Stayin Alive

The Pens got the necessary win in Game 3 last night to pull back to a 2-1 series deficit with the Red Wings.  The key was getting to the end of the 2nd period with the same 2-2 tie they started the period, because the Wings were in full kill shot mode but couldn’t get any pucks in the net.  Play equalized in the 3rd and the Pens got their second power play goal of the night to take the lead and not look back.  A few thoughts:

The Wings had a mediocre penalty kill in the regular season, and that bore itself last night with the Pens scoring on 2 of 3 chances.  Basically both times the Pens were able to maintain offensive zone pressure for 60-75 seconds  and eventually score.  On the middle power play the Wings were able to clear the zone early in the power play and the Pens complete inability to re-establish possession in the zone after it is cleared reared its ugly head again.

Speaking of power plays, there were a total of 5 for the game (the Wings going 1 of 2 on their chances) and there were almost as many examples of weak officiating.  The Wings scored their goal when Orpik was called for fouling Anthony Hopkins, er I mean Dan Cleary.  The Pens got the game winner when Sammuelson was called for interference.  And, it was a good call, but it was exactly the same play I groused about from Game 2.  I’m sure he and the Wings wondered why that play suddenly became a penalty in the middle of the 3rd period of Game 3.  And I haven’t even mentioned that sequence where the Pens had 6 plus goalie on the ice for like 15 seconds before Mark Eaton sauntered back to the bench.  Add it to the missed calls in the first two games, and its an unacceptable level of mediocrity for a Stanley Cup Final.  Hopefully it gets better pronto.

The Pens scored 3 goals with Osgood in net last night, and all 3 of them were slap shots from the high slot or point areas, and not in close.  I don’t know if that means anything or is just how Game 3 played out, but I thought it should be mentioned.

The Wings have played good defense on Crosby, but the chances have been there.  If they can just keep plugging away I think he’ll have a breakout game soon.  Game 4 figures to be critical.  If the Pens can win the game to even the series and make it a best-of-3 I frankly like their chances.  Obviously, if the Wings win and go up 3-1 their chances become excellent.  Go Pens!

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