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.
While Malkin was spectacular at both ends of the ice, the Penguins got much needed contributions from key role players.
Pittsburgh looking to strike first, got on the board 4:38 into the game on a goal from Max Talbot who buried a beautiful pass from Evgeni Malkin as Talbot found a soft spot in the high slot.
Minutes later, Henrik Zetterberg and the Red Wings halted the Penguins momentum, Zetterberg (10) scored at 6:19 of the first.
In the first two games of the series only 6 minor penalties were called. Prior to the game, the league informed officials to call the game closer and special teams ended up playing a big part in the Penguins 4-2 win.
Pittsburgh scored two power play goals, one from Kris Letang at 15:57 of the first period and Sergei Gonchar’s game winner at 10:29 of the third period.
Pittsburgh had better puck movement against the Red Wings aggressive penalty kill and most importantly, they established a net presence, Bill Guerin screened Chris Osgood on Gonchar’s game winner.
Marc Andre Fleury rebounded from giving up two first period goals including a momentum killer as Henrik Zetterberg scored less than two minutes after Talbot’s opening goal.
Fleury made 27 saves including 14 stops in the second period as Pittsburgh was outshot 14-4 in the second and 29-21 in the game.
The vibe around the locker from the players is that tonight’s win will be a confidence booster for Marc Andre Fleury who struggled in games 1 & 2.
Despite two lackluster starts to open the series, the players claim they haven’t lost faith in Fleury’s ability to carry the team to four wins in five games. Now they have three more to go.
The key to the game was Pittsburgh coming out with a really strong third period. With the game tied at 2-2, the pressure was on Pittsburgh who were facing the possibility of going down 0-3 in the series.
Pittsburgh showed composure scoring two goals in the third period to prevail to a 4-2 win.
The composure that the team showed can be attributed to defenseman Sergei Gonchar who netted the game winner.
“What a leader,” Max Talbot said, regarding Gonchar’s presence on the team.
Detroit was the better team Tuesday night but just like games 1 & 2, timely goals was the key to which team would become victorious.
Game 4 is Thursday night
Johan Franzen (12) also scored for the Red Wings. Sidney Crosby recorded his first point of the series.
Kris Letang who came into Tuesday night’s game as a game time decision, had a goal and an assist. Letang played his best game of the series.
Chris Osgood’s career Stanley Cup record falls to 10-3.