3rd period is about to begin......
The Illegal Curve Contributors are gathered at Richy P's house and are waiting in eager anticipation of the all-important, do-or-die final frame.
Detroit starts the period on the powerplay.
2:16 into the Third Period- A broken play by Pittsburgh in their own zone results in some serious Detroit pressure. The puck was bouncing around in the slot and Samuellson turns, fires, and counts his 2nd unassisted goal of the game, 4th of the playoffs.
Writer's Note: Samuelsson is clearly Johnny-on-the spot tonight. Funny, because Samuelsson is horrible and is a career 30 point player.
10:00 into the Third Period- The Wings are playing an extremely smart puck possession game and are frustrating the young Penguins. They have squeezed all the life out of Pittsburgh's young guns.
Writer's Note: Pittsburgh's excellent first period has obviously been wasted as they have played awful thus far in the third. This game has suddenly got very boring as Pittsburgh has lost all of the momentum to the upstart Red Wings. This game looks more and more like a New Jersey Devils/Anaheim Ducks Stanley Cup final series circa 2003 instead of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals Shootout that all of the hockey broadcasters were predicting. I would rather watch a re-run of Married with Children than this snoozefest. The shots are 32-18 overall in the game. WOW.
14:00 into the Third Period- Illegal Curve.com founder Richard Pollock is sick of the trap-style hockey being played by the Detroit Red Wings and switches his 61'' HDTV to Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals game between the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics.
15:26 into the Third Period- Niklas Lidstrom takes his second penalty of the game, an interference penalty.
Writer's Note: If the Penguins are going to do anything, such as scoring a goal, now would be a great time. Their power play has been horrible so far tonight and they would be wise to get something, ANYTHING, going here.
16:30 into the Third Period- Pittsburgh gets a weak shot on net that Osgood stops easily. The super-skilled Evgeni Malkin looks like Casper the Friendly Ghost out there.
17:18 into the Third Period- Wings defenseman Brad Stuart rifles the puck down the ice and a speedy Daniel Cleary gets to the puck first. He roofs a shot past a shaky Marc-Andre Fleury, scoring shorthanded for his 2nd goal of the postseason. Cleary's goal eliminates any chance the Penguins had at making a late game comeback.
Writer's Note: What was Fleury thinking there? He clearly had a terrible oportunity to play that puck and then looked unprepared for Cleary's attack.
18:08 of the Third Period- Jarkko Ruutu slashes Samuelsson in the mid section and gets a penalty.
Writer's Note: Ruutu is a moron. He was effective in the first three rounds as a tenacious grinder but that was a ridiculous penalty to take.
19:47 of the Third Period- Henrik Zetterberg scores his 12th goal of the playoffs on the power play as he wrists a beautiful shot past Fleury.
Writer's Note: This game was over a long time ago but that was the figurative nail in the coffin. What a goal by Zetterberg. If it wasn't for Samuelsson's two-goal performance, Zetterberg would be the clear favourite for 1st star of the game.
The Horn sounds. This game is over. Detroit wins 4-0 and takes Game 1 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.
Writer's Post Game Analysis: Detroit dominated this game in almost every area. The final shot count was 36-19 for Detroit and they simply did not let Pittsburgh get comfortable in their home rink. The Wings checked the Penguins effectively and didn't allow them to get any momentum from those three early period penalties. Kudos to Mikael Samuelsson who had a great game and scored goals at crucial parts of the game. Chris Osgood also deserves a mention here as he was good when he needed to be. He only faced 19 shots, but he stopped all of them, many coming on the power play. When we look back at this game, we will see a Detroit shutout, regardless if Pittsburgh fell asleep in the final two periods, which means the Wings had a better start to this series then they could have ever imagined.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Ezra Ginsburg.
Saturday, May 24, 2008