Game on…

Everybody is boycotting NBC here in Detroit because they wouldn’t let the Wings show the game on the scoreboard at the Joe.  I wasn’t going to watch it on NBC, anyway.  The NBC announcer, is as nice a guy as you will ever meet, but I find him unlistenable.  I can’t stand his call.  Sorry.  Just a matter of taste.  Some guys you like, and some guys you don’t.

All I know is that if the Chris Osgood doesn’t give up any goals tonight like he did Saturday(or didn’t depending on how you look at it), Detroit wins the Stanley Cup tonight.  It’s not like he’s never done it before.  Osgood shut out the Penguins back-to-back in Games 1-2 of last year’s Final.

I expected Pittsburgh to dominate early—they outshot Detroit 3-0 to open Game 5, remember?—but I did not expect them to dominate the entire first period, which they did.  The Pens were outshooting the Wings 11-2 late in the period (shots finished 12-3 in the first), but at the horn or buzzer or gunshot or whatever they fire off in Pittsburgh to denote the end of a period, the score was 0-0.  Like I said, if Osgood doesn’t give up any goals, Pittsburgh doesn’t win.

I spent a lot of the period looking for other back-to-back shutouts in the Final by Detroit goalies:

Terry Sawchuk did in in ‘52, the year he held Canadien to 2 measly goals.  In the series.  A Detroit sweep in four, pretty much needless to say.

Harry Lumley did it in ‘45—but Detroit lost the series in 7 largely because Toronto’s Frank McCool had shut the Wings out in each of the first three games to give the Leafs an insurmountable series lead.  Detroit won game 4 before Lumley took over with his back-to-back shutouts in Games 5 and 6, the second of which went to overtime tied 0-0, meaning that for the 4th time in the series, McCool had held Detroit scoreless through 60 minutes.  Lumley wound up with a goals-against in the Final of 1.24, and he was the losing goalie.  McCool, the winning goalie, also had a goals-against of 1.24 in the Final.  I think this had to be, like, the best Final, ever.

Johnny Mowers did it in ‘43, blanking Boston back-to-back at the Boston Garden to complete Detroit’s four-game sweep of the Bruins.  Mowers allowed 5 goals in the series for a goals-against of 1.25.  Not as good as Lumley, but good enough to win Detroit’s 3rd-ever Stanley Cup.

Rats.  So much for my Osgood shutout theory.  :51 into the second period, Jordan Staal scored on Pittsburgh’s 14th shot of the night.  1-0, Penguins.  The Wings got caught on an odd-man rush when #51 Valtteri Filppula failed to hold the puck at the Penguins line and #52 Jonathan Ericsson went down to block and pass that never came and was out of the play when Staal banged in his own rebound.  Osgood got a piece of it with his glove.

Maybe it’s the last change thing or having to stay on the ice after in icing whistle, but Pittsburgh looks faster at home.  And they go stronger to the net.

Henrik Zetterberg goes strong to the net and hits the post with 2:00 left in the period.  I wonder if its time to check the record of home teams in Game 7 of the Final.

Periods over.  Shots are 24-12 Pittsburgh (12-9 Pens in the 2nd)  and its still 1-0, Pittsburgh.  A great game.  What hitting and what goaltending!

In the Dept. of “If It Comes To That”, according to the Official Game Notes, Detroit is 3-3 all-time in Game 7’s in the Final.  I’m pretty sure no team has lost a Game 7 at home since Montreal came back from 2-0 down to beat the Blackhawks at the Chicago Stadium in ‘71, but I’m going to have to check that one out.

2-0, now.  Pens scored 5-and-a-half into the third on a sort-of wraparound by Tyler Kennedy.  Nicklas Lidstrom had his stick held in the right corner and couldn’t get it out as a result and nobody picked up Kennedy who came out from behind the net to the side of the net to beat Osgood high.  Ozzie usually gets that one, I think.  Now that we see the replay, Osgood did get it.  The first one, that is.  Kennedy scored on his own rebound.  Somebody should have knocked him on his you-know-what first.  Darren Helm was closest but didn’t lay a glove on him.  This is real trouble now.

2-1, now.  Detroit is finally on the board as Kris Draper fires a rebound high into the net for his fist goal of the playoffs and what a time for him to get it.  I know I said Draper should have been sat prior to Game 5, but I will say now that I was wrong.  That was a veteran’s goal.  He waited and picked his spot and he buried it.

9:18 into the 3rd and the Red Wings get their first power play of the game.  Talk about, “Its about time.”  Detroit was 3/9 in Game 5 after going 1/10 in the first 4 games.  This game has been played almost entirely 5-5.  The Pens have had only 2 power play opportunities.

Ohhhh.  The puck was loose in the crease with 3 Wings nearby but none could reach it and poke it home.  One minute left in the power play…

The Penguins kill it but Bill Guerin gets loose with his stick and smacks Draper in the face with it, so back on the power play goes Detroit.  About 7 minutes to go.  Still 2-1, Penguins.

No luck on the pp, and Osgood makes an unreal stop on Kris Letang to keep Detroit in the game.

They show somebody polishing the Stanley Cup, but with 3:30 to go you have to wonder if its not going to be going back into its crate tonight.

Dan Cleary breakaway with 100 seconds to go!  He’s in cold and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped him; glove save as Cleary went with the backhand deke and Fleury never gave him a chance.

13.2 seconds to go and the Wings come so close.  Johan Franzen has an open net but Rob Scuderi, Pittsburgh defenseman, makes a kick save and a beauty in the crease with his goalie out of position and guess what?  We are coming home to Detroit for Game 7.  Put that Cup back in the box and we’ll see you Friday night.  Wow.  Another great game.  Need I mention that the home team has won every game in this Stanley Cup Final?  I suppose you already know that.

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