LIVE BLOG OF GAME 4 OF THE STANLEY CUP FINALS
10 minutes before Game 4… CBC’s Ron MacLean interviews NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in another classic installment of the MacLean/Bettman Chronicles. MacLean grills Bettman on the economic state of the 24 American franchises and the NHL’s future television deal with NBC…… CBC shows a Penguins/Red Wings video montage to the music of U2′s “You Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking for”…. CBC’s Don Cherry appears at his normal perch on the ice with a Pittsburgh Penguins glove puppet……
The National Anthem is about to be sung and the sold-out Mellon Arena crowd is loudly chanting “Go Pens Go….. A moment of silence is observed in honour of Luc Bourdon (Vancouver Canucks, Manitoba Moose), who passed away Thursday in a tragic motorcyle accident…. The well-dressed Jeff Jimerson sings the Star Spangled Banner and the game is mere minutes away……
** CBC’s Scott Oake reported before the game that Tomas Holmstrom will not dress for the Red Wings tonight.
0:45 into the game- Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski walks in and blasts a hard, low slapshot that barely misses an outstretched Marc-Andre Fleury.
2:11 into the First Period- Dallas Drake takes a roughing penalty.
2:51 of the First Period- Marian Hossa scores his 10th goal of the playoffs when he takes a Sergei Gonchar rebound, shields the pucks and puts a nifty back-and-forth move and beats Osgood between the legs. Hossa’s goal comes on the power play and is very important as Pittsburgh is 11-0 in the playoffs when they score the first goal.
Writer’s Note: That was a beautiful goal. Hossa fooled everyone by making it seems like he was going to set up shop behind the net for a possible wrap-around or shot. Hossa has been the best player on Pittsburgh over the last two games, now with three points in the last four periods.
5:04 into the First Period- Crosby breaks his stick and as the Wings are buzzing in the Pittsburgh zone, Pens forward Pascal Dupuis take a cross-checking penalty.
7:06 into the First Period- Nicklas Lidstrom lets a howitzer go that goes over the right shoulder of Fleury. The goal is Lidstrom’s third goal of the postseason and happens two seconds after Dupuis’ penalty expires.
Writer’s Note: CBC mentions that Lidstrom is a master at changing his body position to fool the goaltender on point shots and couldn’t agree more. Lidstrom gives himself so much room on the point and using his athleticism and big wind-up to get high quality shots on net. Although the shot could have been stopped by Fleury, it was still a hard shot. Cleary provided a bit of a screen but in reality, the puck went straight in.
9:03 into the First Period- Brian Rafalski takes a roughing penalty.
Pittsburgh fails to score on the power play and fail to register any quality shots on Chris Osgood.
Writer’s Note: That power play was so anti-climactic. Malkin spent a good 15 seconds floating around with the puck when he could have set something up. The Penguins need to get back into intense mode because that was a lackadaisacal power play.
13:39 into the First Period- Mikael Samuelsson has a great slapshot scoring chance on M-A. Fleury that is stopped easily.
14:28 into the First Period- Kris Draper takes a holding penalty when he puts the gorilla hug on Pens sophomore Jordan Staal.
Writer’s Note: Draper needs to take it easy on Pittsburgh’s younger players because Pittsburgh will eventually score if they get enough opportunities.
Pittsburgh fails to score on their third power play opportunity.
16:59 of the First Period- Coincidental penalties to Brett Lebda for cross-checking, and Maxime Talbot for diving.
Pascal Dupuis has a great scoring opportunity but is spun around and coughs the puck up to the Red Wings.
Writer’s Note: Dupuis really bunged that one up. Is Dupuis upset that he was dropped from the Crosby’s No.1 line or is he already thinking about going to see “Sex and The City: The Movie” with Georges Laraque. Either way, Dupuis had a lot of trouble with that rush.
First Period ends. Detroit 1 Pittsburgh 1.
Writer’s 1st Period Notes: A very entertaining first frame. Detroit outshoots Pittsburgh 14-9 and kills off two penalties. Even though I hate to admit it, I would give the Red Wings the First Round decision. They had more energy and they responded well to Pittsburgh scoring the first goal. I thought Samuelsson and Datsyuk were especially impressive for the Wings. Rafalski led all shooters with three shots in the period….
For Illegal Curve, I’m Ezra Ginsburg.