Not much to be said about this game. We all know what's at stake for both teams and know that it's either going to be a joyous offseason or one riddled with questions. Hopefully, it's the former that we're going to endure. Let's take a look at the keys and subplots to the game:
- Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have to continue to shutdown Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Since Pavel's return, neither of them has tallied a point and the streak will have to be extended from two to three games for the Wings to keep the Cup.
- Detroit's secondary scorers will have to outduel those in black and gold. Games 3, 4, and 6 were all plenty of evidence to show that the Penguins have great scoring depth and the Wings cannot afford to test that depth. The defense must focus on them just as much as Malkin and Crosby at this point.
- So if Malkin, Crosby, and the Pittsburgh secondary scorers are shut down, then who can score for the Pens? No one, and that's the point. Osgood must be solid in net and hope for a repeat of Game 5's goals against because Fleury turned in a heck of a performance in Game 6 and will likely do his best to do the same tonight.
- Marian Hossa has to do something to create offense. To be goal-less in 19 of 22 games is unacceptable for a guy with his caliber of skills--and with a wallet that fat. Hossa has to get to the slot and rely on passes or hope for breakaways, his shots from the outside aren’t cutting it and the scoreboard shows it.
- This game will be epic, monumental, legendary, colossal, whatever term for "important" you want to substitute into each franchise’s history. Pittsburgh can solidify itself as a crème of the crop team in the NHL while Detroit can solidify itself as one of the best franchises in modern sports. 5 Cups in 12 years? I’ll take it.
Like I said for Game 6, enjoy the game because it WILL be the last time you see this group of guys together. Especially enjoy watching Hudler, Samuelsson, Chelios, and Hossa play because only 1 or 2 of them will return next year.
Puck drops at 8:00 p.m. ET. Game can be seen on NBC, CBC, or RDS and as always, GO WINGS!
JoeHass will be with you guys tonight providing statistical prime rib as always.