Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sid steps up

The reports of the Penguin demise were slightly premature, Wednesday night Sidney Crosby broke out in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final to pace his Penguins on to a 3-2 victory, putting aside thoughts of a Detroit sweep and puling the Penguins to within on win of tying the series at 2-2.

Crosby erased any doubt about his ability to lead at an early age, as he played with a determination destined to rank him favourably over time as one of those players that can rise to the occasion.

Crosby accounted for two of the Pens three goals and logged a full period of hockey in the sixty minute contest, he took more hits than he made, but still managed to create enough space and find enough time to propel the puck into the Detroit end.

While team mate Evgeni Malkin had gone into a bit of a drought since the Flyer series, Crosby continued to plug away creating opportunities and finding frustration at times by a goal post, or last second deflection wide. Wednesday night he cemented his value to this team with a timely performance that should settle the Penguins down and perhaps give the NHL the marquee series that they had anticipated.

Also escaping his shell on Wednesday was Malkin, who may not have gained any points on the night, but certainly had one of his better games in recent weeks. He was once again skating effortlessly, without too much in the way of an impediment and that served to create more than enough opportunities for the Pens to have had a chance to put away the Wings early on in the game.

Most of the success on Wednesday seemed to come from a shift in the officiating, whether by design or an unconscious decision to forgo some of the smaller fouls that have routinely bogged down the games so far. Instead, there were stretches of almost pond hockey theatrics, with the two teams flying down the ice to each end rebuffed and then heading back the other way to counter another attack.

It made for some of the more enjoyable moments of hockey in the last month, as the two offensively skilled teams were allowed to showcase their speed, a trait that at times has gotten lost in the zeal to crackdown on some of the minor penalties.

It’s a fine line that the officials have to tread on in the playoffs, too much interest can bog a game down leaving the fans bored and waiting for the end, too much freedom can result in an ill tempered game that more often than not tends to swing out of control.

Wednesday they pretty well had the balance right, hopefully that will be the template for the rest of the series whether it be five games or all the way to a game seven showdown.

Globe and Mail--Penguins not satisfied with just one win
Globe and Mail--Hockey Night snubs Crosby, and viewers
Globe and Mail--Malkin's upgraded play lifts Penguins
National Post-- Crosby clutch in Penguins' Game 3 win
National Post-- Penguins find their legs
Montreal Gazette-- Desperate Pens get back in series
Canoe-- Silence is golden
CBC Sports-- Penguins hope for encore performance
Detroit News-- Babcock watches as Wings grow up
Detroit News-- Wings getting big bang for their buck with Osgood
Detroit News-- Holmstrom is not up to par, says Babcock
Detroit Free Press-- Babcock leans on Bowman for advice
Detroit Free Press-- The NHL blows it -- again
Detroit Free Press-- Good sign: Johan Franzen dominant for Wings
Detroit Free Press-- A loss: So what? Wings will still take series
Detroit Free Press-- Wings beats Pistons in Motor City ratings 18.2 to 15.9
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Crosby leads like idol Yzerman
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- O Captain
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Roberts, Pens dig deep
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-- Penguins' next goal: Build on Game 3 win
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-- Ovechkin: Wish I were in Sid's skates
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-- Crosby scores twice to carry Penguins back into series, win at home
. Stats Pack

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