2008 NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Detroit Hot Wings, Anyone?

Steven CulpsCorrespondent IJune 1, 2008

The Red Wings delivered a 2-1 win in Pittsburgh to open a 3 to 1 series lead on the Pens on Saturday Night.

Henrik Zetterburg may have locked up the Conn Smythe Trophy with his performance in Game 4 for Stanley Cup Finals.

Zetterburg and his linemates fended off a 5 on 3 powerplay with 9:50 to go in the third period while the Wings were clinging to a one-goal lead. Zetterberg essentially locked up the Pens captain Sidney Crosby during the powerplay, and was able to possess the puck after clearing an errant pass from Evgeni Malkin. Zetterburg even managed a shorthanded shot off to effectively kill the 2-man advantage.

His performance apparently drew the ire of Crosby, as Crosby proceed to attempt to yell and skate in the general direction of Zetterburg after the final horn had sounded. Zetterburg said, in his post-game interview, that he did not notice what Crosby had said in the near confrontation, which required some minimal referee assistance to restrain Crosby.

Zetterburg had always been known as an offensive threat, but in this series, and in this particular game, light has been shed onto his defensive abilities, showing on a world stage he is a complete 2-way player.

Chris Osgood had another outstanding playoff performance, making 22 saves, including key saves on quality chances down the stretch. The change made in the first round against Nashville to put Osgood in place of Dominic Hasek is now paying huge dividends and is proving to be one of the best strategic moves made in the context of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I'm sure Mike Babcock couldn't be more pleased.

The Wings have set the pace with continued physical play by the defense, most notably Niklas Kronwall and his open-ice checks, by the forecheck, and in front of Penguins goal crease. Daniel Cleary's work and tenacity in front of the crease set up Nick Lidstrom's goal in the 1st Period to tie the score at 1-1 in Game 4.

The Pens had been hoping the increased chippy play from Game 2 would continue in order to get The Wings to penalty situations. That strategy has not seemed to work as well as they anticipated as The Pens were 1 for 3 on the the man advantage in Game 3 and only 1 for 5 in Game 4, including the previously mentioned 5 on 3 penalty kill in the 3rd.

The Red Wings are now clearly the best team in the series, controlling the action and are beginning to get into the heads of the Pens on-ice leadership. The Wings now have control of this series and, with the Wings' continued great play, the Cup should come back home to Hockeytown on Monday Night.

Game 5 is live from Detroit at 8:00 PM Monday on NBC.