Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals went the way a lot of people thought it would. The Penguins came out fresh and energetic, while the Red Wings showed they could have used another day or two of rest.
The Wings were the victim of being out-shot for the first time in a long time, but were still able to pull off a 3-1 victory over the Penguins in Game One.
The Red Wings win Game One.
Some may choose to call it "luck" some may choose to call them "bounces", but I much prefer the term "home-ice advantage". Both teams are fully aware of the lively boards at Joe Louis Arena, but the Red Wings are excellent at using them.
They scored their first goal on a shot purposely shot wide that happened to bounce behind Penguin goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The fact it bounced in off Fleury the way it did was luck, but the fact Stuart's shot went wide was not.
Franzen scored another goal off of Fleury that may have been a little more luck than the first goal, but Dan Cleary just as well could have scored the goal had it not been kicked in by Fleury. Again, this was a result of a bank pass off the end-board.
Justin Abdelkader scored his first career NHL goal on a "trick shot", where he passed it off the post to himself, back into his glove, laid it down onto the ice and shot it into the net...okay, maybe that was a lucky bounce.
The Wings played pretty well overall, especially on the penalty kill, not allowing a powerplay goal for the first time in 12 games. Even strength, despite a few mental gaffs, the Wings looked effective.
Osgood looked sharp as a tack, making a huge stop on Evgani Malkin, and holding the Pens to one goal.
Zetterberg was like the Anti-Snuggie to Sidney Crosby. Wherever Sid went, Zetterberg was sure to follow, but unlike a snuggie, Crosby's hands were not free.
Crosby ended up minus one and only took two shots, leading me to believe that once again, Crosby will not be a factor in this series until the Pens play at home, where he can escape "Zetterblanket".
As for the Penguins, They showed (as advertised), that they are a much more mature team this year. Coming out in the first two periods and carrying the play much of the game, the Penguins didn't look nervous or shell shocked this time.
In fact, if you ignored the actual score and looked at the rest of the stats, you could make a pretty convincing argument that they won the game.
Despite giving up three goals, Fleury played well enough to win—the end-boards were just too much for him to handle.
Game Two is Sunday at 8 pm, only 21 hours after the end of Game One. The quick turn-around will be the biggest story line in tonight's game. The Penguins earned an extra day of rest after sweeping the Hurricanes, so they should be the fresher of two teams.
Helping the Red Wings cause could be the liberty of their fourth line playing some extended minutes in Game One, giving their top players a little bit of a break.
Should be a barn burner, enjoy!