-Hey, guess we we are:
-Detroit Rock City. It's really surreal for us to be here. We've never lied about the fact that we're not beat writers. We do a lot of this out of fun. We're very much still fans. And road trips are still something we get a charge out of. So coming back to this grand old hockey barn less than a year later is something we're ridiculously lucky to do.
-Lots of sights like this on the ride up:
-Lots of sights like this outside JLA:
-There are plenty of extra air conditioning units out JLA as well:
(We so wish we had a passport right now.)
-Annnnnd a press credential!!!!!
-To say the least, they're still getting some last minute preparations in order:
-We've already gotten more ice time than Chris Chelios will this entire series:
-Better late than never, Mike Lange's goal calls from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final:
-Kudos to Gareth Langley for the heads up.
-Mario Lemieux is holding a press conference at 6:45 p.m. What should we ask? Serious suggestions only. Nothing like... "When you firing Yeo n'at?"
-Lemieux's press conference wasn't anything special other than the fact that he actually spoke. He said Sidney Crosby is better than he was at 21.
-As we showed you last year, the names of every one of Detroit's Stanley Cup winning rosters are painted on the walls down below in Joe Louis Arena:
-The names of the 2008 team are down by the Red Wings' locker room and that area is off limits before a game. We'll get it later so you can curse at it.
-Joe Louis Arena:
-The banners here are still the coolest thing about this place:
-Some sights around the arena:
-We're suspending jersey fouls in regards to Steelers jerseys for the game:
-They've caught the Winter Classic fever up here too:
-The long-lost Roberto Clemente jersey:
-Jarkko Ruutu's exploits in the 2008 Winter Classic are still appreciated by one person:
-An interesting combo of jerseys:
-Some Marian Hossa... fans:
-More Penguins fans:
-Ron Francis has a fan here:
-There's at least one reader of The PensBlog here:
-Terrible Ted Lindsay is in the house:
-Some people just don't like change:
-A pretty sweet replica of the Stanley Cup:
-Say... do you think the Panthers would re-do that one trade....:
-Our favorite all-time Red Wing, Sergei Fedorov:
-The Malkins are here and they're sitting among the regular fans once again:
-The Penguins' scratches are Chris Minard, Alex Goligoski, Pascal Dupuis, Petr Sykora, Jeff Taffe, Eric Godard, Dustin Jeffrey, Ben Lovejoy and John Curry.
-Detroit has scratched Pavel Datsyuk, Derek Meech, Chris Chelios, Darren McCarty, Kris Draper, Aaron Downey, Jakub Kindl, Tomas Kopecky and Jimmy Howard.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Chris Osgood are your starting goaltenders.
-It just got hot in here:
-And it just got seafoody in here:
-The team's take the ice. We're happy to report Marc-Andre Fleury stayed on his skates while running out onto the ice. They're off to a better start.
-The national anthem:
-Tons of Penguins fans here. We're not going to guess at a percentage, but there's far more black, white and blue jerseys here than any of the games we saw in person in Washington.
-Lindsay and Gordie Howe drop the ceremonial first pucks:
20:00: At 8:22 p.m., EDT, the 2009 Stanley Cup final begins.
19:24: You'll need to keep the "Hossa, Conklin, Samuelsson, etc. was a Penguin" count at home yourself. We don't really have access to the audio of a broadcast.
18:47: Osgood gets tested early and he responds. A puck gets shot in at the net from the point. It hits off the end boards and bounces out to Maxime Talbot on the goal line. He punches the rebound on net. Osgood eats it up. A small scrum ensues.
17:00: As Crosby goes to the bench to end a shift, the puck
16:41: Fleury responds to his first real test. A Red Wings player drives a puck on net. Fleury knocks it down and covers. NBC couldn't be bothered to show a replay of the shot so we can't really tell you who shot it. Sorry.
16:29: Brad Stuart runs into Ruslan Fedotenko along the wall. Fedotenko ducked out of the hit and avoided most of it. Brook Orpik comes over and exchanges his thoughts on Bartter Syndrome with Stuart. We think.
14:30: Tomas Holmstrom and Talbot mix it up in the corner. Holmstrom gets away with a tackle. Talbot gets away with a trip.
