Detroit Steals Game 1 of Stanley Cup Finals

Puck bounces Detroit’s way as they hold off the Penguins in Stanley Cup opener.

By Bryan Mongeau-Eastmond, staff writer

DETROIT (RPRN) 5/31/09- Things certainly didn’t go the Pittsburgh Penguins way in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. Not by a long shot. There is no real logical explanation for it, but sometimes the puck just doesn’t bounce in your favor.

No one knows this better than Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury who saw two innocent shots go off the end boards at Joe Louis Arena only to find their way in the back of the net.

“It’s amazing,” Sidney Crosby said of the bounces off the boards. “It makes the game that much quicker. It’s tough to read. They got a couple bounces tonight and hopefully we’ll get a couple.”

The best-of-seven-series is set to resume May 31, in Detroit.

It’s all about opportunities at this stage of the playoffs and the Wings were fortunate enough to capitalize on their scoring chances. The same could not be said for Pittsburgh.

With the game tied 1-1 early in the second period, Evgeni Malkin, who has been a non-factor up until the Eastern Conference Finals, generated the best scoring chance of the game, only to be denied by Chris Osgood on a breakaway.

After catching a couple of lucky bounces, the defending champions took a 2-1 lead after two periods with goals from Brad Stuart and Johan Franzen.

At this point, the Wings were still wary of the Pens. But relief came in the form of an emerging superstar. Justin Abdelkader took the grandest stage of them all to score his first NHL playoff goal of his young career. The 22-year-old secured the victory for the home team by catching his own rebound and sneaking it past Fleury’s right shoulder.

“That was huge for us to get that insurance goal,” Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “I thought that line did a tremendous job hanging onto the puck down low in Pittsburgh’s end. And when you do that, the other team has to play some defense, has to stay in their own zone and play strong defensively.”

No question that Detroit has never really saw the Pens at their best. Not last in last year’s finals and certainly not in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Sid the Kid will certainly be looking to turn the Pens fortune around against a tough Detroit team who has been playing really well down the stretch.

Red Wings lead series 1 – 0

GAME 1: DET 3, PIT 1
GAME 2: May 31 @ DET, 8pm
GAME 3: June 2 @ PIT, 8pm
GAME 4: June 4 @ PIT, 8pm
*GAME 5: June 6 @ DET, 8pm
*GAME 6: June 9 @ PIT, 8pm
*GAME 7: June 12 @ DET, 8pm

*If necessary
Photo of Sidney Crosby and Chris Osgood courtesy of the National Hockey League

Read all of Bryan’s stories here

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