Pens seeing same script

Jun 2, 2009 5:10 PM
Power Plays by by Mark Mayer |
last wk

The NBA wanted LeBron vs Kobe. Well, the NHL has Detroit-Pittsburgh – a second time.

So far the Red Wings are delighted. For the second straight year, the Penguins opened the Cup final in Detroit and dropped the first two games.

In a rare back-to-back scheduling, Detroit decided to win by identical scores of 3-1. Each was strikingly similar with Detroit capitalizing on hustle that produced soft goals past Marc-Andre Fleury and receiving outstanding goaltending from Chris Osgood.

Yes, Osgood was better than good as he found a way to stop Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin that Washington couldn’t do.

Otherwise we may well have seen Alex Ovechkin, the NHL’s version of LeBron James, in the Cup final.

No matter, we still have faith in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins looked to be dead in the water in midseason, but a coaching change proved to make a difference. Pittsburgh was the hottest team in the Eastern Conference the second half of the season and carried that momentum into series wins over Philadelphia, Washington and Carolina.

The 7-game series with the Caps would have been a classic for the years had it been for the Stanley Cup itself. Now the task is to win both games in Pittsburgh.

Detroit beats you with persistence, clutch play, unselfishness and style. The Red Wings can skate past you or muck it up on the boards. They are the modern day Montreal Canadiens and the most consistent NHL winner of the last two decades.

The Penguins are a live +130 underdog to win the series. I think returning home before a raucous crowd should inspire Fleury. The Pens were lucky that Malkin didn’t draw a suspension for instigating a fight at the end of Game 2. But, Malkin may have fired up his team with his aggression.

As for now, we’ll focus on Games 3 and 4 in Pittsburgh in order to try and make some money for us all. We can’t throw in the towel.

Tuesday, June 2

Pittsburgh -150 vs Detroit (5½)

Change of venue sees more goals and a different result. PENS / OVER.

Thursday, June 4

Detroit at Pittsburgh: Game 4

Home ice the difference. PENS.