13:42: Jordan Staal steals ap uck behind the Detroit net and dishes a feed to Miroslav Satan coming in. Satan can't quite get a puck on the net.
12:49: Chris Kunitz works his way into the slot and chips a shot at net. Osgood kneels to his right and directs the puck away.
11:55: As he's backchecking Fedotenko in the neutral zone, Hossa looks away and gets blasted by Brooks Orpik. Yeesh.... Hossa goes to the bench hunched over in a little bit of discomfort. Penguins fans in attendance stand and applaud. We're not sure Orpik didn't get away with a little bit of interference on that hit. Either way, what a check.
11:08: "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!!! (clap, clap, clap) LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!!! (clap, clap, clap)"
10:47: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
10:13: Matt Cooke gives Dan Cleary a little bit of a shove into Detroit's bench.
9:41: Malkin controls the puck behind the net, drags it out front and attempts to set up a wrist shot. Just as he seems like he's going to cock back, he looses the puck. He had a clean shot too
8:45: From the left wing, Staal chips a puck into the slot. Tyler Kennedy is there but the timing is wrong and Kennedy crashes right into the net without touching the puck.
8:01: Crosby just popped his nemesis from last year, Zetteberg, with a heck of a shoulder check in the neutral zone.
7:50: Kris Letang gets dropped by Stuart along the boards at the right point in Detroit's zone. As Letang is getting up, Stuart pops him in the head with a fist or forearm. The officials are letting just about everything go so far in this game.
7:37: Play is halted and a few shoves are exchanged. Unlike last year, these teams aren't wasting any time getting physical.
7:05: Hossa must be fine as he's played two shifts since his run in with Orpik.
6:22: A rough start for the Penguins here. Hal Gill flicks a puck up the boards from near the net. Stuart stops it and tosses it at the cage. It's off the mark and hits the end boards. It takes a fortunate bounce and hits off the back of Fleury's right leg and squeezes itself into the net. Lucky goal but Detroit will take it. The boards are supposed to be lively here so Stuart might have had something like that in mind when he took that shot. The goal is unassisted. Red Wings 1-0.
3:49: Malkin works his way down the right wing with Niklas Krownall defending him. Malkin whips a backhander that's off the mark.
3:22: Letang and Kirk Maltby basically Roman-Greco wrestle each other in the right faceoff circle near Fleury. Letang drops Maltby. Maltby gets up and slashes Letang. An official is standing all of 15 feet away and doesn't even think about lifing an arm. Wow.
2:24: Johan Franzen rips a wrister from the right wing just wide.
1:23: Stuart gets lucky then he gets unlucky. He loses control of the puck. Malkin is there to take it right off him. Malkin rips a hard heavy shot on Osgood. Osgood makes the save but gives up a poor rebound. Fedotenko is there to collect it and rips it by a stretched-out Osgood's glove hand. Awful, awful, awful goal for Detroit to give up. Stuart can't turn that puck over to a player like Malkin and Osgood needs to make a clean save. Kudos to the Penguins for converting that mistake. Malkin gets the only assist. Stuart and Osgood should share one. More than few happy Penguins fans are celebrating. Penguins 1, Red Wings 1.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Red Wings 1.
-Pretty solid period of hockey all around. Really physical.
-Mistakes led to each of the goals. Hal Gill could've done a better job getting the puck out of the zone on Stuart's goal, which was aided by a really lucky bounce.
-Obviously, Stuart and Osgood can't be that careless with the puck when Malkin's in their zone.
-So far, so good for Fleury. He's been tested a few times and he was only beat once on a lucky goal.
-The Penguins have really initiated the contact tonight. Last year, they seemed a little hesitant and almost waited for things to pick up. This year, they are taking it to the Red Wings.
-Detroit has an 11-7 lead in shots.
-No one has more than one for either team.
-Somethings don't change. Detroit has a 9-4 lead in faceoffs (69 percent).
-Darren Helm is 5-for-5 (100 percent).
-Crosby is 3-for-5 (60 percent).
-Jordan Staal is 0-for-5.
-What injury? Nicklas Lidstrom leads the game with 8:09 of ice time.
-Zetterberg is right behind him with 8:03.
