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Three Questions: Wings-Penguins

DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 14th game

Tuesday, 11.11.2008 / 10:20 PM / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Three Questions: Wings-Penguins
What went wrong?

Two words – Jordan Staal.  The young Penguins center took over in the third period, with a performance that will be difficult to top for the rest of the season. The Red Wings carried a 4-2 lead into the third period, and bumped it up to 5-2 early in the period, but that didn’t mean much to Staal. He scored to make it 5-4 with 12 minutes remaining. Jiri Hudler scored to regain the two-goal lead, but that didn’t matter. Staal scored his second of the night with four-minutes remaining, and then, with 23-seconds left, he fired in a bouncing puck to tie up a game that appeared to be out of reach for the Penguins the entire third period.

But Staal wasn’t done yet. Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien put him right back out to start the extra period, and he didn’t find the scoresheet on his first shift, but he did on his second. The 20-year-old chased down Pavel Datsyuk during the Wings’ breakout, and picked his pocket. Staal curled at the blue line and fired over a pass to Ruslan Fedotenko, who scored the game-winner on a one-timer blast, and capping off one heck of a performance from a member of the famed Staal family.

Did any frustrations from last spring carry over into Tuesday’s Stanley Cup finals rematch?

Surprisingly, there wasn’t as much as I expected. Considering the teams spent three weeks battling with each other just a few months ago, I figured there would be some bitter feelings towards one another that would go on display early Tuesday night. Both the Red Wings and the Penguins were on good behavior through the first two periods, with only minor exceptions (Andreas Lilja and Eric Godard had a not-so-friendly discussion behind the Pittsburgh net, and there were words exchanged at the end of the second). The biggest hit through the first two periods came from an unlikely source, when Kris Draper reintroduced himself to superstar Evgeni Malkin, throwing him to the boards, then to the ice in the Detroit end during a Penguins’ power play.

How did Johan Franzen look in his first game back?

After sitting for five games due to an MCL sprain, Franzen was back on the ice, doing what he does best. After shaking off the rust in the first couple shifts, Franzen was back to his old self, racing around the ice and throwing around the body. He crashed the net hard, roughed it up along the boards on the forecheck, and used his net-front awareness to pocket himself a goal off a rebound in the second period. 

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