Don't start talkin' sweep just yet. As Scotty Bowman pointed out, it isn't a series until the home team loses and Detroit didn't lose. Getting good minutes from young, fresh legs, the Wings handled back-to-back games quite well and took a 2-0 lead in the series with a 3-1 win. It also helped that the Penguins hit a couple of posts, got frustrated, stopped forechecking and rarely were able to force Chris Osgood to give up a rebound. Some more notes but no pics, sorry:
*Colin Campbell rescinded the mandatory suspension for Malkin, despite him clearly instigating a fight after a whistle in the final five minutes. Soupy said that "Suspensions are applied under this rule when a team attempts to send a message in the last five minutes by having a player instigate a fight. A suspension could also be applied when a player seeks retribution for a prior incident. neither was the case here and therefore the one game suspension is rescinded." And thus the NHL avoids the likelihood of a second Richard Riot as the series heads to Pittsburgh. Can't have that happen.
*If Osgood keeps playing this well, you can just start engraving his name in the Hall of Fame. Aside from his 389 regular season wins, Ozzy is 10-2 in the Cup Final and holds a 1.47 gaa and .937 save percentage. The OZZY, OZZY chants were ridiculous and rivaled those that I have heard for the other Ozzy, the one that's the Prince of Darkness, who I have seen live about 10 times (and won't go see again, dude is losing it, it's painful to see).
*The roar in the building was remarkable as Michigan's own Justin Abdelkader scored for the second straight game. His first was a fluke fluttering puck on a rebound and this one was a great shot breaking in 1-on-2. While he clearly holds the hometown hero role, Darren Helm is heading for fan favourite with his dogged play. The guy has been a beast all over the ice and in all situations. He also went 22-10 in the faceoff circle with 15 hits over the two wins. Damn.
*There were certainly less Pens fans for this game than there were for two. The building was quite quiet through much of the first period and a half, something that could be tied to the fact that it is Sunday. As my buddy Tom said, beer sales were probably down too.
*No Pens players were brought into the main interview room; coach Bylsma was the only rep to the media. I'm sure they were less than pleased to be heading home in this manner. But, keep in mind, this was how it was last year too. Babcock said that he thinks that this year is "way different" from last and was quick to give his opponents credit - "every inch of ice is a battle out there with them." He also clarified a comment he made earlier that the Canadian press ran with: he said the series has been a battle of two stars (Zetterberg and Malkin) and wanted to make sure that everyone knew he respected Crosby, who is a "classy player who plays hard." No way in the world is this coach going to give the other guys bulletin board material.
*Gordie Howe was signing his book and the fans went wild. He even had his own police bodyguard helping control the crowd in between periods. Sadly, it was quite the contrast to Ted Lindsay, who was very accessible during Game 1.
And that is about that from Detroit. I head to Pittsburgh in the morning! How cool is that?!?