Well, Game 1 did start with all the intensity that everyone was looking for and it was a pretty good start to the Cup Finals altogether. Detroit, as the home team, did take home ice advantage and got all of the bounces off the lively boards at Joe Louis Arena to help take the game by the throat and run with it. The Wings took Game 1 with a score of 3-1, opening up the series lead at 1-0.
The defense of the Red Wings was on top of it's game on Saturday, keeping the bulk of Pittsburgh's 32 shots to the outside, trying to give Chris Osgood an easier time in net, but he did have to make a number of good saves, including a breakaway stop on Evgeni Malkin when the score was tied at 1-1.
Only two Red Wings hit better than a single point, both Johan Franzen (GWG) and Chris Osgood (win) both left the game with a pair of points, Osgood's certainly being the more valuable, as everyone in the top levels has Franzen. Also picking up points in the pool were Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart, Henrik Zetterberg, Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko. If you had any of those players, you would be in good shape.
Points were at a premium in Game 1, but there were some good players picking them up, so you probably were not left in the cold completely.
On Sunday, Game 2 didn't quite have the same feeling to start the game, but the result didn't change a single bit from Game 1 the day before. The Penguins could seem to solve the Red Wings after period one again, but they did carry a lead into the second, which might be considered a small victory, which counts for nothing in the end. The Red Wings ended up flexing their home ice muscles again, winning the game by the same score of 3-1, taking a 2-0 series lead to Pittsburgh for Tuesday night.
Amazingly, it was a night for the young kids to show up and dominate for Detroit, which sounds really strange, doesn't it? Jonathan Ericsson, Valtteri Filppula and Justin Abdekader all tallied for the Red Wings, keeping any goals away from the playoff pool.
Actually making an impact in the hockey pool on Sunday were Marian Hossa (2 assists), Tomas Holmstrom (2 assists) and Chris Osgood (win), all picking up a pair of points for the poolies in Game 2. Also picking up single points in the pool in Game 2 were Bill Guerin, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Jiri Hudler. This game was not a marvel for pool scoring again, which is trending against any big movement in the pool altogether.
After two nights in the Cup Finals, we have a new occupant in second place and a larger lead. The lead has now been extended to 3 points, as Steve W. opened up a little bit of a gap over 2nd place. Trevor B. had a couple of good games, moving him past Mike D. on the goals for tie-breaker. Both teams now sitting 3 back of Steve for 1st. Mike E. has jumped up to 4th place over Brad W. and Chris M., sitting 2 points over both of them. Paul W. has dropped down a bit further, now 6 points back, tied with Dale C. #2. This does now look to be a six team race going forward, as the gap between 7th & 8th to 4th is now 8 points.
Well, a quick recap of the game-winning goal bonus points in the first two games of the series. Johan Franzen now tied Evgeni Malkin for the playoff pool lead in GWG bonus points with his winner in Game 1. They both now have 3 bonus points between them. In Game 2, it was Valtteri Filppula who scored the winner in the second period to help lead Detroit to the win. Sadly, his goal was not a counter in the pool, leaving us at 1-for-2 in counting bonus points so far in these Finals. With the way that these playoffs are going, I would expect to see Franzen or Malkin to score one more to keep the title winners total consistent with four goals a piece.
Over the two games, the only injury of note continues to be Pavel Datsyuk, who didn't play in either game in Detroit over the weekend. His bruised foot has not been cleared by doctors to continue playing, but as of right now, no one seems to mind in Detroit. Oh yeah, there are a few people who seem to mind in the hockey pool though.