the way). Neither team did much on the PP, so this may not be a clear advantage to one or the other.

Face offs. Wow. I can't imagine that Pittsburgh won't get better. Sid won the opening face off but I don't remember seeing him winning another one. If Sid cannot win face offs against Zetterbeg then they don't stand a chance. Perhaps that's also an artefact of the line matching.

Bottom line, I think that Detroit takes a 2-0 lead tonight. It will be close, but there are too many things to overcome: face offs, matchups, Fleury's preoccupation with the board bounces.

I wonder if Datsyuk will play.

shabbs

shabbs
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Hall of Famer
You think Detroit can get two goals off lucky bounces again?

Wink

TheAvatar

TheAvatar
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Veteran
Yeah, I think Detroit's going to win by 2; probably 3-1 Wink

asq2

asq2
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wprager wrote:I wonder if Datsyuk will play.

That's got to be a terrifying prospect for the Pens.

Not only would the Wings be adding the league's fourth leading scorer, but also the reigning Selke winner and one of the league's best face-off men.

PKC

PKC
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All-Star
shabbs wrote:You think Detroit can get two goals off lucky bounces again?

Wink

Unfortunately for the Penguins, the Wings are so good they don't need lucky bounces to score. The fact that they got those lucky bounces makes it all the worse for the Penguins.

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Datsyuk to miss Game 2:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2009/05/31/draper_datsyuk/

Draper to miss as well.

wprager

wprager
Administrator
Administrator
shabbs wrote:Datsyuk to miss Game 2:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2009/05/31/draper_datsyuk/

Draper to miss as well.

Yep, I expected that. With the games being back-to-back, one extra day would not have made any difference. I was holding out a >little< hope but not much.

As for getting two more lucky bounces, my point was that Fleury wil be paying extra special attention to bounces off the backboards. His attention will either be divided or he will be cheating one way. Whenever something like that's on the mind of a player (especially a goalie) the opposing team's coacu could take advantage of it. How? Who knows. Maybe fake a shot to the side, then slap-pass to the other side.

Hockeyhero22000

Hockeyhero22000
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Veteran
with datsyuk out still the wings are a formidable opponent daniel cleary has stepped up big time in the absence of datsyuks production there is no one player to try and shut down or one line i see a wings win tonight and the eventual series prags has it right fleury will be worried about bounces and the wings and babc0ck will definately take advantage of that tonight

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
wprager wrote:As for getting two more lucky bounces, my point was that Fleury wil be paying extra special attention to bounces off the backboards. His attention will either be divided or he will be cheating one way. Whenever something like that's on the mind of a player (especially a goalie) the opposing team's coacu could take advantage of it. How? Who knows. Maybe fake a shot to the side, then slap-pass to the other side.
I think Fleury will look at it as "that was the way Game 1 went, it won't go the same way in Game 2 and I'll just keep on playing the same".

But, we'll see...

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
Pens go up 1-0.

Lots of empty seats man! WOW! I know this is Detroit and all, but man, this is the SCF!!!

shabbs

shabbs
Hall of Famer
Hall of Famer
1-0 Pens after 1. Not a bad first period. Wings were the better team in the first half but the Pens came on at the end.

davetherave

davetherave
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All-Star
The difference in this game so far has been that the Pens were able to stave off Detroit's early surge--thanks to excellent play by Fleury--and shift the momentum their way.

While the Wings got the first seven shots, the Pens got the last eleven.

Pittsburgh, notably, has been much stronger on faceoffs; getting the puck down below the Wings' goal line; and breaking through Detroit's neutral zone trap.

Getting the 1st goal on that late PP was big.

The Pens were also able to turn back the Wings' customary 'one minute drill'.

Terrific hockey game.

:##:

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