One win’s nice, two wins are better

Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Detroit, cutting the Red Wings’ series lead to 2-1, means nothing if the Penguins don’t win on Thursday night in Game 4.

detpit

Detroit 2 — Pittsburgh 4
(Wings lead series 2-1)

Failing to tie the series would put the Penguins in the same position as least year, with barely any chance to win.  Having to sweep three games from Detroit, two of which are at Joe Louis Arena, leaves our boys barely any chance.

We all know that this series has been far different than last year.  The thing is, the differences don’t matter.  If you’re down 3-1 again, you’re still not doing what needs to be done to win.  You’re still getting outplayed.  You’re still not the better team.

But for now, it appears that the Penguins have a great chance to tie this thing up.  So much that we saw from Game 3 proves Pittsburgh can be the better team.

The Versus broadcast starts and you find out that Letang is playing, despite the rumors of him being a healthy scratch for Phillipe Boucher.  We also see that Pascal Dupuis is in the lineup again, rather than taking a chance with Petr Sykora.

Versus’ pregame show continues and you see Sidney Crosby during warmups … anyone else notice he looked more determined than ever?  The look in his eyes was scary.

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I drove three and-a-half hours from Sandusky, Ohio to watch the game on the lawn outside the arena.  I have to tell you people that if you don’t have tickets and you’re not watching the game there, you’re totally missing out.

Luckily for me, I know ‘Trumpet Guy’ (I even know his real name, the man’s true identity!) and was able to sit right up front with the people that had been camped out for hours — some since as early as 10 a.m.  The atmosphere out there is outstanding.  It’s like a pep rally for the entire game.

Mikey and Big Bob from Kiss FM threw out whiteout T-shirts on occasion and rang a goal siren for every Penguins’ goal.  The chanting was no different than what was going on inside the arena.

So we were yelling at a screen … who cares!?  There were so many people that the police blocked off the street all the way at the bottom of the hill to allow fans to sit on their chairs in the street.

Again I stress — experience watching the game out there if you haven’t already.  It’s something that makes our city the best hockey town in the country (we’ll be making a much more lengthy post about that topic once the season ends).

So the game starts and once again we’re equals.  The Pens are creating along with the Wings and you wonder who will strike first.   Max Talbot end up being the one and the Pens are up 1-0.

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Is there anything more satisfying than watching Talbot score a goal?  Everything good that comes to him, he works for.  He plays harder than any other player on the team and his success is well-deserved.

With the Pens up 1-0, nobody felt safe.  We’ve all been here before.  Everyone knew that the Wings would come back with an offensive storm.

They did …

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Zetterberg …

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… then Franzen.

Now down 2-1, the hope was that we weren’t heading down the exact same path as Games 1 & 2.  Lucky for us, the refs finally notice obstruction and call Dan Cleary for holding.

Pens power play.  You see the puck sent over to Letang and you’re thinking, ‘One-timer!’  He mishandles the pass for a second and immediately you’re disappointed.

However, Tanger regains possession and throws it at the net.  Osgood gets screened by his own man and fails to notice the puck sail right by him …

Tied 2-2 going in to the intermission felt great.  We were on level ground and weathered the Wings’ storm.  None of us knew the next 20 minutes was going to be like friggin’ Hurricane Katrina.

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If anyone has any more doubts about the play of Marc-Andre Fleury they should be shipped out of Pittsburgh.  That second period was an example of how he can steal games.  He was everywhere while his help was nowhere to be found.

14 saves … 0 goals … we’re alive.

Midway through that second period I turned to my friend Eric and said we’d be lucky to get out of the period tied.  Well, we sure as hell were lucky and now had the opportunity to utilize the third period how we wanted.

Boy did we ever.

The Pens got outshot 14-4 in the second period.  They outshot the Wings 10-3 in the third.

Osgood couldn’t hold the Pens off because of the system infront of him.  That system is based on interference and that’s exactly what was called.

Nowadays, you put the Pens on the PP and this happens …

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Gonchar baby.

Wings had chances at the end of the game, but nothing serious.

PENS WIN

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That third period shows what the Pens have in them.  It shows that they truly can dominate a period.

After their worst period of hockey all series, they had their best period of hockey all series.  It’s something the team had failed to do in the prior two games — come out and set the tone.

They did just that, and now we’re talking about possibly tying the series instead of realizing the season is pretty much over.

Some of my thoughts after the game:

  • Hal Gill looked bad, again.  He’s had problems playing up to the speed with Detroit seemingly all series.  When he actually has time, he seems to panic.  I don’t think I’d put in Boucher in for him, but it’s definitely a different Hal Gill that we’ve become used to seeing ever since he roofed that puck against Toronto in the regular season.
  • Shoot stick-side on Osgood
  • Matt Cooke was abcolutely everywhere.  I’ve never seen him have a bigger game than that.  These open-ice hits from he and Brooks Orpik are great to see.  Let’s hope they come out with that same intensity Thursday.
  • Jordan Staal is still the most frustrating player in the world.  I don’t care what the 29’er or Gover say.  He still hasn’t figured out how to utilize his size.  He gets so many chances and that’s great.  At some point he’s gotta cash in.
  • Thursday is June 4 — the exact day that Lidstrom lifted the puck on our home ice last year.  We must reverse the history of that date and send this thing back to Detroit tied!

Lastly, you better expect to hear Detroit fans whining about the too-many-men on the ice call that went uncalled.  They’ll call it unfair.

Well guess what Detroit?  We’re still waiting for our two penalty shots for Henrik Zetterberg closing his puck in the crease in both Games 1 & 2.

It’s the Finals.  Eat it.

GOD HELP THE PENS

Chris | PPT

“Avenge 6-4-08”

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