Sunday, June 01, 2008

One more sleep until a celebration?

They can feel it in the air in the Motor city, with the Red Wings heading home for game five and the possibility of bringing an end to the 2007-08 hockey season.

Detroit came one step closer to holding Stanley up high, with a convincing 2-1 victory Saturday night over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For all their good efforts of last Thursday, the Pens came up sloppy on Saturday, providing far too many scoring chances for a Detroit team that doesn't need that much in the way of assistance. And while the scoring was low on Saturday, the Wings secured the required one extra goal, to leave Pittsburgh desperate to reverse a series lead of 3 games to one in favour of Detroit.

Pittsburgh had gotten off to a solid start, taking the lead on a Marian Hossa goal, a short lived advantage that was countered less than four minutes later when Nicklas Lidstrom tied the game up with a blistering shot into a top corner.

The two teams traded off opportunities in a scoreless second period, with the Wings finally taking the lead for good when Jiri Hudler put away a go ahead goal in the early stages of the third period, while the Pens mounted an admirable response as the waning moments of the period counted down, they couldn't steer one by the solid goal tending of Chris Osgood.

One of the key elements of the Penguins game on Saturday was their inability to connect on more than one of their six power play opportunities, a situation that has left both coach Michel Terrien and the rest of the Penguins rather frustrated of late.

With the loss, the Pens have put themselves into a deep hole, leaving no room for error and requiring three consecutive games (if they can last that long) of leaving everything on the ice.

Pittsburgh which has been running more cold than hot since the Stanley cup final got underway may have already claimed their moral victory with their game three victory, Monday may put a wrap on a remarkable season or set the stage for one more twist in their climb back into the top rung of the NHL.

For Detroit, a team that was so tantalizingly close to the term Dynasty in the last ten years, Monday provides the chance to reward the home town crowd with yet another Stanley Cup celebration and return to the status of the best that the NHL has to offer.

Globe and Mail-- Red Wings close in on Cup
Sun Media-- Mellon-choly Pens
Pittsburgh Post Gazette-- Power play more like power outage
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Penguins role players watch, wait
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Penguins running out of time
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Crosby's playing time an issue
. Pack

No comments: