So much for the Red Wings not being able to "handle" back-to-back games.
Backstopped by a superb performance from goaltender Chris Osgood, the Wings unsung heroes provided enough offense to propel them past the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 and stake a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.
In a game that can easily be described as "back-and-forth", it would be the Penguins who would strike first, when Evgeni Malkin banged home a rebound from the slot, giving the Pens a powerplay goal and a 1-0 lead. Despite making some brilliant saves, Osgood would find himself on the unlucky end of the play, as defenseman Brad Stuart got stuck in the crease and, while attempting to knock the puck away, inadvertently put it in his own goal. The Penguins would continue to control play throughout the rest of the period, holding Detroit to zero shots for the rest of the period and heading to the locker room with the lead.
However, the tide quickly shifted in the second period, as the Wings came out firing on all cylinders, forcing the Pens back on their heels. After intense pressure from the Wings forced a Pittsburgh icing, the Wings quickly won the ensuing faceoff and Jonathan Ericsson slapped the tying goal past a screened Marc-Andre Fleury. The Wings would continue to pressure Fleury, forcing him to make a series of great saves throughout the second, but his luck would eventually run out. After Marian Hossa stole the puck from Pascal Dupuis near the left boards, he quickly put a shot on net that was stopped by Fleury. As Tomas Holmstrom kept the Pens tied up in front of the net, the puck squibbed away from Fluery, and Valtteri Filppula swooped in and put home a backhander from an incredibly difficult angle. Detroit would end up outshooting Pittsburgh 16-9 in the second period, controlling the tempo and giving themselves the lead at the intermission.
The Pens looked poise to turn the tide in their favor early in the third when Sidney Crosby rang a shot off the post that ended up rolling along the goal line before being covered by Osgood. With good fortune on their side, the Wings would capitalize minutes later, as Justin Abdelkader carried the puck into the Penguins zone on an innocent looking 1-on-2 situation, keeping control of a bouncing puck just enough to unleash a knuckleballing slapshot that beat Fleury over his glove for a 3-1 lead. Despite finding themselves trailing early in the third, the Pens poured on the pressure, outshooting the Wings 12-3 in the third frame, and forcing Chris Osgood to make key saves to preserve the lead.
After making a great save on Malkin in the waning seconds, Osgood was knocked to the ice by Maxime Talbot, which sparked a melee in front of the net. As players came together, Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg got into an altercation that led to both players dropping the gloves and throwing punches before finally being separated by officials. However, Malkin was also assessed an instigator penalty, which, by rule, calls for an automatic one game suspension. Despite receiving the instigator penalty, NHL Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell rescinded Malkin's suspension following the game, as the league felt that Malkin's actions did not meet the criteria set forth in the rule book to warrant the suspension.
Chris' Red Wing of the Game
Ozzie's performance was again clutch, stopping 31 of 32 shots and making critical saves throughout the entire game.
#30 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings
Nov 26, 1972
The series now heads to Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena for Game 3 on Tuesday night. The puck drops at 8:00 PM, and the game can be seen on Versus and CBC.