What was I thinking picking the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup? It’s not over, Pittsburgh could still get two victories at home; but who’s betting on that. I can tell you what I wasn’t thinking. That Justin Abdelkader would be outscoring Sidney Crosby. Justin who? I didn’t even include him in my preview post of 18 players per team.
The fact that Sidney Crosby has been unable to break through is very surprising given the lackluster penalty killing of the Red Wings earlier in the playoffs. Of course the Red Wings always seem to do what it takes when it matters. They’ve jumped to this 2-0 lead without Pavel Datsyuk, but the Red Wings are always deep. So far in this series their goals are from Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson, Valteri Filppula, Brad Stuart, and Johan Franzen. Only Franzen would be considered one of their top scorers. Pittsburgh will need similar support for Malkin and Crosby if they are to regain competitiveness in the series.
Once again, Chris Osgood has made his presence felt in a Final. He has thoroughly outplayed Marc Andre Fleury through the first two games. The Penguins have outshot Detroit by 8, but whereas Fleury has conceded some soft goals, Osgood had been almost impenetrable. The early Malkin goal in game two was sort of flukish and after that Osgood stoned everybody.
The Pens are at least heading home and can have some solace in the fact that they feel they outplayed Detroit in Game 2. For any of that to matter Sidney Crosby is going to have to find a way to crack Detroit’s defenses and Gill and Orpik are going to have to step up their checking in the defensive zone. It will be a tall order and the way the Red Wings are playing, it seems they have an answer for whatever comes their way.