-Hey, guess where we are:
-No, not quite:
-And right off the bad, Versus reminds us these two teams where in the last two Stanley Cup Finals:
-The Penguins' scratches are Evgeni Malkin, Eric Godard and Jay McKee.
-The Red Wings' scratches are Dan Cleary and Patrick Eaves. Brad Stuart was supposed to be a game-time decision due to an undisclosed ailment.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Jimmy Howard are your starting goaltenders.
-Former Flyers coach John Stevens is on the studio show. Just based on his involvement with the broadcast, the Penguins should get credit for at least two goals.
-It looks like Versus will be ramming another failed show down our throats throughout the night. The Daily Line? Ugh.
-Bring back "Sports Unfiltered with Dennis Miller" we say:
19:27: Crosby carries the puck up ice, gains the blue line against Nicklas Lidstrom and from the left circle, he snaps off a high wrister to the far side. Howard gloves it.
18:37: Off a turnover in the neutral zone, Ruslan Fedotenko hooks Derek Meech. Sergei Gonchar, Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke and Mark Eaton take the ice.
18:25: Lidstrom blasts a slapper from the left point. If you can imagine such a thing, Tomas Holmstrom was right in front and actually blocked it.
17:50: Brian Rafalski sneaksa pass from the right wing to Lidstrom on a version of the "Whitney Play." Lidstrom has a clear net to shoot out but Fleury is able to make a scrambling save. How in the world di he get that? Versus can't be bothered to show the replay the save. Sigh.
17:44: Fleury eats up a point shot by Johan Franzen.
17:25: Fleury fights off a backhander by Zetterberg on the right wing.
17:08: A puck is deflected to Valtteri Filppula in the right circle. He too has a clear net to shoot out but Fleury is able to slide ot his left and robs him. Fleury's on so far.
16:37: Fedotenko's penalty is killed. Fleury saved the day on that two minutes.
15:26: More "Cros-Bee xxxx!" chants? Not surprsing. This is the same fan base which cheered when he injured his knee in Game 7 of last season's Stanley Cup final.
15:16: Howard eats up a shot by Mike Rupp.
17:15: A puck is deflected to Valtteri Filppula in the right circle. He too has a clear net to shoot out but Fleury is able to slide ot his left and robs him. Fleury's on so far.
14:08: Fleury fights off a blast by Stuart from the right point.
13:06: Letang drives a slapper from the right circle to the far side. Howard gets a piece of it. Jordan Staal crashes in on the rebound but Pavel Datsyuk makes a nice backcheck and knocks it away. The rebound hop out to Letang along the boards. He clinks a wrister off the near post.
12:58: Filppula feeds a pass into the slot for a teammate who has a chance at a breakaway. But Bill Guerin makes a wonderful back check and tips the puck out of play.
12:57: Versus is really talking up the potential for a Red Wings-Penguins re-match in the finals and they're really making the case on Detroit's behalf. That's fine and dandy, but what about the Penguins? They don't exactly have a great record against the league's other top 10 teams?
11:29: Gonchar holds up Franzen. That's two minutes. Franzen responds by tripping up Gonchar. That's two minutes. Four-on-four.
11:13: Maxime Talbot slides a cross-ice pass to Letang in the right circle. Letang's wrister is fought off by Howard. Letang's been pretty active in the offense so far.
10:14: Todd Bertuzzi chops a shot on net from the slot. Fleury boots it out with his right leg easily.
10:03: Alex Goligoski pounds a slapper from the right circle. Niklas Kronwall blocks it.
9:29: Gonchar and Franzen return to the ice.
8:54: Guerin slides a pass to Eaton at the left point. Eaton steps up and fires a one-timer. It gets through traffic. Howard is able to absorb the puck and freeze play.
8:14: Rupp puts another light show on net from the left wing. Howard makes the easy save.
7:37: Craig Adams snaps off a wrister from the slot. Howard boots it out with his right leg.
6:59: Datsyuk gains the blue line along the left wing, challenges Letang and releases a wrister. Fleury knocks it down and covers to freeze play. Datsyuk takes a spill after the shot.
5:36: Another penalty for the Penguins. Gonchar interferes with Datsyuk. That's two minutes. The Penguins are taking a few too many penalties here. Adams, Brooks Orpik, Talbot and Letang take the ice.
3:44: Datsyk lifts a wrister from the left circle. Fleury fights if off despite a screen.
