The series has finally shifted back to Pittsburgh and the players are chomping at the bit to get this one rolling! After playing back to back games in Detroit, this delay has seemed like years. The good news is that we are just under six hours from game time and the scene is set for a pretty exciting game at Mellon Arena.
The confidence is still very high in the Penguins locker room and they feel that it they play the same way that they have to this point in the series, they will be rewarded with a victory.
"You know, we're playing better, having chances and the series is not over,” said Penguins’ defenseman Sergei Gonchar. "Going into this series we knew it wouldn't be easy – we're playing against a great team and we knew it was going to be tough so the series is not over and that's why we're not frustrated and we keep playing and doing the same thing,"
That has been the attitude of most of the Penguins as they bring a 2-0 deficit back with them to Mellon Arena. There is no panic in this group and they still feel that with a break or two they might have won one or both of the games in Detroit.
"I wouldn't change anything. You beat the goalie a couple of times and the puck lays in the crease or it lands on his back and stays there, there's not much you can do about that," said Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby. "Playoffs are low-scoring, that's the way it is. It's a challenge for everybody. It hasn't been for a lack of chances, we just haven't got the breaks. If we get those same chances here tonight, I like our chances of winning. So, we'll stick with things."
Crosby is right about scoring chances…things would be a lot different if the team wasn’t generating chances, but they have gotten themselves quite a few quality scoring chances in this series. He and Evgeni Malkin has combined for 17 shots in the two games thus far and they feel those chances will start to turn into goals soon.
Both teams took to the ice this morning at Mellon Arena and there could be a couple of line-up changes for each team.
Penguins’ killer Mikael Samuelsson did not participate in the morning skate due to an undisclosed injury. If he were unable to go, Kris Draper would get the call. Draper told reporters that he is going to prepare as if he will be in the line-up.
Pavel Datsyuk, who has yet to play in the Final, took the ice today and skated. Head coach Mike Babcock said that he wasn’t sure he would go this evening, however, that could change for game four.
"I don't assume that affects today's game whatsoever but it could really affect (Game 4),” said Babcock.
As for the Penguins, they will most likely go with the same group of forwards that skated in game two…how about the defense?
Philippe Boucher was a much bigger part of practice than he had been. There is talk that he could be reinserted into the line-up. I didn’t feel that he should have been scratched for game two, as he had been doing a great job transitioning the puck and manning the point on the power play. It could be Kris Letang on the hot seat after he had some trouble controlling the puck in the first two games in Detroit.
Though the games haven’t been played the exact same way, the series has pretty much followed the script from last season. If that is again the case tonight, the Penguins will win on home ice making it a 2-1 series, giving themselves a chance to tie it up on Thursday. Time will tell if they can begin a rewrite or if this will end up being the same old story…
Congratulations to Dave Molinari!
Congratulations Dave Molinari! The long time Penguins beat reporter was recognized by the NHL Hall of Fame with the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for print journalism. I grew up reading Dave’s coverage of the Pittsburgh Penguins and it has been a blast to stand shoulder to shoulder with him over the past three seasons covering this team.
The Penguins and Red Wings are meeting in the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive season, marking the first time two teams have met in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals since the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers in 1983 & 84.
The Red Wings have outscored the Penguins 23 to 12 in eight career post-season games.
The Penguins are 2-6 all-time versus the Red Wings in the playoffs, including a 1-2 mark at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins have compiled a 58-60-16 all-time regular season record against Detroit, including a 44-19-4 mark at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins are making their fourth Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history. The Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 (Minnesota North Stars) & 1992 (Chicago Blackhawks). The Penguins were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings in six games during the 2008 Stanley Cup Final.
The Penguins became the first team in the Eastern Conference since the 2000-2001 New Jersey Devils to appear in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals.
The Red Wings outscored the Penguins nine to seven in two regular season games.
Jordan Staal led all scorers with four points (3G-1A) in two regular season games versus Detroit.
Pavel Datsyuk led all Red Wings with three goals in two games versus Pittsburgh during the regular season.
Marc-Andre Fleury was 1-1 with a 3.38 goals-against average in two appearances versus the Red Wings during the regular season.
Penguins Youtube of the Day:
The Penguins roar back against the Wings to take a 7-6 overtime win, after trailing 5-2. Jordan Staal notches a hat trick and an assist to lead the way…
Just saw some folks breaking this out as well today...figured a little Herbie never hurt anyone! Here's hoping it is the Penguins TIME!