-Crosby leads the Penguins with 7:26.
-We are happy to report that the wireless here is working fine and dandy. Last year, it crashed and the NHL's IT guy was running around with hs hands up screaming, "IT'S DOWN! IT'S DOWN!"
19:00ish: Malkin steals a puck in the defensive zone and seems to have a two-on-two in the works with Fedotenko. Before he can gain too much speed in the neutral zone, Hossa dives and makes a wonderful poke check to knock the puck off Malkin's blade.
17:23: From the right point, Philippe Boucher half-chips a one-timer. Osgood makes the save but gives up another iffy rebound.
16:36: Malkin steals a puck off Niklas Kronwall at the Penguins' blue line. Kronwall falls down and that sets Malkin free on a breakaway. Malkin races in, approaches net and goes forehand. Osgood gets a piece of it with his glove and makes a huge clutch save. That makes ammends for the rebound on Fedotenko's goal. That said, an MVP candidate needs to bury that.
16:06: Darren Helm gets a step on Letang on the outside on the left wing. Letang dives and knocks the puck off Helm's blade. Nice play.
15:22: We guess they're only calling penalties if the evidence is obvious. Talbot chases after a puck in the corner. Brett Lebda lumberjacks his stick and snaps it in half. That's two mintues for slashing. Malkin, Gonchar, Letang, Crosby and Bill Guerin are on for the power play.
14:24: Hossa steals the puck and drives it into the Penguins' zone killing some time.
13:48: Gonchar fires a one-timer from the right point. It hits something in front and trickles just wide. A Penguins player is there on the back door and has a chance at a garbage goal but can't seem to get a handle on the puck. We'd tell you more but once again, NBC fails to offer a replay. Instead they show that lame Sound of the Game feature with Justin Abdelkader.
13:20: Osgood covers a puck played in from the neutral zone. Lebda's penalty is killed. "Ozzzz-EEEEE! Ozzzz-EEEE!"
12:55: Mikael Samuelson puts a hand on Staal in the corner. Staal tumbles over. Officials call Samuelsson for holding. That's definitely holding, but we're not sure Staal didn't try to buy the call there. Crosby, Malkin, Guerin, Letang and Gonchar are on for the power play.
11:55: Detroit clears teh puck down ice for the third time this power play.
11:08: Gonchar has trouble with the puck at the left point and allows it to cross the blue line.
10:55: Samuelsson's penalty is killed. Awful effort by the Penguins' there. They can't waste these chances.
10:30: "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!!!!! (clap, clap, clap) LET'S-GO RED-WINGS!!!!! (clap, clap, clap)"
8:58: Malkin comes rusing into the offensive zone. Cooke seemed to be a step offsides. Officials are not having a good game.
8:09: Fleury reaches out and covers a puck played in. A small scrum breaks out in the crease. We negated to mention this earlier, but yes, there was an octopus tossed to the ice before the game.
7:50: Dan Bylsma appears to have pulled a Michel Therrien and has switched the lines. Malkin and Crosby did a shift with Cooke. Kennedy and Staal were teamed with Kunitz. Now, Malkin is with Fedotenko and Satan.
6:50ish: Malkin dishes a feed into the slot for Satan, Satan moves to his backhand and seems to have Osgood beaten, but he loses control of the puck.
6:29: Crosby moves into the offensive zone, fakes a slapper, does a spin move near Rafalski and backhands the puck. Osgood makes the save.
6:16: Craig Adams is called for hooking Hossa along the boards. Gill, Scuderi, Staal and Cooke are on fro the kill.
5:19: Brooks Orpik backhands a puck down ice from behind his net.
4:55: Rafalski has a little trouble handling the puck and allows it to leave the offensive zone.
4:29: Rafalski drives a slapper at the cage from the right point. Fleury makes the save despitehaving... guess who... Tomas Holmstrom in front. Officials halt play. Matt Cooke comes in and punches Holmstrom in the face. No call.
4:16: Adams' penalty is killed.
3:56: Fleury makes a save in tight. Again, no replay from NBC. A pretty big scrum breaks out.
3:03: Kunitz controls the puck in the corner, circles around and dishes a feed to Gill at the left point. Gill fires a one-timer his big pool skimmer. Osgood makes the save despite some serious traffic in front.
