Penguins Notebook: Red Wings' penalty-kill formation is a 'new' look
May 26, 2008 4:00 AM
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
Penguins' goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has multiple pucks shot at him at practice Sunday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
By Dave Molinari Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DETROIT -- The Penguins made some major changes to their forward lines in practice yesterday in an effort to generate more offense in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final tonight.
Whether -- or how -- they'll adjust their power play in an effort to get more out of it isn't clear.
Matchup: Penguins at Detroit Red Wings, 8:08 p.m. today, Joe Louis Arena.
Series: Red Wings, 1-0.
TV, radio: Versus; WXDX-FM (105.9).
Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury for Penguins. Chris Osgood for Red Wings.
Penguins: Played from behind for 26 minutes, 59 seconds in 4-0 loss in Game 1 after trailing just 115 minutes, 37 seconds in previous 14 games. ... RW Tyler Kennedy has gotten all four of his assists on the road. ... Eight players have contributed winning goals in these playoffs.
Red Wings: Are 8-1 at home. ... D Brian Rafalski has failed to get a point in four consecutive games. ... Have trailed at first intermission just once in 17 games this spring.
Hidden stat: C Sidney Crosby has points in 10 of Penguins' 15 playoff games, with two or more in nine of them.
It might not be a bad idea, though, because the Penguins were 0 for 5 with the extra man in their 4-0 loss to Detroit in Game 1 at Joe Louis Arena Saturday night. Four of those failures came in the first period, when a goal by the Penguins could have altered the course of the game.
"We had a couple of chances, and just couldn't find the back of the net," forward Ryan Malone said.
He characterized the Red Wings' approach to penalty killing as one the Penguins hadn't seen all season, in which the Detroit players drop back into their defensive positions and allow the Penguins to get organized, then move forward to pressure them as the Penguins start to move up the ice.
"It's something different," he said, "but we'll make adjustments to that."
Point man Sergei Gonchar agreed that "we should adjust a little bit, do some different things," but cautioned against overreacting.
"We created some chances," he said. "Sometimes, the puck doesn't go in for you, [but] you have to stick with the plan and do the things you've been successful with."
Gonchar, Lidstrom not scoring
Although the No. 1 defenseman on both teams is a major offensive threat, you wouldn't necessarily know it by their goal production of late.
Gonchar does not have one in his past 13 games, while Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom has failed to score in 11 in a row.
Nonetheless, Lidstrom, who had one disallowed in Game 1 when referee Dan O'Halloran ruled teammate Tomas Holmstrom had interfered with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, is tied for third place on the list of all-time playoff goals by a defenseman.
Lidstrom and Raymond Bourque have 41, while Paul Coffey has 59 and Denis Potvin 56.
Fleury trips up teammates
Fleury doesn't seem to be letting the stresses of falling behind in a series for the first time this spring get to him.
Before Game 1, he tripped while going onto the ice for the opening faceoff. Apparently intent on avoiding a recurrence -- and in giving his teammate a chuckle -- he practiced going on and off the ice repeatedly during yesterday's practice.
Fleury fielded questions about his pratfall good-naturedly in the wake of Game 1, and Sidney Crosby acknowledged that Fleury's co-workers "all got a good laugh about that after the game."
"Anyone that could do it and have a smile on his face, it's him," Crosby said.
Fleury's funny bone apparently wasn't damaged when he fell, because he also livened up the locker room after practice by spraying a fire extinguisher at several teammates while they showered.
"I just wanted to clean the guys up," he said.
Malone shrugs off hit
Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall was credited with three hits in Game 1, including a big one that dropped Malone inside the Penguins' blue line during a first-period power play.
"Obviously, I didn't see him there," Malone said. "It happens."
That Kronwall likes to throw high-impact checks hardly is news to the Penguins, but Malone said yesterday he had no misgiving about absorbing that hit or resisting the temptation to seek quick revenge for it.
"The scary part is, I'd probably do it again," he said. "In the regular season, you might go after him, but it's the playoffs. You just take the hit and keep going.
"It's a long series, so if you get a chance to [avenge] yourself, got out there and get a big hit on him ... but the biggest thing is winning the game."
Fifteen teams that lost Game 1 of the final have rebounded to win the Cup since the league adopted a best-of-seven format in 1939. One of those was the 1991 Penguins, who lost the opener to Minnesota. The most recent team to lose Game 1 on the road and take the series was Montreal, which did it against Calgary in 1986. ... Crosby said he and his teammates were "pretty surprised" by the large number of Penguins fans who attended Game 1.