Stanley Cup Final Gm 3: Crosby Show Extends Season; Red Wings D Finally Breached

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Stanley Cup Final Gm 3: Crosby Show Extends Season; Red Wings D Finally Breached

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

 

With the Detroit Red Wings’ dominating play two games into the Stanley Cup Finals it looked like the Pittsburgh Penguins were in a insurmountable hole. But the series went to Pittsburgh’s “Igloo” for Game Three, where they were undefeated since February.

 

There the home crowd dressed in a full force of white shirts to contrast with Detroit’s red. Backed by 17,132, of their screaming standing-room-only fans. The Penguins finally found their game as they carved out a much-needed 3-2 win, making the championship series 2-1.

 

The Penguins skated fast, they hit hard, and they fired shots on net. They possessed the puck and created plays in the offensive zone.

 

All that extra effort paid off with 2:35 remaining in the opening period, when captain Sidney Crosby took advantage of a turnover by Detroit’s Brad Stuart in front of the Red Wings goal. Crosby deftly passed to teammate Marian Hossa, whose shot rebounded back to Crosby. Crosby scored to have his first goal of the Stanley Cup Finals. That was also the first goal this series for the Penguins, who were shutout for the first 153 minutes by Detroit goalie Chris Osgood; setting an NHL playoff record.

 

This is Crosby’s first year as captain, being the youngest to be named to the position in NHL history as a 19-year old. Marian Hossa was a trade-deadline acquisition from the Atlanta Thrashers, who’s provided more offensive resources for a team that often relies on Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, another young star sniper.

 

The battles continued in the second period, as Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom had his lip bloodied up, which gave some color streaks to his white towel. Crosby also added to the physicality exchanging shoves with Detroit’s Kris Draper.

 

Sidney Crosby scored his second goal on his second shot of the game with 17:32 remaining in the second period after a cohesive team effort. Teammate Malkin took a neck-lashing hit to get the puck to defenseman Sergei Gonchar back at the blueline, who in turn rocketed it past traffic and on the net. Ryan Malone then took the puck and shot at point-blank range against Detroit goalie Osgood. Osgood reacted quickly enough for a save, but Hossa took the rebound and slid it to an open Crosby. Crosby was in position behind Osgood and an unprotected part of the net, easily putting the puck in, giving the Penguins a 2-0 lead.

By this time, the home crowd had begun to taunt Detroit’s goalie with patronizing chants of “Osgooood! Osgooood! Osgooood!” Even as the Penguins continued to play with fire in their souls, the top-ranked regular season Detroit team continued their strong counterattacks.

 

The Red Wings came close to getting on the scoreboard with a power play attempt at 10:34, with Johan Franzen knocking in a rebound past sprawled Penguins’ goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. But officials quickly ruled it a no-goal, as the net was knocked off its moorings before the puck entered.

 

With 5:12 remaining in the second period, the Red Wings finally breached the Penguins’ defense on another power play. Detroit’s Franzen rushed down the side of the offensive zone, then deked the puck past defender Rob Scuderi before Franzen roofed a goal past Fleury at point-blank range.

 

The Penguins’ lead was now cut in half, 2-1. The period ended with the total shots on goal being barely in the Penguins’ favor, 19-18.

 

Neither team let up in the final period. Four minutes into it the Penguins put up two golden opportunities when Hossa hit the post after a wraparound move from behind the net. In the ensuing scramble, Crosby fired the puck and it trickled past goalie Osgood. Osgood barely grabbed onto it before it reached the goal line.

 

At the 12:42 remaining mark, the Penguins sacrificed their bodies for rattling hits against the Red Wings to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Penguin Maxime Talbot passed to the front slot, where teammate Adam Hall took a shot. It failed to go in, but Hall rushed behind the net to grab the rebound and banked it off the back of goalie Chris Osgood. Penguins now led 3-1.

 

Play continued with constant body checks and scrambles along the boards, as play constantly shifted back-and-forth on the two sides of the rink. The arena crowd had become so loud at this point, that coaches had to resort to screaming at their players to communicate.

 

With 6:23 remaining in the game, the Red Wings smoothly cycled the puck around the Penguins’ zone before Mikael Samuelsson scored against a screened Fleury. The Penguins now barely held onto the lead, 3-2, and their crowd was silenced.

 

Attempting to take advantage of the momentum shift, Detroitcommenced their surge by peppering Fleury with shots for the next few minutes. The Penguins Malkin had bad timing in getting penalized for hooking with 4:18 left in the game. However, the defense stepped up and managed to limit the Red Wings to only one shot during that power play.

 

With 2:07 remaining in the game, Crosby led an odd-man rush at the Red Wings’ net, his shot went wide, as the defense pushed him to the outer perimeter. The game wound down to 1:30 left with Detroitcontinuing to pepper shots at Penguin’s Fleury. The Penguins managed to keep the Red Wings in their own defensive zone as the clock counted 40 seconds left.

 

With 25 seconds to go, the Red Wings finally charged up with the puck, leaving goalie Osgood to go to the bench for an extra shooter. The home crowd screamed and waved their towels harder as their Penguins tried to get the puck out of their zone with 8 seconds to go.

 

With 3 seconds left, they finally dumped it out of their zone, securing their win and making it a 2-1 series. As the buzzer went off and confetti fell from the Mellon Arena’s ceiling, the Penguins finally found themselves back in contention for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

 

Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals will be broadcast on Saturday, May 31 at 8 pm Eastern Time. NBC will be providing coverage in the US, while Canada will have the CBC. Visit NHL.com for a complete schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

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