Wings Tighten Up Defensively, Pens Lose Composure

One win away. Say it with me, "One. win. away." 

Last night's game was particularly satisfying to me, not just because we spanked the Pens but becaue of how we did it. The defense showed up to play, we got under their skin and forced bad penalties that resulted in powerplay goals, our PK was perfect, and Pavel Datsyuk returned to the lineup and had an impact. 

 

  • The fact that the defense showed up to play made Osgood's night all that much easier. Don't get me wrong, he had to make some great saves but the defense limited the Pittsburgh opportunities and the 0 goals allowed Osgood posted surely will help his confidence heading into Game 6. The defense only got better after the initial flurry that Osgood faced in the first period.
  • Pittsburgh took some pretty awful and unnecessary penalties last night and it came back to haunt them 3 times. Chris Kunitz roughing of Darren Helm, Crosby's two handed whack on Zetterberg, Talbot's slash at Datsyuk's foot, Malkin's crosscheck to Franzen's back, and the numerous misconducts at the end of the game showed how the Pens unraveled. If the Wings were able to survive the rough play of the Ducks (the league's elite in the category) without being rattled, what makes the Pens think they'll be able to ratlle Detroit with play like that?
  • Who would have thought that Niklas Kronwall and Brian Rafalski would have scored 2 of the 3 powerplay goals without much help? Kronwall's goal was more surprising as he took the puck from behind Fleury's net (what?) and skated through the Pittsburgh D with ease and lifted a relatively weak shot past Fleury for a 3-0 Wings lead. Rafalski's goal was the result of Holmstrom's screen. Rafalski ripped a wrist shot past Fleury for a 4-0 Wings lead only 2:15 after Kronwall's goal.
  • The Wings penalty kill also played really well last night as they filled the passing lanes, forced turnovers, and cleared the zone quickly. Not much to this breakdown other than the PK Unit played much better than before and didn't have as much pressure as before.
  • The return of Datsyuk seemed to have an immediate impact on the energy level of the team and the defensive side of the puck as Datsyuk was paired with Zetterberg for most of the night and helped to relieve the pressure Hank had been faced with covering Crosby. Pavel notched 2 assists, a +2 rating, 3 takeaways, and 4 hits int 17+ minutes on 21 shifts. Pavel's legs looked a little slow but his hands never lost a step as stickhandled exceptionally well in the offensive zone. 
  • Did anyone really expect Marian Hossa to get 8 hits last night? Didn't think so. Hossa led all players in hits, got an assist, and registered 2 shots on goal. Midway through the second, the game was pretty much already decided so Hossa was allowed to throw his body around and play well defensively. 
Game 5 was great and hopefully Game 6 will be just as good. Enjoy your Sunday.

 

 

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