Red Wings-Penguins: Detroit Leads 1-0—No Need for Panic, Pittsburgh

Eric NaughtonCorrespondent IMay 31, 2009

DETROIT - MAY 30:  Kirk Maltby #18 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates the goal of teammate Justin Abdelkader #8 in the third period against Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game 1 of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on May 30, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Penguins lost their first game to the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Detroit Red Wings. The score was 3-1 and, unlike Game One in 2008, most people have rated it an extremely even match decided by bounces.

With Detroit leading the series 1-0, now is not the time to panic.

In round one of this year, the home team won the first game in six out of eight series.

Carolina managed to split the first two games in New Jersey and went on to beat the higher seeded club in seven games.  

Anaheim proved to be the giant killers, taking the first two games at San Jose and knocking out the number one seed in six games.

The Rangers were able to beat the Capitals in Washington to take a 2-0 lead in the series. The Caps then clawed their way to a victory at home in Game Seven to advance to the next round.

In round two, the home team won the first game in all four matchups.

Carolina again split the first two games, this time in Boston. The 'Canes again defeated the higher seeded club in seven games and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

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Washington won both of their first two home games against Pittsburgh, but eventually fell to the lower seeded Penguins.

Detroit split their opening home games with Anaheim, who forced a game seven. The Wings prevailed at home over the Ducks in the decisive game.

Chicago and Vancouver also split their first two games in the Canucks' barn. This time, the underdog Blackhawks took only six games to move on to the Western Conference Finals.

In round three, Detroit and Pittsburgh both dominated their opponents winning their home openers, dispatching their opponents in four and five games, respectively.

So, it would seem that the home team winning Game One is to be expected.

Out of 14 first games, the home team won 12 times and the away team won only twice. Out of all the second games, the teams in colored sweaters won eight times and the teams in white won six times.

Statistically, it's less certain that the home team wins Game Two.

Five out of the 14 series have been won by the underdog. In three of those five series, the first two games were split, with a win for the home team followed by a win for the away team. Three of those underdog wins happened in round two, making that round dominated by the lower seeded teams.

So, maybe the odds don't seem so great for Pittsburgh as the first game winner has overwhelmingly won their respective series.

However, if Pittsburgh manages to win Game Two, their chances of winning the series goes up. Also consider that Pittsburgh is the only lower seed to win a series after losing the first two games away.

I have no advice for the Penguins, in fact, if they needed advice they would not be where they are right now. They know they need to win game two to give themselves the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup.

My advice to Penguins fans is merely this: Don't panic.