3:37: Datsyuk snaps off a backhanded pass from the left circle to Franzen in the opposite circle. Franzen swats a one-timer on the near side. Fleury is able to fight if off with a tough glove save.
3:36: Gonchar's penalty is killed. The Red Wings got fewer pucks on net during that power play
0:55: In the neutral zone, Bertuzzi chips a backhanded pass from the right wing across the ice to Filppula. Filppula take the pass, gains the blue line, challenges Gonchar and snaps off a wrister between Gonchar's leg and by Fleury on the blocker sided. What a shot by Filppula. He managed to use Gonchar a a screen. Bertuzzi and Henrik Zetterber get assists. Red Wings 1-0.
0:00: End of period. Red Wings 1, Penguins 0.
-All things considered, the Penguins probably are lucky to only be down by a goal. The Red Wings controlled the play for the most part, drew a few power plays and had the better quality of scoring chances.
-Marc-Andre Fleury was fantastic in that period. He bailed out his team plenty of times by making some marvelous saves. We'll spot him the Filppula goal. he was screened on the shot.
-Jimmy Howard was sharp too. The Penguins tested him a little bit and he was up to the challenge.
-The Penguins need to quit taking penalties.
-Shots were actually tied, 10-10.
-Letang leads the game with three shots.
-Datsyuk, Filppula and Franzen each lead the game with two shots.
-Here's a shocker. Lidstrom leads the game with 9:18 of ice time.
-Gonchar leads the Penguins with 8:17 of ice time.
-The Penguins have a 10-8 edge in faceoffs (56 percent).
-Datsyuk is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Crosby is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Letang, Orpik and Jordan Leopold each have two blocked shots.
-Nice subject for intermission show? Who's the favorite for the Stanley Cup? "The Penguins or the Red Wings?"
-What about the Blackhawks or the Sharks or the Capitals? We might call DirecTV and tell them to take Versus back off our television.
19:20: Guerin swats a puck on net from the right half wall. Howard gloves it.
18:49: Staal spins off a check on the right wing and lifts a wrister from the circle. It gets deflected high.
18:25: Another eye-for-eye penalty situation. Staal is nabbed for slashing Holmstrom. Holmstrom is nabbed for interference. Four-on-four. The Penguins created a few chances earlier on during the four-on-four in the first period.
17:31: Goligoski lifts a wrister from the left circle. Howard fight sit off.
17:07: Fedotenko makes a nice defensive play and ties up the stick of Zetterber in the defensive zone. Zetterberg was in a position to get a clear shot off too.
16:45: Fleury fights off a wrister by Rafaski from the left point despite traffic.
16:29: Off a nifty give and go with Crosby in the right circle, Fedotenko whips a wrister on net. Howard gloves that.
15:46: The Penguins get thier first power play as Holmstrom is nabbed for interference. He hit Letang away from the puck from behind. Crosby, Gonchar, Goligoski, Guerin and Alexei Ponikarovsky take the ice.
15:09: Gonchar puts a slapper on net from the right point. Howard makes the initial save. Crosby, Ponikarovsky and Goligoski all crash in looking for a rebound but no dice.
15:02: Filppula lifts the puck down ice to kill time.
14:43: Gonchar sneaks in down the right wing and rips a wrister on net from the faceoff circle. Howard is able to cover it up after a bit of a scramble.
14:18: Kunitz rams Filppula into the boards on the left wing.
13:48: Darren Helm chops the puck from the defensive zone off the boards and down ice to kill off the rest of the penalty. The Penguins created a few chances there.
12:57: Bertuzzi chops a puck on net from the right circle. Fleury slides to his left and fights it off.
12:22: Detroit does what it does best and scores. Lidstrom fakes a shot at the left point the slides it down low on the wing to Zetterberg. Zetterberg coasts out of the corner into the slot and lifts a backhander on net on Fleury. Despite Bertuzzi and Crosby screening in front, FLeury makes the inital save but is helpless as Zetterberg recovers the rebound and lifts another backhander by Fleury's glove hand. A big body in front of the cage. Vintage Detroit. Bertuzzi and Lidstrom get assists. Red Wings 2-0.
11:20: Kronwall has a wrister denied from the left wing by Fleury.
9:55: From the right wing, Helm puts a shot off the post.
8:29: Staal gains the blue line on the right wing, pulls up and whips a wrister wide on the far side.
