Red Wings: First loss in series not major setback
Gary Roberts, right, clears Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom from in front of the net in the first period last night.
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What, Detroit worry?
The playoff-wizened Red Wings last night reacted to their first armor chink, their first goal against and their first loss in this Stanley Cup final with a collective shrug.
"[The Penguins] came out like they did before," offered winger Mikael Samuelsson, meaning badly. "And we came out like we did before, too. Probably even a little better."
True, the Red Wings gathered a whopping 9-1 advantage in shots to break open this Game 3. But none of those shots eluded Marc-Andre Fleury.
So the Penguins scored first, after a 137-minute, 25-second series wait, then scored second -- both by Sidney Crosby -- and also scored fourth.
Yet to hear the visitors tell it, this 3-2 Penguins survival test of a victory was less a credit to the home side and more the fault of Detroit.
"It was us," defenseman Brian Rafalski said. "First goal was a turnover. Second goal was a power play. Third goal was a bad bounce."
Yeah, off goaltender Chris Osgood's right rear flank, on a shot from behind the net by a Penguins gent hardly known for goal scoring from any ZIP code let alone such a celebrated playmaker's territory, Adam Hall.
That winning goal was, indeed, downright cheeky on the night of consecutive Mellon Arena sellout No. 66, which seems to be a magical franchise number, right? That goal was not, however, considered a harbinger by the Red Wings, who proudly lug a 2-1 series lead back into this same venue Saturday night for Game 4.
"We're still on top," defenseman Andrea Lilja said. "If we can pull one out in the next game, we'll be in good shape."
They're not fretting over Osgood, the veteran netminder who saw both his stick and his shutout streak get broken by Crosby with barely 21/2 minutes left in the first period, snapping a 154:58 shutout streak. Not even the Hall goal overtly bothered them.
They're not concerned about the final 6:20 of the first period and the 9:08 overall in which they went without a shot, nor the 15-minute span when they mustered just two. They're not fearful about awaking a heretofore quiet Crosby -- "He's a good player; everybody knows that," Samuelsson said -- or a slumbering Penguins offense.
"They had their part of the game, we had our part of the game," Samuelsson added, referring to Detroit's third-period flourish -- they had 16 shots in all -- and his goal near the end.
They're not openly sweating about much of anything. However, coach Mike Babcock faulted Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk for trying to "do too much" and, referring to himself, added, "I thought the coach played them too much."
Funny, but Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar, at 26:45, played two minutes more than Zetterberg and four more than Datsyuk.
"We can't expect to win four-nothing," Samuelsson said of the series. "We knew it was going to be really, really tough in this building."
Brad Stuart's turnover arranged Crosby's first goal. Niklas Kronvall's penalty set up Crosby's second. Osgood's muff behind the net, and off his behind into the net, transformed Hall into a Mario Lemieux. So it wasn't a stellar night in the Detroit defensive zone. Not that it caused the Red Wings any extra consternation.
"They came out harder than we expected," Samuelsson said.
First Published May 29, 2008 1:04 am