The Wings are playing well, and the Penguins are playing well. From my standpoint, the series has been very even so far. Oh, except for the fact that the Red Wings have scored more goals.
Last night's 3-1 win to take a 2-0 series lead was almost identical to the opening game. I can't believe Justin Abdelkader has two goals already in the series (when he had 0 NHL goals, playoffs or otherwise, prior to Saturday), but I'm ecstatic that he's played so well. Darren Helm continues to dominate play when he's on the ice and everyone in a Pittsburgh uniform is taking to iron as if it were steel. Ozzie has been solid, but he's had some major contributions from his maroon friends, the posts.
If I were a Penguins fan, I can see myself being pretty pissed in this situation. They played well -- certainly much better than they did in games one and two in last year's Finals -- but they have had poor goaltending and some unlucky bounces that have let Detroit get out to a 2-0 lead. As a Wings fan, I know that those "unlucky bounces" have come at the hands of hard work and Pittsburgh turnovers, but I can see some hatred stemming out of that from the other side of the coin. However, I will completely disspell the notion that the Penguins are being shafted by the officials, since hardly anything has been called on either side. Pissed about the "no-call" on Hossa that led to Filppula's goal? Shut up. How about the lack of a suspension for Malkin after his instigator fighting penalty in the last minute of the game? I don't think it's a good rule, but it's in the NHL rulebook nonetheless (thanks to A2Y for the info). But, the rules don't apply to everyone. Nice work, Gary.
A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension. The length of suspension will double for each subsequent offense. In addition, the player's coach shall be fined $10,000 -- a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.Yep, that's straight from the NHL, rule 56a. I think the Malkin-Zetterberg fight was an awesome way to end the game and neither player did anything wrong, but Malkin was penalized with an instigator minor penalty. Colin Campbell said the suspension was rescinded because Malkin wasn't trying to "send a message" or "seek retribution for a prior incident." Hmm. Alrighty. Well, I don't reeeally care if he is suspended or not, but Penguins fans don't have much ground to stand on when their star should be in the luxury box for game three.
Basically, the Wings are awesome. They can taste it. They can taste the sweetness of Cup #12. Pittsburgh is on their heels, and under some major pressure to win games three and four to stay in this series. Excellent. See ya Tuesday. Go Wings.
Final note: Awesome live twitter updates during the game last night, Jake. I enjoyed them very much. He does some fine work, that new UNH graduate. Find him here or here.