Media Blitz begins for Evgeni Malkin

 

Regardless of the outcome of the next two games, the Pittsburgh Penguins have begun a media blitz for Evgeni Malkin to get serious Conn Smythe Trophy consideration. The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs and the award can go to a player on the winning team or the losing team. Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere was the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner, despite the Anaheim Ducks losing to the New Jersey Devils in seven games during the Cup Finals. 2003 was also the last year that the home team won every game in the Stanley Cup Finals. 2009 Top Candidates 1. PIT Evgeni Malkin (14g-21a-35pts-+2) – The playoffs points leader has been the most dominant player in the series aside from his antics in game 5. Malkin has 12 multi-point games in the playoffs and holds an 11 point edge overRead More »

Detroit takes control of the series

 

Detroit leads series, 3-2 The Detroit Red Wings put to rest any talk that momentum was moving towards Pittsburgh as the Detroit Red Wings crushed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena to take a 3-2 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. The presence of Pavel Datsyuk in the lineup for the first time in the series, changed the mental makeup of the Wings and Datsyuk made his presence felt early and often, finishing the game with 2 assists and was a calming presence on the power play. Three power play goals by the Red Wings in the second period did the Penguins in, who were undisciplined and frustrated throughout the game. Despite playing at 85%, Pavel Datsyuk was among the games top performers at both ends of the ice. “He did very well for being off for as long as he has been,” Detroit RedRead More »

Game 5 Pregame News and Notes

 

Series Tied, 2-2 Morning notes as both teams prepare for game 5 * Pavel Datsyuk participated in the Red Wings morning skate and as expected he will play wing tonight. Datsyuk has missed 7 consecutive games with a small fracture in his foot. Datsyuk’s lateral movement has looked much better than it did a few days ago. Datsyuk will replace Ville Leino in the lineup. With winger Dan Cleary ( Groin, GTD) missing the morning skate, the lines for tonight are unknown but it is expected that Datsyuk will play with Marian Hossa and Valtteri Filppula. Babcock will also likely use Zetterberg and Datsyuk together at times. Datsyuk is not 100% but he gives the Red Wings a much needed boost and options. The Red Wings remain banged up with a number of injuries. Brian Rafalski remains bothered by a right shoulder injury and did not skate this morning. RafalskiRead More »

Penguins have right of way in extended series

 

By Paul Ladewski When Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma talks about the importance of his team to play “The Right Way,” it’s code for an aggressive, up-tempo style designed to accentuate its youth and athleticism and tire opponents late in games. So far, so good. Not only did Penguins get back into the Stanley Cup Finals with back-to-back victories against the Red Wings at home, but they made considerable inroads in the war of attrition as well. In the four games thus far, the Penguins own a 43-25 advantage in shots on goal in the third period, which was fairly indicative of their edge in play. The Red Wings were some tired puppies late in games, a fact that even head coach Mike Babcock alluded to after Game 4 on Thursday evening. “Sometimes we can read too much into energy level, just because when a team gets going, it hasRead More »

Gonchar nets game winner; Penguins beat Red Wings 4-2

 

Detroit leads series, 2-1 Sergei Gonchar (3) scored mid way through the third period to break a 2-2 tie and Max Talbot (6) added two goals including an empty net goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 Tuesday night at Mellon Arena to cut the Red Wings series lead in half, (2-1). In a must win situation, Pittsburgh was led by NHL scoring champion Evgeni Malkin Tuesday night who added three assists to record his 11th multi-point game in the playoffs and push his playoff points total to 33.

Penguins remain confident and claim “series is not over”

 

Facing a must win situation Tuesday night, the Penguins remain confident and don’t appear frustrated as the team is in the same position that they were last year. “You know, I don’t think we should be frustrated, I don’t think we are frustrated, because the series not over,” Sergei Gonchar said. “You know, we’re playing better, having chances, series is not over. Going into this series we knew it was not going to be easy playing against great team and we knew it was going to be tough.” *Forward Sidney Crosby who has been held scoreless in the series did not speak to the media on Monday during the Penguins off-day. Despite being held pointless, Crosby is getting chances and he is determined to get the Penguins back into the series. Expect a big game from Crosby Tuesday night. *Watching Henrik Zetterberg for the second straight year in the StanleyRead More »

Bylsma making “rookie mistakes” in Cup Finals; Crosby gets 19:36 minutes of ice time in game 2

 

With an off day on Monday, one area of criticism expected to be thrown at Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma will be the limited ice time for star forward Sidney Crosby (19:36). In the magnitude of the Stanley Cup Finals, Crosby’s ice time is much lower than the ice time 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Henrik Zetterberg is getting. In game 2, Zetterberg had 23:18 minutes of ice time including 21:14 minutes at even strength compared to Crosby who had 18:54 minutes of ice time at even strength. The playoffs are all about matchups, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock has used Henrik Zetterberg to matchup against Crosby for nearly even shift of Crosby’s. The Crosby – Zetterberg matchup got into Bylsma’s head in game 2 as he tried to stay away from that matchup and it resulted in Crosby only getting 18:54 minutes of ice time at evenRead More »

Zetterberg tops the list of Elite performers in game 1

 

Game 1 Top Performers 1. DET Henrik Zetterberg, C, – Matching up against Sidney Crosby, Henrik Zetterberg was able to neutralize Crosby and slow down the games top player. Zetterberg had an assist in the game and was 75% on draws, winning 15 of 20. Zetterberg’s dominance in the face-off circle led to Johan Franzen’s game winning goal as Zetterberg beat Sidney Crosby on a face-off in the offensive zone. Crosby was 30% on draws and Jordan Staal was 31.6% in the face off in the face-off circle. An area where the Penguins must improve in game 2. 2. DET Chris Osgood, G, – Chris Osgood made 31 saves and made key stops at key moments. Pittsburg had a number of prime scoring chances, including an Evgeni Malkin breakaway. Pittsburgh was not able to solve Osgood. 3. DET Darren Helm, C, – The speedy forward did not make it onRead More »

The Latest on Sykora, Bouwmeester, Zetterberg and Shanahan

 

Sykora would like to re-sign with Pittsburgh Dave Molinari reports on the status of Penguins right winger Petr Sykora who will be a UFA following the season. Sykora has made it known he would like to stay but he will have to decide whether taking a bit of a home town discount to stay with the Penguins is worth it. Sykora may have to settle for a two year deal with the Penguins. Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports, that Sykora could command a 3 yr deal worth $11-$12 million on the open market. Talks with Zetterberg at an impasse? The Detroit Red Wings felt going into training camp that negotiations with star forward Henrik Zetterberg would be a lot easier than they currently are. The Red Wings were hopeful that Zetterberg would take a slight discount like Pavel Datsyuk did but that is not the case. The Wings cannot moveRead More »