|Red Wings not the same away from home|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 28 May 2008 16:58|
By ALAN ROBINSON
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) -Only one game in Pittsburgh already has the Detroit Red Wings wishing for a change of venue.
The Red Wings got off to a fast start in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday night - maybe too fast.
Along the way, they forgot what got them their two relatively easy victories in the opening two games in Detroit, and the 3-2 loss to the Penguins cut their series lead to one game.
The Red Wings flinched. That means they can't clinch in Game 4 on Saturday night, and the first Red Wings-Penguins finals are guaranteed of going to a Game 5 in Joe Louis Arena on Monday night.
Already, the Red Wings probably can't wait to get back to their octopi-friendly home ice. There, Detroit so dominated Pittsburgh in Games 1 and 2 while winning by a combined score of 7-0 that there was plenty of talk the Wings might sweep a finals for the third time in 11 seasons.
Those home games perhaps made the Red Wings forgot how the young Penguins got here, with exceptional speed, talent and playmaking ability, and, too, their home playoffs record that now is 9-0. Those skills finally stood out in Game 3, where Penguins coach Michel Therrien owned the last line change and often used it to get star Sidney Crosby away from the Henrik Zetterberg line that so frustrated Pittsburgh in the first two games.
Still, for half the first period, it looked as if Motown had shifted four hours East, as the Red Wings got nine of their first 10 shots and again clamped down on Pittsburgh's stars. But the Red Wings couldn't get the key first goal as they did in the first two games - they found out why goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is 19-0 at Mellon Arena since Nov. 21 - as they didn't convert two early power-play chances.
Brad Stuart, who got that first goal in Game 2, had an excellent chance to do so again but couldn't score while skating down the slot. Not long after that in the first period, Crosby got the first of his two goals and Pittsburgh had a lead it wouldn't lose, even if it tried while twice failing to hold two-goal leads.
``I thought we got off to a great start, for 15 minutes,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ``But then we weren't as settled down. They found some energy and we weren't as good. ... And we overplayed our top guys (in the first period) because of the power plays.''
The Red Wings still have history on their side, as 30 of the 31 teams to open a 2-0 series lead at home went on to win the Cup. The team that didn't? The 1942 Red Wings, the only team to blow a 3-0 lead in the finals when it lost to Toronto.