Surprise, surprise, surprise! Sounds kind of like Gomer Pyle. The Detroit Red Wings took Game 1, 4-0, over the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night, and took a 1-0 series lead in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.
Are you surprised? Shocked? Bewildered? Well, you shouldn't be. In watching the Red Wings almost completely dominate the Pens, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
And now for the play-by-play...
Detroit played their usual stifling game after gaining a 2-0 lead early in the third period. But let's not jump ahead of ourselves. The first real surprise of the game came at the end of the first period.
No scoring happened and it seemed like both teams were playing tentative hockey, just testing the waters (ice), as it were. And then came the shocker. When the stats for the first period were annonced, Pittsburgh managed more shots on goal than Detroit.
That could be chalked up to the number of penalties the Wings received. Detroit had four penalties in the first period. The pinnacle one being a goaltender interference call on Tomas Holmstrom.
Nicklas Lidstrom took a slap shot from the left circle. Penguin netminder Marc-Andres Fleury moved out of his crease area and Holmstrom stick went in between his pads. Lidstrom scored but the refs nullified the goal and put Holmstrom in the box. But let's not dwell on the negative.
Mikael Samuelsson of the Wings scored Detroit's first two goal in the series. The first one in the second period on a beautiful wrap-around shot and the second, in the third period on a snap-shot right in front of Fleury, giving Detroit a 2-0 lead. And now for surprise number two.
Lidstrom, in the third period, went to the penalty box for the second time in the game for interference. His first penalty was during the first period when he was called for hooking. Lidstrom is rarely in the box at all during the season, let alone twice in a game. C'mon heart start going again.
Dan Cleary scored Detroit's third goal during a Penguin power play. He grabbed a rebound off the boards to the left of Fleury and backhanded it passed him. Exactly what Detroit needed, another short-handed goal. Surprise! The surprise was that it wasn't Henrik Zetterberg that scored it.
However, Zetterberg did make his mark for the day. With 13 seconds left in the game, he scored a power play goal giving the Red Wings a one game advantage over Pittsburgh.
Chris Osgood was his usual spectacular self in goal for Detroit, recording his second shutout during these playoffs. He stopped 19 of 19 shots by the Pens and the Wings kept them to only seven shots total in the second and third periods. And then there was Niklas Kronwall.
The man is just a thumper on the ice. Some of the hits he leveled on the Penguins could be felt all the way down here in Okieland.
And the surprises are never-ending...
Pavel Datsyuk, the second half of Detroit's "Dynamic Duo," just didn't seem on his game. He seemed to give the puck away a lot and his passes weren't as crisp as they usually are. Let's see how he fairs tonight in Game 2 at 8pm EDT (7 p.m. CDT). Let's all hope that it was just his "glitch for this mission."
Datsyuk is one of the most amazing players that has ever laced up a pair of skates. Don't believe it? Look at his highlight reels and stats for the past few years. Some of his abilities on the ice defy gravity.
Mr. Datsyuk, a word if you may. No surprises tonight. Just go out there and play your normal spectacular game. The hearts of Hockeytown won't be able to take it again.
Back in the saddle, again...
It's nice to be back and able to write again. There have been so many left turns lately that it's like going in circles all the time. Dizzying, ain't it? Like spinning your wheels in life. However, things will straighten up soon and you probably don't want to or need to hear about it.
As far as Game 1 went, let's just say it was pretty much all Red Wings with a little of the Penguins thrown in there to make it interesting. The more the game progressed, the stronger Detroit looked on the ice. And unless the Wings just have a meltdown, they should be bringing Lord Stanley's Cup back to Hockeytown.