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Pens say they'll be "OK" 5-on-5

Wings' defensemen held Pittsburgh to seven shots through last 2 periods

Sunday, 05.25.2008 / 12:01 PM / News
By Lindsey Ungar  - DetroitRedWings.com Special Writer
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Pens say they\'ll be \"OK\" 5-on-5
DETROIT — Seven shots through the final 40 minutes of Game 1. Just one shot from Sidney Crosby and none off Evgeni Malkin’s stick over the same time span.

And a fat goose egg in the column marked “goal.”

But if looking at the scoresheet wasn’t horrifying enough, the Penguins had an opportunity to look at tape of the Red Wings evoking Jordin Sparks’ hit “No Air” prior to practice on Sunday afternoon.

How is Sidney Crosby supposed to breathe with Selke Trophy nominees Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg pitted against him?

While the Penguins plan on shifting around lines, the Crosby-Zetterberg dual will continue in Game 2 on Monday.

“We're still OK with it,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “Five-on-five, I think it was pretty equal. And obviously that line for us, it's a big part of our success. And it's the same thing with them. That was a good matchup.”

Zetterberg recorded his goal on the power play with 13 seconds left in the game. Datsyuk’s defensive effort was highlighted by six hits, including a knock on Crosby into the boards.

It’s not just the shutdown effort of the top guns, though. Pittsburgh didn’t even register a shot in the third period until over seven minutes elapsed.

But the Penguins wouldn’t give the Red Wings all the credit for the suffocation. Remember, Pittsburgh did fire 12 shots on Detroit netminder Chris Osgood in the first period before the smothering began.

“I give them credit for not allowing us do some of the things,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said of Detroit’s puck control. “But at the same, we had so many turnovers in the neutral zone. I just thought it was not the way we play. They did clog up the middle, but even on the boards, even when we had a chance to get it deep, we didn’t do it.

“And it came back to bite us.”

At his post-practice press conference, Crosby was convinced he could make his line’s match-up work — and find that breathing room to convert the few offensive opportunities.

“I don't think they did a whole lot to shut us down completely,” Crosby said. “It was tight checking, and they got their chances. We got ours. And we'll continue to try to create things and battle.”

HOLMSTROM NO-GOAL DEBATE: After being asked five times about Tomas Holmstrom’s interference penalty on Nicklas Lidstrom’s goal in his press conference, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock asked reporters to “go to the next topic.”

Babcock didn’t get his request — it was still the talk after practice Sunday afternoon.

He said he hasn’t met with anyone regarding the call, but will meet with the series supervisor Monday before Game 2.

“I assume at that time we'll get some sort of explanation,” Babcock said.

Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien had no trouble with referee Dan O’Halloran’s call.

“I was pleased about the call, there's no doubt,” Therrien said. “You don't want to see obstruction with the goalie. So I think it was the right call.”

Therrien added that Red Wings’ netminder Chris Osgood should get the same kind of protection from Penguins forwards like Ryan Malone, who often crashes the crease.

But has the league gone too far — is just a swipe between the legs from outside of the crease really goaltender interference?

“We just need to define the rule in the offseason here and decide what it's going to be,” Osgood said. “I don't believe they're overprotecting the goalies. I don't think guys are running the goalies this year in the playoffs like they have in the past, because they know they can't go there.

“But to me that was a goal last night.”

MULE WATCH CONTINUES: Johan Franzen practiced full contact on Sunday. He will meet with doctors again and practice Monday morning, and has not yet been ruled out to play in Game 2.

“He's been cleared to do everything,” Babcock said. “So one of these days he'll get cleared to play.”

With Mikael Samuelsson and Dan Cleary pitching in on Saturday, Franzen was asked in jest if his secondary scoring would be needed in the Red Wings’ lineup. .

“I hope I get my spot back,” Franzen said. “But you never know, you never know.”



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