Hockey (Last) Night In Canada: All Tied Up

After a big win in game three, the Penguins had an opportunity to ride the momentum to a tied series. However, if history has anything to teach us, game four was when the Pens wilted under the pressure last year. Detroit was without its MVP candidate Pavel Datsyuk once again. Would these counteracting factors favour the home side or the visitors?

Detroit 2 @ Pittsburgh 4 – I think I’ve seen this somewhere before. Detroit wins both of its home games by the score of 3-1. Now, Pittsburgh has turned a similar trick with a pair of 4-2 wins at home.

It would be the home side that would get on the board first. On the power play because of a questionable call, a rebound off a Kris Letang shot was banged home by Evgeni Malkin to give Pittsburgh the lead. That lead wouldn’t last for the duration of the frame. With just under two minutes to go, Rob Scuderi botched a clearing attempt. It went right to Darren Helm who too a couple of steps in and wristed it over Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the game.

Detroit would ride that momentum into the second period. Fourty-six seconds in, Henrik Zetterberg wheeled behind the Penguins net and found Brad Stuart on the point. Stuart blasted it through Fleury for a 2-1 lead. Just when the crowd had died and the Pens were on the ropes, they got the break they needed. A Detroit giveaway on the power play sprung Jordan Staal on a breakaway. Staal outmuscled the pursuing Brian Rafalski and backhanded it past Chris Osgood to tie the game up while shorthanded. Just 1:59 later, Sidney Crosby decided that if Staal could finally show up, so could he. Malkin and Crosby went down two-on-one against Jonathan Ericsson. Ericsson blocked the first Malkin pass attempt but a picture perfect second pass to Crosby left Osgood no chance. The Kid roofed the one-timer to make it a 3-2 game. One final goal put it on ice for the Penguins. It was a tic-tac-toe play of Chris Kunitz to Crosby to Tyler Kennedy and one-timed in for a 4-2 final.

Despite the offensive display put on by the Penguins, Marc-Andre Fleury stole the show and the game for the men in black. He made 37 saves on 39 shots for the win. Chris Osgood had a tougher night, stopping 27 of 31.

Heading back to Detroit for game five, it has been a homer’s series with the home team winning each game. That makes it difficult to say that the momentum that Pittsburgh is carrying the momentum when nobody has won on the road yet. After all, we were saying that Detroit had the momentum heading into Pittsburgh for games three and four. Though if Pittsburgh can pull off the first comeback from 0-2 down in the Finals, we can look back at Staal’s goal as the momentum shifter.

Meanwhile, the two rest days before game five are welcome by the Wings. Playing four games in six nights on a less than full roster has taken its toll. The extra rest day could help Pavel Datsyuk get ready for game five. He has been out for the whole series and Detroit could use the extra help at both ends. After all, Detroit is gave up odd-man rushes and made poor giveaways for the latter part of game four. Getting Datsyuk back would hopefully give them a jump at both ends of the ice. Then again, maybe all they need is a little home cooking.

The series is tied at 2-2

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh)
2. Jordan Staal (Pittsburgh)
3. Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh)

Saturday’s Schedule:
Pittsburgh at Detroit – The series is tied at 2-2 (TV: CBC, NBC)

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