7:00: Tyler Kennedy just chops a bouncing puck from the right point. It hits a body or two and bounces to the left of the slot. Rupp is there with a wide open net but can't get a handle on the puck.
6:14: Derek Meech blasts a slapper from the right half wall. It sail high on the far side.
6:04: Crosby chops a shot on net from a tough angle on the right wing. Howard deflects it out of play.
5:22: Kunitz carries the puck into the offensive zone on a two-on-one with Letang against Rafalski. Rafalski slides down to take away the pass. Kunitz winds up and cranks a slapper on net from the left circle. Howard is in perfect position and eats up the shot.
4:17: It's a little late, but we get the obligatory "Ed Olczyk was the Penguins' head coach" reference:
3:06: Dupuis rushes the puck up the righ wing and chips it behind Lidstrom into the corner. Rafalski attempts to play it but is pressured by Kunitz and Dupuis. Dupuis backhand swats it into the crease. Kunitz crashes in and it flutters by Howard's left foot and into the cage. What an effort on that forecheck to create that. Kunitz gets credit for the goal. Dupuis gets the only assist. Red Wings 2-1.
1:20: Fleury fights off a wrister by Fleury from the left wing.
0:00: End of period. Red Wings 2, Penguins 1.
-It's not quite Game 7, or even the thrilling regular season game we had last season in November, but this is a pretty dang good.
-This game was on the verge of getting out of hand in the Red Wings' favor, but the Penguins were able to kind of stunt that momentum. The eventually got a goal and now they're only down by one heading into the third.
-Both goaltenders continue to be solid. Neither team can complain about that position.
-Not that we're expecting line brawls, but this game has been pretty tame for two teams which are familiar with one another.
-Detroit does look a lot better than the team we saw back in January.
-The Red Wings have a 20-19 edge in shots.
-Letang, Crosby, Zetterberg, Filppula and Franzen each lead the game with three shots.
-Lidstrom leads the game with 17:20 of ice time.
-Gonchar leads the Penguins with 15:30.
-Faceoffs are tied, 19-19 (50 percent).
-Datsyuk is 8 for 11 (73 percent).
-Crosby is 10 for 15 (67 percent).
-Letang leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Kronwall leads the Red Wings with two.
20:00: Dupuis ends up getting credit for the Penguins' goal. It's unassisted.
19:12: Zetterberg snaps off a tough wrister from the right circle. Fleury fights it off.
18:40: Zetterberg gets a softie by Fleury. He gains the blue line, finds off a stick check by Eaton and snaps off a wrister which burns Fleury on the blocker side. Terrible goal for Fleury to give up. Period. Filppula and Lidstrom get assists. Red Wings 3-1.
17:55: Franzen tosses a pass into the slot. Jason WIlliams in all alone in the slot but can't beat Fleury. Where was the defense there?
17:13: Eaton cracks a slapper from the left point. Despite Stuart and Guerin screening in front, Howard knocks it down and covers.
17:02: Off a scramble down low for a puck, Howard is injured. Zetterberg bascially skated into him and kneed him in the mask. Chris Osgood gets off his rocking chair in the locker room to see what's up. Red Wings fans naturally start another "Crosby XXXX" chant.
16:09: Filppula has a chance in the left circle but lifts his wrister wide on the far side.
14:54: Williams dishes a pass to Kronwall at the top of the slot. Kronwall hammers ao ne-timer which goes wide.
14:08: Gonchar whips a wrister from the slot. Howard makes the save despite having Guerin fall on top of him. The Penguins can't get a handle on the puck on the following scramble. Play is halted as Guerin is nabbed for goaltending interference. Guerin was pushed onto Howard by Stuart. Seems like a bunk call. Staal, Cooke, Letang and Leopold take the ice.
12:08: The Penguins kill off Guerin's penalty. That was big.
12:01: Olczyk gives Mike Emrick props for calling his 3,000th career professional game.
11:36: Another power play for the Red Wing. Goligoski conks Holmstrom in the face with his stick. Unreal. Staal, Cooke, Letang and Orpik take the ice.
10:52: Krwonall cracks a slapper from the right wing which gets deflected wide on the far side.
10:04: Williams cranks a slapper from the top of the slot. Fleury gloves it despite a bit of a screen.
9:40: Datsyuk gains the blue line in the slot and distributes to Franzen who is wide open on the left wing. Frazen gets some space in the circle and lifts a wrister which deflects off the post and out of play.
