22 game reviews
Jul 18, 2010 12:10 ET
|Action 7||This is it, Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, it all comes down to this. It is the identical matchup from last year, the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. The previous year, the Red Wings ousted the Penguins in six games which saw the far younger and less experience of the Pittsburgh team exploited by Detroit.|
This series had been evenly contested, the home team winning each time and most games closely fought. The Penguins had forced a seventh game after staving off defeat at home, exactly what happened the year prior.
When the game gets underway, the Red Wings come out strong and carry the play for the most part. They control the puck more so and get the majority of the chances. Pittsburgh's defense is up to the challenge though and Detroit doesn't get very many quality chances.
The game is physical from the get go and it is very close in terms of who has the edge in that department of the game. Both teams take what chances they can to throw a hit and checks are finished almost constantly. I would say the Red Wings get the best of the Penguins in the first period, they throw more hits and more often than not, their hits are bigger.
At just over the halfway point this take a turn. Pittsburgh takes control of the game, thanks in large part to a slashing penalty to Brad Stuart when he broke Evgeni Malkin's stick with a hack. The Penguins control the puck for the entire powerplay, the puck clears only once, and they get some chances to score. Detroit comes out unscathed though but the tide of the game has gone completely to Pittsburgh.
The Penguins continue to carry the play for the rest of the period, becoming more offensive and getting more chances. The Red Wings stay in it and never surrender the first goal. Detroit has some late chances near the end of the period but they don't break through either and the first twenty minutes finishes zero to zero. It wouldn't last long.
Maxime Talbot, with a good, strong, forecheck makes it one to nothing for Pittsburgh. Talbot forces Stuart to makes a turnover in the corner while Malkin was in on the forecheck too. Talbot got the puck and went in from the net. A little juke from Talbot opened up the five hole of Chris Osgood and Talbot quickly put the puck in the back of the net.
The first goal of the game gives the Penguins more momentum in the game and takes the Joe Louis Arena crowd out of it. Two calls simultaneously, a hooking penalty on Jordan Stall and a holding penalty on Thomas Holmstrom stop play and give way to two minutes of four on four play.
Neither team can take advantage of the one less man on the ice. The Red Wings continue to try to answer back but Pittsburgh plays stalwart defense and doesn't give up a goal. Detroit does draw a penalty however, a holding the stick call on Hal Gill.
With the man advantage a chance to tie the game back up, as well as get some life back into the crowd, the Red Wings set to work on the powerplay. They falter and barely get anything going during the two minutes. Gill's penalty is killed off and not long after, they increase their lead.
Niklas Kronwall ends up defending a Tyler Kennedy and Talbot two-on-one. Talbot takes the puck into the zone and with Osgood off his angle, Talbot picks the corner over Osgood's glove to score a beautiful goal, his second of the game.
The Red Wings' fans in the rink become quite quiet but Detroit storms back fast to attempt to get the game close again. The Red Wings take most control of the game from then on out and the Penguins play relatively consertative.
Detroit's game is sloppy though and not sharp at all, they make plenty of turnovers and mistakes that makes gaining momentum really difficult and they rarely get many good chances. Pittsburgh's defense contributes to that though, they play well and come out of the second frame with a two goal lead.
The third begins with the Red Wings in control, they have the grand majority of chances and carry the play for almost the whole time. With a two goal lead, the Penguins play a lot of defensive and very rarely go on the attack, and what attacks they do have, aren't much.
Mark Eaton takes a tripping penalty early but Pittsburgh kills it and keeps Detroit off the board. The Red Wings are still off their game though as while they are in control of the game and get pressure many times, they fail to really garner many good scoring chances.
A bit over the halfway point of the frame, Detroit finally breaks through. Fresh off the bench, Jonathan Ericsson's slapshot finds its way past Marc-Andre Fleury from the point and makes it a one goal game. The Red Wings apply pressure even more so after the goal and the Penguins just strive to take what they can off the clock and play the game very defensively.
Detroit's game picks up though and they play better, nonetheless, the tying goal proves elusive. With little time left and the cup on the line, Mike Babcock pulls Osgood to help generate offense with the extra man. The Red Wings get some chances but Pittsburgh prevents any break through. The clock runs out and the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in Game Seven two to one.
As usual, the grand celebration follows. Malkin is named playoff MVP, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, leading the league in playoff scoring. Then commissioner Gary Bettman hands the cup to Pittsburgh captain and franchise player, Sidney Crosby. Crosby, who missed most of the game with a knee injury, and his teammates take a short lap with the cup before handing it off to someone else.
This was a good game, it had plenty of action and it was as close as many expected. Detroit was the better team overall but the Penguins just had more jump and played a smart, defensive, game that stymied the Red Wings time after time. This hard fought series comes to an end with Pittsburgh winning four of the last five games and claiming victory on the road in dramatic Game Seven.