Monday, June 01, 2009

Flustered, frustrated Pens seek answers...

The script seemed the same for game two, the Pittsburgh Penguins had more than enough chances to score, more than enough opportunity to run away with game two but in the end it was the Red Wings with the W, the Red Wings with the 2-0 lead in games and the Red Wings who now can rest for a day, ready to re-energize and torment the Pens in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh hit posts, swept the puck across the goal mouth and rattled sure shots wide on Sunday, a frustrating change of fortune that threatens to make their dream of knocking off the Stanley Cup champions a nightmare.

Once again, it was a soft goal in the Pittsburgh end of the rink that seemed to take all the air out of what was a ferocious attack, one which surely the Hockey Gods must have been ready to reward with a goal or two for a win.

In what is becoming an almost regular diversion, Pittsburgh Marc Andre Fleury let in a key goal at the very wrong time. These soft goals are going to be the death of the Pens Cup hopes unless the Penguin goal tender can get a focus on them before game four has played itself out.

While the goals have proven to be a momentum changer for sure, the uncanny bad luck around the Red Wing net is also proving to be the story. Whether it's a Crosby, a Malkin or a Geurin, the puck just refuses to find the back of the net on most occasions.

On Sunday, Sidney Crosby had two chances on the same play to score a goal, the first saw his shot bounce off the far post only to eventually end up back on his stick, where a second attempt also met with failure as the Red Wings swarmed the goal line to keep the puck from crossing the line.

It's a scenario that has played itself out for two games so far, desperate Penguin shots that should go in the net, find a way to avoid being tallied for goals. A situation that is clearly starting to frustrate the Pens.

While Detroit are full value for their wins, with all hands providing for scoring and defensive play, not to mention the stellar goal tending from Chris Osgood, the Pens seem to be flirting with some bad karma (maybe they shouldn't have picked up that trophy after all). As despite controlling the flow of play for major portions of the game, they continue to struggle when it comes to closing the deal.
For the second straight night, it was an unheralded Red Wing who secured the insurance marker for the Wings, as Justin Abdelkader suddenly finds that his name is soon to be one of the most mentioned ones on Detroit's sports talk shows.

However, besides having to worry about rookies adding to their stats, unless the Pens can find a way to get pucks past Chris Osgood there seems a very good chance that this Stanley Cup final will be a very short lived final few games. While it's never desperation time until you've played your first home game, the third installment of the Stanley Cup final is certainly going to feature the atmosphere of a can't lose game.

They most likely have been short changed in the lucky bounces category for two games now, perhaps if the stars line up correctly on Tuesday night, the Pens might yet get into the final push for their shot for Stanley.

Globe and Mail-- Malkin avoids suspension

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