Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 6: Pittsburgh 2, Detroit 1

Once again, Pittsburgh won the game it had to win. This time, it was a one-goal game ... the Pens jumped out in the second, added an insurance goal in the third, and then clung to their lead for dear life as the Wings roared back.

The goaltending was pretty even: I thought Osgood played better overall, but he allowed a soft goal and a somewhat weak goal; Fleury gave up only one goal, a tough play that probably wasn't on him. (To be fair, without help from Scuderi and a post, it could been 2-2 in regulation ...)

Once again, the role players didn't contribute much. Staal is not quite a role play. Kennedy's goal definitely counts, but you could match that with Draper's first of the playoffs. There was one play where Crosby fought valiantly in his own end to blunt a Detroit rush, worked the puck free, laid it to center ice ... and watched as it slid to a Detroit defenseman. He can't be at both ends at once, guys.

The officiating was dreadful. Apparently Bettman has slept through the entire series, either that or Brian Burke is now in charge of officiating. They don't call anything any more: blatant trips/holds/obstructions ... at least it's terrible both ways, so the Wings don't have to stretch their weaker PK unit and the Pens can shut down Detroit's faster players, but still, if I wanted to watch '90s hockey, I'd break out the VCR.

Each team has defended home ice, and here we are ... for the first time in 54 years, Hockeytown will host a Game 7. (Believe it or not, that counts all three sports: the three seven-game series the Pistons lost and the '68 World Series all ended on the road.) Strangely enough, in 1955, the home team won the first six games as well.

Game 7, 1955? Detroit 3, Montreal 1. The Wings outscore the Canadiens by 7 in the Series and win back-to-back Cups against Montreal.

Detroit holds a four-goal edge over Pittsburgh in the series. Is a three-goal win possible? I'd say not, barring a cataclysmic breakdown, and the Pens already had that in Game 5.

I stick to my early prediction: Wings in 7. Detroit 2, Pittsburgh 1, Osgood gets the Conn Smythe.

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