Thursday night's Game 4 saw the Penguins climb right back into this series, now making it a best of three and a new leader in the playoff pool. This is very exciting going forward.
The Penguins, much like the Red Wings, used their home-ice advantage to work for them, winning both games in the comfort of their own building. On Thursday, the Penguins rocked the Red Wings in the second period for 3 goals and took Game 4 by a score of 4-2. The third period, held to no goals, was a sign of maturity for the Penguins, as they were able to hold off the Red Wings onslaught and win the game. This now looks to be the series we were all waiting for.
Yes, we have a new leader in the pool as well. Trevor B. has been riding both of these teams to the top of the pool by just having the right combination of players. Granted, he and Steve W. are now tied in points, but Trevor does have the first tie-breaker in goals scored, so this is why we have a new leader. As foreseen earlier, Mike D. has now fallen out of the money and into 5th place, while Brad W. and Chris M. have moved either into or a little further into the money. Trevor, Steve, Brad & Chris should be considered the final four teams for the money, but there is the small matter of where they all finish up.
The Penguins were led by Sidney Crosby on Thursday night, as he scored the winning goal and added an assist for a 3-point night in the pool. When the Penguins needed him most, he really came through for the team. Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin both figured on the score sheet with a goal and an assist each, while Marc-Andre Fleury received his customary 2 points for earning the win. Fleury made 37 stops in the effort for the win, so it was well-deserved.
Malkin leads the pool in scoring, both in this series and overall. His 38 points is 5 better than Crosby's 33 points. In the first four games of this series, Malkin has 7 points, leading six others who have 4 points each.
Crosby's game-winner on Thursday night was only his second GWG bonus point of these playoffs, but with the possibility of two more goals, he could end up with the playoffs bonus point title when it's all said and done. He's still a ways back from being the playoff pool MVP, but a GWG title would be rather fitting for him. I'm sure the 38 people in the pool that have him will agree.
The "Will he or won't he" saga of Pavel Datsyuk's continued on Thursday night, as he deemed himself unfit to go with his foot problems in Game 4. He still hasn't played a game in these playoffs and Chris M., who is in 4th place right now, is chomping at the bit to see him in the line-up, as no one else in the top four have him.