Saturday, June 06, 2009

Shutdown in Hockeytown…

When we last left the Pittsburgh Penguins, they had bounced back from a two game deficit and had tied up their best of seven series with Detroit in a convincing fashion.

Thursday night’s game provided some strong indications that the youthful Pens, rested as they were, seemed more than ready to finally take control of the series. The Wings looked old, weary and incapable of keeping up. For many it was the final indication that time was catching up to Detroit that their reign atop the NHL was at an end.

That was but two days ago, Saturday night the Wings responded to that challenge from the Penguins of last week. An overwhelming measure of control on Saturday let to the Wings five to nothing victory, and reminded all just why they were the “defending” Stanley Cup champions.

Detroit put the emphasis on scoring for the Hockeytown faithful, collecting their eleventh goal in three home games in this series; by comparison the Pens have managed to find the net behind Chris Osgood but twice so far while playing in the Motor city.

The Wings re-introduced Pavel Datsyuk to the Stanley Cup audience, the Red Wings centre returned to playoff action with a vengeance, not showing any noticeable after affects from his foot injury and picking up two assists as part of the Wings overwhelming attack on the night, an added worry suddenly pencilled in for the Penguins.

Pittsburgh sewed more than a few of their own seeds for self destruction, with a frequent parade to the penalty box, providing the wings with three of their five goals of the night, the Pens simply lost their composure, a trait that is not rewarded well when up against the firepower that the Wings bring into a game.

Goaltending once again proved to provide a troublesome trend, with Marc Andre Fleury looking more like the guy from games one and two than three and four, if the Pens are to have any hope in this series they need the fellow that showed up for games three and four to finish off the series for them.

Likewise, the stars on the Pens need to get back on track. Game four showcased Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, with a dash of Maxime Talbot for good measure. Key players on the Pens roster, all of whom seemed to be lost on Saturday, Talbot going so far as to seek a lengthy break from the festivities with a ten minute major. Malkin and Crosby, while not banished to the dressing room, were largely invisible in game five, the need to get both involved in game six is vital, otherwise there more than likely will not be a game seven.

Globe and Mail-- Wings now one win away

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