9:35: Just as the Goligoski penalty expires, Fleury gloves a slapper by Lidstrom from the left point.
9:08: Crosby his hits from the side/behind inside the Detroit blue line. That endears him further to his fans in Detroit.
8:01: Andreas Lilja cranks a slapper from the right point. Dupuis deflects it partially. It hits off the back boards and bounces to the right of hte cage. There's a scramble. Fleury is able to reach out and cover it.
6:15: Orpik chops a quick slapper on net from the left point. Howard fights it off.
5:41: Talbot chips a puck on net from the left wing. Howard eats it up.
5:10: Crosby gains the blue line on the left wing and tips a pass to Dupuis on the right wing. Dupuis immediately puts a slapper on net. Howard eats it up.
4:34: Off a brutal turnover by Gonchar in his own zone, Drew Miller movesi no from the left circle and tries to jam it in but he can't lift it over Fleury's right leg. Gonchar owes Fleury a bottle of vodka.
1:59: Argh.. that was it. Ponikarovsky gets loose on a mini-breakaway and snaps off a wrister from the right circle which rings off the far post. That pretty much was it for the Penguins. They're done.
0:58: Fleury finally leaves the net for an extra attacker. He tried to do that for about 30 seconds but the Red Wings wouldn't let him leave the zone.
0:55: with a faceoff in the nutral zone, Fleury returns to the net.
0:19: Off a turnover by Datsyuk, Howard fights off a wrster by Guerin. Staal taps the rebound to Crosby off the right wing. Crosby cranks a slapper which Howard squares up for and fights off.
0:12: Guerin cranks a slapper from the right half wall. Howard eats it up. Octopus is thrown on the ice. The Penguins call atime out to get organized.
0:08: Gonchar cranks a slapper from the top of the slot. Howard fights it off.
0:00: The Red Wings whip it down ice to kill the rest of the clock. A scrum breaks out. Crosby began to cross check his nemesis Zetterberg in the back as the clock expired. A few of Zetterberg's teammates, including Howard, jump Crosby. Guerin goes after anyone in a red jersey. Crosby did little to combat his critics in Detroit with that display. End of game. Red Wings 3, Penguins 1.
-Well so much for the idea of the Penguins being amped up for all their rivals this week. Well at least tonight. They weren't sharp and it was difficult to detect if they were even all that intense for this game.
-It's tempting to just lump up the Penguins' sluggishness to the absence of Evgeni Malkin, but we doubt he would've been enough of a difference in this game. The Red Wings dominated the contest for at least 40 minutes.
-Speaking of the Red Wings, how good were they? Detroit played it's typical puck possession game and just controlled play. If they can stay healthy, a big if, they're for who ever has to play them in the postseason, assuming they make it.
-Gonchar must've eaten some bad borsct or something. He simply had an awful game.
-Somewhat disappointingly, the Penguins were not all that physcial with the Red Wings. One of the ways you can knock the Red Wings off their game is by getting physcial with them. The Penguins initiated very little contact.
-Fleury gave up one bad goal and it really hurt his team at a bad time. Enterting the third, the Penguins re-gained a little momentum with their late goal in the second. But the Red Wings came out flying and just dominated play. Zetterberg got that soft goal and it really just proved to be too much for the Penguins.
-That said, without Fleury, this game might've been over in the first period.
-Stop us if you've heard this before. Sidney Crosby had a quiet game against the Red Wings. And Malkin's absence didn't help matters.
-Penalties were clearly a problem for the Penguins. They gave the Red Wings four power plays. While they did kill all four off and extended their streak of penalty kills to 24, that's still eight minutes you're generally not going to be pressing things on offense.
-We thought Letang had a much better game than usual. He didn't appear to be out of position on defense too often and he was a presence on offense.
-Howard was very good. The Penguins did have their fair share of quality scoring chances but Howard was just up to the task.
-How dominant was Zetterberg? Forget his offense. His defense was Selke-caliber.
-The Red Wings led in shots, 33-27.
-Zetterberg led the game with five shots.
-Guerin and Letang led the game with four.
-Lidstrom led the game with 23:36 of ice time.
-Gonchar led the Penguins with 23:19.
-The Red Wings led in faceoffs, 32-26 (55 percent).
-Datsyuk was 13 for 18 (72 percent).
-Crosby was 13 for 24 (54 percent).
-Eaton and Letang led the game with three blocked shots each.
-Kronwall led the Red Wings with two.