Secondary scoring is key to lengthy playoff runs.
If you run over the scoresheet from Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, you'll happen to notice the Detroit Red Wings did not get goals from Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen, or even Nicklas Lidstrom.
Jonathan Ericsson, Valterri Filpuula, and Justin Abdelkader all notched a tally for Detroit tonight. That makes two goals in two games for former Michigan State Spartan, Abdelkader. What a way to start off your very young and what appears to be a promising playoff career.
The Detroit Red Wings have seen several great storylines play out this postseason.
The raw speed and talent possessed by Darren Helm, who GM Ken Holland noted would be a full-time Red Wings next season, Jonathan Ericsson standing strong on the blueline and performing admirably with Andreas Lilja injured, Valterri Filpuula becoming a setup machine in these playoffs who is in the right place at the right time, Dan Cleary going on a scoring tear through both the Anaheim and Chicago series, and even Chris Osgood; who has had one of his worst statistical seasons to date, has stood the playoff test of time.
"It's the best I've ever seen him play," proclaimed venerable soon-to-be Hall of Famer, Captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
Pavel Datsyuk, a Hart and Selke Trophy finalists, has not performed anywhere near where he should be, but impressive play from Filpuula, Cleary, Abdelkader, Ericsson, and many others have proven to be a viable fill-in during Datsyuk's slump and time out with a foot injury.
But back to the game, Pittsburgh scored their only goal as they normally do, in traffic, off of a rebound, in an ugly manner.
Detroit has been successful because they have not only dominated a majority of the six periods so far, but they have been getting those bounces that made Pittsburgh so fortunate throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
But then Detroit scored, and scored again. Oh wait, Abdelkader picked up his second goal in as many games to give Detroit a 3-1 lead again, deja vu?
Sure as hell seems like it.
Fast forward to the last half minute of the game.
Pittsburgh is scrambling to put shots on Chris Osgood. They do so, grab their own rebound and Malkin fires a wrist shot on Osgood. He gloves it, only to have Maxime Talbot proceed to spear Osgood's glove hand and stomach region. Osgood embellished the play a bit, but what Talbot did was a penalty.
Justly so, Brad Stuart and Henrik Zetterberg shoved Talbot and gave him the business to the side of the net. As Zetterberg shoved Talbot, in comes Malkin swinging at Zetterberg pulling him away from the scrum, only to start throwing punches at Zetterberg's head, while Malkin's stick remained in his hand.
Malkin did land a few punches, but Zetterberg gained control only to have the referee attempt to contain him. This is happening while Malkin is still swinging his fists at Zetterberg.
I may be a bit biased, as I have never like Sidney Crosby, or the Penguins for that matter.
The Red Wings beat them with Hossa last year, signed him this season, and for that reason enough, was motivation to hand the Penguins their walking papers. But the display put on tonight, of classless, bush league hockey is despicable. I always liked Malkin, but tonight, he lost my respect. He looked like a headcase out there, swinging at Zetterberg while his stick was still in his hand.
The sight of seeing Crosby hunched over sitting on the ice in tears again was motivation enough to root the Wings on. But now, after tonight, and that disgusting display of "sending a message" or "lighting a fire," or whatever the hell you want to call it, it got that much more serious.
I hope Malkin skates with his head up at all times, because you can beat Niklas Kronwall and Stuart are invisioning a bullseye right where that Penguins logo once was.
I had previously picked the Red Wings in five, but to hell with that now.
It would make it that much sweeter to go into Mellon Arena, and walk out with the Cup after a game on Pittsburgh's home ice for the second straight year.
So, I'm sorry Sid the Kid, Gino just signed a death sentence for himself, and the rest of you cowardly, flightless birds.
Chris Osgood, I'm glad you'll be getting that Conn Smythe trophy this year.
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