Stanley Cup Finals: Pittsburgh's Keys to a Game Three Victory
The Penguins are in quite the predicament.
Down 2-0 in their best of seven Stanley Cup Final series with the Detroit Red Wings, the Pens went into Hockeytown and were promptly embarrassed with back-to-back shutouts.
Many things can be attributed to the Pens failures in the initial two games of this series, but those have been talked about enough. The question is "what do the Pens need to do to get themselves back into the series?"
Well, the easy answer is simply to outwork the Wings. Hustle can take you a long way. Just look at the Flyers.
But more specifically, what do the Pens need to do to solve their offensive woes and Chris Osgood in general?
Well, for starters, don't let Osgood get a good look at shots. The general rule of thumb with goalies is that they can't stop what they can't see. Perhaps mix lines up to get bigger bodies in front of the net and let the point men drop bombs. This should be how the power play runs.
Secondly, as far as Osgood goes, keep him moving. It is much harder for a goaltender to make a stop when he's constantly moving side to side. Work the puck down low and have the far side winger creep towards the slot/back door and try to feed him.
If all else fails, just put the puck on net! We're taught this as peewees, but nothing bad can happen when you put the puck on net. It could go off a skate, leg, stick, or just take a funky bounce. It doesn't matter how pretty the goal looks, just that it ends up on the scoreboard.
Against the defense, the key is to keep their feet moving and fight through all checks. If you keep your feet churning, you're bound the draw a penalty and the Pens power play can change a game.
Defensively, they haven't played badly but tweaks can be made. The Pens need to finish their checks, make them think whenever they have the puck. Don't take any ill-advised chances trying to keep the puck in the Wings' zone.
And one of the most important keys is Marc-Andre Fleury. He's let in a few soft goals thus far and needs to return to the form he displayed in the first three rounds of the playoffs. He's very capable of out-dueling Osgood and he really needs to do that to give his team the best shot at winning.
I may be right, I may be wrong. All I know is that I hope the Pens make this a series and give us that epic battle we were all hoping for.
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