Before the media has a chance to jump off the Red Wings bandwagon (again), I'll put in my two cents on Game 6.
First of all, Detroit was asleep at the wheel in the first period. With the exception of Chris Osgood, the Wings really did look like the older, more exhausted team. The one positive they can take away from the first 20 minutes is that Pittsburgh did not score on the powerplay.
Detroit was more active in the second period, but the Penguins outplayed them anyways and that allowed them to take the 1-0 lead into the third. The second period for Pittsburgh is the period to look to for confidence because the Wings were wide awake and challenging them defensively and got in a few counter punches.
The Penguins survived the third period. Detroit had several chances that they did not capitalize on. Brooks Orpik played his best game of the playoffs and Rob Scuderi made a bid for the number two job in net for Pittsburgh with timely saves.
Now the series heads to game seven at Joe Louis Arena. You play all year to earn home ice just in case you play a game seven. The questions will fly over the next two days as to how the Wings can regain momentum, but the at the end of the day it is too early for the Penguins to be crowned as Stanley Cup Champions.
Fact: The home team is 12-2 in Stanley Cup Finals game sevens
Fact: The home team is 6-0 in this year's Cup Finals
Fact: Detroit is the home team for game seven!
Yes, I am a Penguins fan and yes I picked my Penguins to win the Cup this year. But the thing is that since the beginning of the series I have said that this year is different and that is why I believe the Penguins can win.
The media, so far, has tried too hard to view the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals through the lens of 2008. That just doesn't work. Consider the first two games: In 2008 Detroit outscored Pittsburgh 7-0; in 2009 they outscored Pittsburgh 6-2. In 2008 Detroit split games three and four in Pittsburgh; in 2009 the Penguins won both games by a final score of 4-2 (last year was 3-2 and 2-1 respectively). In 2008 Detroit lost game five at home in triple overtime, something that was not repeated in 2009 as the Wings pounded the Penguins 5-0. And now we have game six, where Detroit jumped over the boards to celebrate as Marian Hossa's last ditch effort slipped past Chris Osgood and through the crease as time expired.
So the moral of this blog is that your guess is as good as mine in game seven. Obviously I want Pittsburgh to win, and I certainly believe they can. They will have to play a great game, keep their composure and be as tough in their own zone and along the boards as they were tonight.
For Detroit to win they will need to continue to force the rest of the Penguins to find the scoresheet (Crosby and Malkin held without a point for second straight game) and can't let the puck get away from them again. Turnovers have killed Detroit in this series and they cannot allow it to happen in game seven.
Some more facts to consider for game seven:
Detroit's average age is 32, Pittsburgh's is 29
Shots on goal for the series: Detroit - 179 Pittsburgh - 169
Goals: Detroit - 16 Pittsburgh - 12
Marian "No-ssa" has no goals and only three assists in the finals. He also has 20 shots, nine takeaways and five giveaways.
There has not been an overtime period in these finals. The last time game seven went to overtime was 55 years ago when Detroit's Tony Leswick scored 4:20 in to win the cup for the Wings.
The last time a team opened a Final with two road losses and came back to win game seven was 1971 when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Chicago Blackhawks.
Pittsburgh is 2-0 all-time in Cup-clinching games on the road
Chris Osgood has a career record of 11-5 in the finals. All five losses were at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins (two last year and three this year).
Friday will be the second game seven since the lockout and the fifth since 2001.