1:58: Gill gets away with a bit of ah old on his buddy HOlmstrom along the boards.
1:37: Kronwall puts a slapper from the right point just over the cage.
1:14: Bylsma makes an interesting decision and calls timeout. Maybe he wants to organize everyone to come to his room tonight in order to watch "City Hall:"
0:57: Not sure what that time out accomplished, but apparently Bylsma didn't teach his team the importance of getting th epuck out of the zone late in a period. Rafalski drives a slapper on net from the right point. It gets deflected wide. Franzen is at the side of the cage and is able to backhand it into the creae. It hits off Fleury's leg and bounces into the net. It's a garbage goal, but the Red Wings really worked hard for it. The Penguins just failed to get the puck out of their zone. Rafalski and Zetterberg get assists. Red Wings 2, Penguins 1.
0:00: End of period. Red Wings 2, Penguins 1.
-Another solid all around period. The Red Wings got a little bit of a lucky goal through hard work. The Penguins had a few nice chances, such as Malkin's breakaway, and failed to convert.
-The second was a little less physical than the first. Maybe that's because officials started calling some things.
-Amazing how ordinary the Penguins' power play looks when it's playing a team with a real defense huh?
-Detroit has a 22-20 edge in shots.
-Guerin, Malkin, Valtteri Filppula and Hossa each have three.
-Detroit is dominating in faceoffs, 26-10 (70 percent).
-Helm is 8-for-10 (80 percent).
-Crosby is 6-for-13 (46 percent).
-Lidstrom leads the game with 15:15 of ice time.
-Crosby is right behind him with 15:07.
-Kris Letang leads the game with three blocked shots.
19:31: Seems like Bylsma has returned the line combinations back to normal. Guerin, Kunitz and Crosby are together again.
18:40: Kronwall tries to line up Malkin at the Penguins blue line, leaves his feet to deliver the hit and totally misses. He lands butt-first into the boards and is shaken up a bit. He recovers to his feet and is limping a bit.
17:44: Helm gets behind, moves in on net and simply looses control of the puck. Fleury steers it away.
17:14: Detroit's third liners come through. Ville Leino gets the puck behind the net, fights off Mark Eaton and dishes a pass to Justin Abdelkader to the left of the net. Abdelkader snaps a wrister off that seems to hit the near post. It pops up in the air. Staal is there battling with Abdelkader but doesn't know where the puck is. Abdelkader knocks the puck down and strikes a wrister that flutters over Fleury on the stick side. More hard work producing dirty goals. Leino gets the only goal. Red Wings 3-1.
16:30: Letang gets a pass in the slot and drives a big slapper on net. Osgood is in perfect position and eats it up with Staal hounding him for a rebound.
15:54: Osgood comes up with another save. This one was a little luck though. Chris Kunitz throws a wrister at net from the left wing. Crosby is there and swats the puck off the post. The puck flutters up in the air and comes to a rest on Osgood's back. Zetterberg and Lidstrom jump on him and cover the puck. Kunitz jumps in and a scrum develops.
13:21: Dan Cleary pumps a slapper on net from the right wing. Fleury fights it off.
13:09: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
12:48: "LET'S-GO RED-WINGS! (clap, clap, clap) LET'S-GO RED-WINGS! (clap, clap, clap)"
10:26: Cooke gets a pass int he slot and directs his shot wide.
10:02: Crosby swats a puck wide of the net from the crease again.
9:01: Samuelsson drives a slapper from the Penguins' blue line. Fleury makes the save and distributes to a teammate.
8:21: Leino whips a wrister from the left wing. Fleury pushes it away.
7:38: Cleary gets to a loose puck in his slot and chips it down ice for icing. Detroit has been getting to most of the loose pucks this period. Mike Babcock calls time out to organize a night everyone can come over to watch "Sugar and Spice:"
6:01: The Penguins ice the puck. Faceoff in their zone.
5:45: Leino controls the puck behind the Penguins net, comes around and throws a wraparound attempt on net. No dice. The Penguins have very little going on offensively.
4:49: The Penguins can't even get past their own blue line with the puck. Cleary knocks the puck away from Malkin who then knocks down Cleary to regain it.
