The combination of early goals and stellar defense has been the key and just enough for the Detroit Red Wings to capture victories over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Monday night, Chris Osgood made 22 saves for his second shutout in as many games to propel the Red Wings half way home to winning their 11th Stanley Cup. Their last Championship season came in 2002 but they are two wins away from capturing the title again. The shutout was Osgood’s 13th playoff shutout of his career.
“I play the game as it comes,” Osgood said. “I love playing behind these guys. I don’t need 40 shots to play the game or to feel good. I’m confident regardless. I’m not really into stats too much, just into winning.”
Brad Stuart scored the Wings first goal 6:55 into the first period and Thomas Holmstrom netted the games second goal 11:18 into the same frame. This was Holmstrom’s 4th goal of the playoffs and gave his defense a little breathing room, not that they really needed it.
This Penguins offensive unit that scored 247 goals during the regular season has now been held scoreless for 6 consecutive periods. Captain Sidney Crosby hopes that things can change when the series shifts to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4.
“We just have to execute,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “Did they really get that many scoring chances on us? I don’t think they did. They got a few and put them in. We hit a post, and pucks go through us by the net that we don’t put in. That’s the difference.”
The series continues Wednesday night at 8:00 pm in Pittsburgh.
After some enthralling game 7′s the 1st round of the 2008 NHL Playoffs is now complete. 2nd round matchups are now set and NHL Playoff tickets are now available for all games.
Eastern ConferenceMontreal Canadiens vs Philadelphia Flyers: Both teams played a hard fought 7 game series in round 1. After getting off to a 3-1 game lead over the Boston Bruins the Canadiens were forced to play game 7 at home. The Habs shutout the Bruins 5-0 in that deciding game to advance. The Flyers won game 7 in overtime against the Washington Capitals.
Canadiens Playoff TicketsFlyers Playoff TicketsPittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers: The Penguins made quick work of the Senators in round 1, sweeping Ottawa in four straight. The New York Rangers also had a quick 1st round, eliminating the Devils in 5 games.
Penguins Playoff TicketsRangers Playoff TicketsWestern ConferenceColorado Avalanche vs Detroit Red Wings: The Avalanche needed 6 games to get past The Wild in round 1. Colorado will face the Red Wings in round 2. Detroit also had a 6 game 1st round series disposing of the Nashville Predators.
Avalanche Playoff TicketsRed Wings Playoff TicketsDallas Stars vs San Jose Sharks: The Stars needed 6 games to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks in round 1. They will face the San Jose Sharks in the 2nd round. The Sharks are coming off an exciting 7 game series with the Calgary Flames.
Stars Playoff TicketsSharks Playoff Tickets
The NHL Playoff Matchups are set. The eight top teams in the Eastern Conference are ready to fight for the chance to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup.
1. Montreal Canadiens vs 8. Boston Bruins
The Canadiens have owned the Bruins recently, sweeping the 8-game season series by a margin of 44-16, and winning the last 11 total games. The B’s will be getting Patrice Bergeron back in time for game one, which comes at the same time as the Canadiens suffering some pre-playoff injuries. This may be the edge they need to keep this series competitive.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins vs 7. Ottawa Senators
The tag team of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby face off against the faltering Senators. The former Eastern Conference 1st place team has come up lame recently, but is still nearly the same team that made it to the Stanley Cup final a year ago, and went 15-2 to start the year. The Pens are still the heavy favorites in this series.
3. Washington Capitals vs 6. Philadelphia Flyers
The Washington Capitals were essentially dead in the water at midseason. Alexander Ovechkin led the Caps back into playoff contention, winning nine of the last ten games and locking up the number three seed in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers finished dead last in the East least year. This year they have been consistent throughoutall season, gaining a number six seed. The Flyers’ chances looked a bit better against the Hurricanes, who blew their playoff spot in the waning days of the season. The Caps are the early favorites in this matchup.
4. New Jersey Devils vs 5. New York Rangers
Formidable goaltenders Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist meet up in this Tri-State series. The Rangers have had more offensive firepower as of late, but the Devils’ D has been solid in the stretch. Look for low scores and exhausted top lines in this series. The Rangers hope that Chris Drury will provide some playoff magic, while the Devils look to season finale hero Patrik Elias to provide an advantage in the shootout.
The NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs are about to start!
The Boston Bruins are on a tear. Their Saturday matinee win over the Atlanta Thrashers was their 6th straight. The B’s have used this streak to close the gap between themselves and the recently struggling Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators. Currently the Bruins sit in 6th place, tied with the surging New York Rangers. Phil Kessel showed his shootout prowess again, scoring the game winner for the black and gold.
Monday night the Bruins will match up against the Washington Capitals on the road.
At the trading deadline, the Pittsburgh Penguins added Marian Hossa, Hal Gill, and Pascal Dupuis to their roster. The Boston Bruins stood pat, deciding to keep their young players and not interfere with the chemistry the team had developed all season.
Even without young star Patrice Bergeron (sidelined since October with a grade 3 concussion), the Bruins have become a force to be reckoned with in the East. After a 4-win, 1 overtime loss road trip; the B’s returned home to annihilate the conference-best Ottawa Senators with a 4-0 shutout. The Bruins are now in 6th place with 74 points; 3 points behind the Canadiens for 5th place.
On Thursday night the B’s faced off against the 4th place Penguins. With Sidney Crosby out for at least 2 more weeks, Evgeni Malkin has been putting up similar numbers in his abscence.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the defense allowed Marco Sturm to score twice in the first period, setting the tone for the rest of the game. Captain Zdeno Chara and PJ Axelsson scored in the second on mental mistakes by the Pen’s D.
The Penguins seemed to hit the boiling point in the third period. At about at 10:36 a scuffle broke out that resulted in roughing penalties for Wideman and Chara, and a boarding call on Pitt’s Maxime Talbot. A couple minutes after the tussle, new Penguin Pascal Dupuis scored their only goal of the night.
The highlight of the game may have been when 19-year-old Milan Lucic threw off the gloves and grappled with Jarkko Ruutu for nearly two minutes. The fight gave the team (and the fans) a boost. Only seconds later a Mark Stuart shot deflected off of David Krejci’s foot for the 5th goal of the game.
Another decisive victory against a higher-seeded team helps the B’s playoff chances. They will look to extend their seven-game point streak on Saturday against the Atlanta Thrashers.
Recap: No one is going to question the ability of Sidney Crosby and his first half numbers back him as the best young player in the NHL. At 20 years old, Crosby continues to impress teams by evading double teams and finding his open teammates. This style of unselfish play is great for the team, and good enough to put Crosby among the league leaders in points (63) and in the lead for assists (43). (more)