|High-flying Pens bottled up by disciplined Red Wings|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 24 May 2008 18:40|
Evgeni Malkin had more penalty minutes than attempts on net and coughed up the puck in his own end, leading to a goal.
Marc-Andre Fleury stumbled and fell coming onto the ice before the game.
Where were the high-flying Penguins who rolled to a 100-point season and a 12-2 playoff record?
The Detroit Red Wings can have that effect on a team.
The veteran Wings stifled Crosby, Malkin and the rest of the Pens and threw shot after shot at Fleury in Saturday night's 4-0 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Pittsburgh, which was outshot 36-19, will have a couple of days to figure out how to penetrate the Wings' defense and get more quality scoring chances against goalie Chris Osgood.
``I don't know if it was the nerves,'' Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. ``But definitely it was the worst performance of the playoffs. We didn't compete like we're supposed to compete. And it's a good lesson.''
Left wing Jarkko Ruutu said he didn't think the Penguins ``were nervous at all. ``We started pretty strong, had chances early on, but they got the lead and it was tough to come back down 2-0.''
``It's one game. It doesn't matter if you lose 10-0 or if you lose in the fourth overtime 4-3. It doesn't matter,'' he said. ``You just have to learn from the mistakes you made and get ready for the start of the next game.''
Detroit was so dominant in its own end that Pittsburgh managed four and three shots, respectively, in the final two periods.
``Well, we prided ourselves on being good defensively all year long,'' Red Wings right wing Dan Cleary said. ``We had the lowest goals-against all year. Our 'D' is so good at keeping pucks to the outside, letting Ozzie see it and stop it, clear it.''
Crosby, the 20-year-old phenom who is looking for a championship to go along with the scoring title and MVP award he already has won, had very little impact on Saturday's game.
``That's playoff hockey,'' he said. ``I don't expect it to be easy and skate around there freely.''
Fleury had his own skating problems, going down in a heap as he led the Penguins on to the ice from the tunnel.
The miscue, which delighted the Joe Louis Arena faithful, didn't appear to faze the young goalie, however.
He turned away 26 of 27 shots in the first two periods and gave the Pens a chance to compete in the final period.
Now the Penguins, who led each of their first three series 3-0, are facing some adversity with Game 2 scheduled for Memorial Day.
``We've been through a lot,'' center Maxime Talbot said. ``We know every time we had a bad game this group of guys bounces back.''
``You start on the road. You want to win one game on the road,'' he said. ``And Game 2 is right in front of us, and we have to figure out how to win that game.''