4:06: Detroit is just controlling play. They almost punche in a chance with Fleury scrambling around like chicken with his head cut off in the crease.
1:58: Fleury is pulled for an extra attacker.
1:44: Hossa emerges from a pack in Detroit's defensive zone and moves up ice with the puck. he shoots at the empty cage but a Penguins defender gets a piece of it.
1:20: Detroit just controlled the puck in the Penguins' zone for 20 seconds. Their puck possession is just amazing.
0:18: A Detroit player chips a puck up ice and takes an icing. It was worth it. He sent it down ice at such a slow pace it killed several seconds.
0:00: End of game. Detroit puts the puck down ice once more. Sergei Gonchar collects it and brings it up ice to end the game. Red Wings 3, Penguins 1.
-That was a pretty even game for about 42 minutes. Then Abdelkader's goal put Detroit up by a goal and allowed them to choke the life out of this game. The Penguins threws a bunch at them early and even controlled the game at points, but when you get down by a handful of goals on this team, it's almost a death sentence.
-Each team made mistakes. Neither was perfect. But Detroit found a way to capitalize on the Penguins foul ups (bad pun sorry) while the Penguins only were only really able to cash once chance in. Detroit didn't play a perfect game and the Penguins let them off the hook. Conversely, the Red Wings didn't let the Penguins off the hook.
-How key was Osgood's save on Malkin? If the Penguins' score there, this game has a completely different flow. Instead, each team kind of felt each other out in the second period and Detroit cashed in another dirty goal late in the second.
-Osgood rose to the occasion tonight. He made several tough saves and looked like a guy who knows what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.
-The Penguins need more out of Sidney Crosby. He produced some chances, but he was nothing like the player who dominated the first three rounds of these playoffs.
-Amazing how when Sidney Crosby is limited, Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz are too huh?
-The Penguins' defense can't allow the Red Wings' offense as much liberty as it had near the front of hte cage. Detroit's final two goals were off slightly lucky bounces, but they earned chances to score those goals by simply working hard in front of the net.
-Overall all, the Penguins defense was rather ordinary. Brooks Orpik had a few nice hits, Letang and other had a few nice individual nice defensive plays but they had tons of trouble just bringing the puck up ice.
-All in all, the Penguins played much better in this Game 1 than they did in last year's Game 1. If they get a little better luck with some of those bounces, we might be looking at 1-1 game heading into overtime.
-Darren Helm might've been the best player on the ice tonight. He didn't record a point, but he dominated in the faceoff circle, was phyisical and played amazing defense. We know Detroit has amazing depth, but how do they keep this guy in the AHL during the regular season.
-Speaking of faceoff dominance, even without Kris Draper and Pavel Datsyuk, the Red Wings ripped the Penguins in the faceoff circle. They won 39 and lost 17 (71 percent).
-Helm was 11 for 15 (73 percent).
-Zetterberg was 15 for 20 (75 percent).
-Malkin was 4-for-9 (44 percent).
-The Penguins actually outshot Detroit, 32-30.
-Bill Guerin led the game with five.
-Dan Cleary, Valterri Filppul and Marian Hossa each had three.
-The only Detroit skater without a shot was Niklas Kronwall.
-Niklas Lidstrom led the game with 24:07 of ice time.
-Gonchar led the Penguins with 23:21.
-Kris Letang led the game with five blocked shots.
-Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Kronwall each had two.
-Justin Abdelkader's goal was his first career playoff goal.
-Malkin took over the playoff scoring race from Crosby. He now has 29 points while Crosby has 28.
-Fedotenko's goal moved him into the top 40 on the franchise's career scoring list.
-Franzen tied Malkin and Carolina's Jussi Jokinen for the playoff lead in game-winning goals with three.
-Since 2007, Franzen leads the league with nine game-winning goals in the playoffs. Malkin is second with three.
-A little bit of breaking news here Former Penguins and Red Wings goaltender Hank Bassen died. He was in net for the Penguins first game in 1967, a 2-1 loss to Montreal. He was 76.
-We didn't really get a chance to see it, but apparently Crosby had a bit of a run in with Kirk Maltby late. Crosby even admitted to slashing him: