On Sunday, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 to go up 2-0 in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final. Even though in last season's Final, when the Wings went up 2-0, the Pens hadn't scored yet.
However, in this year's version of the matchup, the Red Wings look even more dominating.
Without Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper in the lineup in the Final, the Wings have turned to their young guns.
Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, and Ville Leino have filled in well in relief. These three, who have spent the majority of their Wings' careers with Grand Rapids, have used the playoffs as their time to prove why they should be wearing the Winged Wheel.
The Pens did score first on a quirky play by Evgeni Malkin. With less than four minutes to go in the first period, Malkin shot a puck into the crease. A scrum had formed which led to both Brad Stuart and Chris Osgood in the crease.
Stuart swung at the loose puck and it popped out to Malkin again. He shot it to the scrum and, in an attempt to shoot the puck back out, Stuart's next shot actually caused the puck to go backwards into the Detroit net.
However, it would be the only score for the Pens as Osgood shut them down again. His play has been the best performance by any one player on the Wings in these playoffs.
After such a tough regular season, Osgood has been a wall of consistent play.
The tying goal for Detroit was four minutes into the second period via a slap-shot by Jonathan Ericsson after a face-off by Darren Helm in the Pittsburgh zone. Helm won the face-off and the puck got to Jiri Hudler who then passed to Ericsson.
Helm skated to the net to do his Holmstrom imitation.
Just as he planted himself in front of Marc-Andre Fleury, the puck was already in the net. The goal is pretty impressive for someone who had his appendix removed only a few days prior.
The second goal by the Wings was scored six minutes later by Valtteri Filpula on a rebound after a scrum formed in front of the net. Tomas Holmstrom was greeted by a check from Malkin to knock him down in front of Fleury. The act of intimidation left Filpula alone when the puck came to him by Fleury's stick side.
There was also some talk of the broken stick that Hossa caused on Pascal Dupris, which allowed for him to shoot it freely at the net.
The broken stick debate is becoming the "in the crease" for this year.
The common school of thought is that if a player swings hard enough to break his own stick when tussling, he is penalized.
When a player swings hard enough to break the other player's stick when tussling, he is penalized.
In truth, the shafts of the sticks these days are a hollow and light composite that easily breaks. Therefore, in the offseason, the refs and league need to revisit the issue to determine if and when the breaking of the stick is either with intent to injure or with intent to rob another player of his stick.
About two minutes in the third period to finish off the scoring, Justin Abdelkader skated in alone facing three Pittsburgh players. Their defense on him lead to a bouncing puck that Abdelkader was in danger of losing.
In a desperate attempt not to lose the zone, he shot the bouncing puck toward Fleury. It came in off-speed and when Fleury tried to glove it, missed.
The game, however, ended on a note of great debate.
With less than a minute left in the game, Malkin went after Zetterberg in front of the Pens' net. The move was similar to the Ducks' strategy of getting into it with the Detroit players after each game of their series.
However, Malkin's attempt at fighting was scary.
As he was still holding his own stick, he was swinging at Zetterberg.
Eventually both sweaters were pulled off and both players were escorted off. In the rules it states if a player is tossed from the game with so little time left, he is supposed to be suspended for the next game.
However, the league changed their own rules.
The debate rages on that the Pens are getting favoritism. By not having Malkin the Pens have no chance, however by having him play in the next game, it keeps the memory of his attack on Zetterberg fresh in the Wings players' minds.
The Red Wings are in the driver's seat as they head off to Pittsburgh for the next two games. Datsyuk and Draper will hopefully be back.
The call-ups from Grand Rapids are playing out of their minds.
Mellon Arena will once again be a madhouse as the series moves back there. Last season's Final did go six games in part from Mellon Arena and it also ended there.