Series tied 2-2
Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby each had a goal and an assist and Marc Andre Fleury made 37 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 Thursday night at Mellon Arena to even the series at 2-2.
The series now turns to a best of three as the series shifts back to Detroit, Saturday night.
Looking to avoid going down three games to one and end the pattern of last year’s finals, Pittsburgh looked to it’s two super star centers in Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and their goaltender Marc Andre Fleury to tie the series at 2-2.
The absence of M.V.P. Finalist Pavel Datsyuk finally came back to haunt the Red Wings who could not combat the Penguins depth down the middle in game 4.
Evgeni Malkin (35pts) who is enjoying the best postseason since Wayne Gretzky (40 pts) in 1993, was the games most dominant player at both ends of the ice.
Malkin scored 2:38 into the game but it was Jordan Staal who sparked a three goal second period, which sucked the life out of the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Down 2-1, in the second period, the game was beginning to look like a typical Red Wings series where they would show that killer instinct and pull away.
With two seconds remaining on an Evgeni Malkin hooking penalty, Brooks Orpik was called for a two minute tripping penalty and momentum was with Detroit.
Just moments later, Jordan Staal turned the game around, taking an outlet pass from Max Talbot and using a power move to beat Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski and Staal made a quick backhand to forehand shot that beat Chris Osgood to tie the game at 2-2.
The goal instantly changed momentum and the Penguins dynamic duo seized the opportunity after that.
Off of a Detroit Red Wings turnover in the offensive zone, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby came in on a 2-on-1 and Malkin on a second chance, fed Sidney Crosby with a beautiful cross ice pass, and Crosby (15) netted his first goal of the series at 10:34 of the second period.
It was a brilliant display from two of the games best players.
Crosby and the Penguins struck minutes later on a tic-tack-toe play with Tyler Kennedy burying a cross ice pass from Sidney Crosby at 14:12 of the second period and the Penguins jumped out to a commanding 4-2 lead.
Pittsburgh scored 3 goals in less than 6 minutes and what they showed after that was the ability to close out a game.
Pittsburgh’s “big three” down the middle were phenomenal, combining for 6 points in the game but it was Marc Andre Fleury who kept the Red Wings off the scoreboard in the third period, making 37 saves on 39 shots in the game and winning his 14th game of the playoffs.
Pittsburgh showed heart and determination climbing back from a situation where the Red Wings led 2-1 and had all the momentum.
This showed the art of being a championship team. It was a rare sight seeing the Penguins rattle the Red Wings in the second period.
Now it is a series. A best of three, by the way