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Game 2 Notebook: Game ends with fireworks

Superstars Zetterberg and Malkin fight in closing seconds

Monday, 06.01.2009 / 1:36 AM / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Game 2 Notebook: Game ends with fireworks
There were two penalties called in the first 59 minutes of Game 2.  There were five called in the last minute.  Those penalties can be attributed to the unexpected fight between superstars Henrik Zetterberg and Evgeni Malkin.

In the fight for a loose puck in front of the Detroit goal in the final seconds, Malkin started to push Zetterberg from behind.  That led to a fight in front of the Wings’ goal, with two of the game’s best dropping the gloves.  Both sides exchanged blows before the referees could break them up.

Zetterberg attributed the fight to the heightened emotions of the playoffs.

“Well, I think in the playoffs and finals like this, there is a lot of emotions, a lot of feelings,” Zetterberg said after the game.  “When you get scrums that's the way it is.  It should be a lot of feelings, and you know, nothing more than that.”

Zetterberg walked away with a five-minute major for fighting, but Malkin picked up much more.  The Penguins’ assistant captain received a five-minute major, a ten-minute misconduct, and the instigator penalty for starting the fight.  A player awarded an instigator minor in the last five minutes is suspended for his next game.

However, the NHL holds the power to overturn the instigator ruling.  In a press release issued shortly after the game, National Hockey League Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell pointed to the official rules.

From the press release:

Rule 47.22 states: "A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five minutes or at any time in overtime shall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident.  The director of hockey operations will review every such incident and may rescind the suspension based on a number of criteria. The criteria for the review shall include, but not be limited to, the score, previous incidents, etc..."

Of the review, Campbell said: "None of the criteria in this rule applied in this situation. Suspensions are applied under this rule when a team attempts to send a message in the last five minutes by having a player instigate a fight.  A suspension could also be applied when a player seeks retribution for a prior incident.  Neither was the case here and therefore the one game suspension is rescinded."

Coach Mike Babcock said he assumed Malkin would be playing, even before the press release.

“I don't think anything will happen,” Babcock said at his press conference.  “I think they're competing hard and they're frustrated. Their team is playing hard.”

Rookie surge

The Wings would be quick to say that experience has helped them return to the Stanley Cup finals.  But it has been their rookies, not their veterans, finding the back of the net.  Rookies Jonathan Ericsson and Justin Abdelkader found the back of the net in Game 2 for the Wings.  In fact, Detroit rookies have factored in on three of the Wings’ six goals in the first two games.

Babcock said that he’s surprised by the way the rookies have performed this postseason.

“If you thought Ericsson and Leino, and Abdelkader and Helm were playing for us, someone told me that at the start of the year, I would say, yeah, we're in game 82, and we were finishing off the season,” Babcock said.  “I wouldn't think we were in the Stanley Cup finals.”

Red Wings in good company

With wins in Games 1 and 2 at home, the Wings have history on their side in the quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.  Teams that have swept the first two games of the finals at home have went on to win the Cup 31 of 32 times.  The 1971 Chicago Blackhawks were the only team to not wrap up the series, losing to the Montreal Canadiens.

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