– The Pittsburgh Penguins had a Memorial Day weekend in Detroit they would just as soon forget.
The Detroit Red Wings jumped to a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final with a 3-0 win in Game 2 that did nothing to raise the Penguins' confidence or lower their blood pressure.
Brad Stuart and Tomas Holmstrom scored first-period goals and Valtteri Filppula added a third-period goal to ensure the victory for goalie Chris Osgood, who posted his second straight shutout.
"No, but we were hoping to have back-to-back wins," Babcock said when asked if he expected back-to-back shutouts. "I think it's real important you look after home ice. Nothing's happening in a series until you've won on the road, after you've looked after business at home. So they're going to get regrouped and they're going to have their best effort and we gotta have our best effort in Game 3."
Few can argue with the results after seeing the first two games of the series. The series now shifts to Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio) where the Pens, out-shot 34-22 on Monday, hope to be every bit as inhospitable as the Wings were for Games 1 and 2.
"We just have to execute," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby
said. "I mean, they got a few chances. Did they really get that many scoring chances on us? I don't think they did. They got a few and put them in. And we hit a post and pucks go through us by the net that we don't put in. That's the difference, to be honest. They're not getting that many scoring chances more than us. We're not executing.
"We get odd-man rushes, very few, but when we get them, we have to capitalize on them," Crosby said. "But by no means are they out-chancing us by a whole lot. It's just the nature of the game. It's tight in the neutral zone. It's like that for both teams. I mean, if they're skating down every time, getting odd-man rushes and tons of chances, I'd be worried. But it's the nature of the game, and they're capitalizing and we're not."
Penguins coach Michel Therrien started playing for Game 3 moments after Game 2 ended, accusing the Red Wings of obstruction tactics and Osgood of diving to draw penalties.
"It's really tough to generate offense against that team," Therrien said. "They're good on obstruction. It's going to be tough to generate any type of offense, if the rules remain the same. So it's the first time we're facing a team that the obstruction is there, and we're having a hard time skating to take away ice."
"It's frustrating," Max Talbot agreed. "But you know what? The good thing is I think we're a positive group of guys. We're going home. And we're real successful at home. The guys are pumped about that. If we lost our two games home, and now we were going away, it would be a different story. Now, we know we play really well at home. And guys are ready for Game 3. I think we've just gotta turn the page and try to focus on what we did good together to be successful."
"We took two penalties tonight on the goalie," Therrien said, turning up the heat on Osgood. "We never take penalty on the goalie in the playoff. I'll tell you something, I reviewed those plays. He's (Osgood) a good actor. He goes to players and he's diving. Took away our power play. (We've) got to get focused. I know our players are frustrated right now. It's tough to play the game."
From the Red Wings' perspective, Babcock said he couldn't wait to get to Mellon Arena.
"We're going to play better," Babcock said pointing to Wednesday's Game 3 in Pittsburgh. "We've been a good road team all year. We're going to have a real good game in Pittsburgh. And we're excited to get on the road. Sometimes at home, when you're matching all the time, it disrupts your flow a little bit. We can get to Pittsburgh and let the guys just go, let them go out the door and play hard.
"And we feel we can be better. We thought when we got up 2-0, we kind of got a little cautious, instead of staying and going after them. But we'll be better next game."
The value of a good start can never be underestimated, especially when playing for the Stanley Cup. So, the Red Wings had to be pleased as punch holding a 2-0 lead after the first period. In addition to extending the Penguins' scoreless streak in this Final to four periods, the Wings held Pittsburgh to just six shots. The Penguins went without a shot for the game's first 12 minutes.
"We wanted to come out and get going here tonight," Babcock said. "And we didn't think we did that last game. We thought we were nervous. And tonight I thought we were a little bit better in that area. And we got some timely goals."
Stuart got the Wings on the scoreboard at 6:55 off a drive from the top of the right circle that changed direction when it hit Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi
. Filppula got the assist on Stuart's first goal of the playoffs when he corralled a pinballing puck in center ice, gained the Pittsburgh zone and got the puck across to Stuart, whose heavy shot changed direction just enough to beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury
"He saw me coming and just kind of laid a nice pass out," Stuart said of Filppula. "I kind of tried to wait a second, let our guys get in front. I just shot it. He (Fleury) probably didn't see it the whole way. I think if he sees it all the way, he probably saves it. I think it was Mule (Johan Franzen) got in front, created a little bit of havoc for him and it found its way back."
Holmstrom made it 2-0 at 11:18, but it was not a trademark Holmstrom goal since he actually scored it from behind the net. Holmstrom gained control of the puck from behind the net, spotted Henrik Zetterberg coming down the slot and sent the puck out front, where it caromed off Fleury and into the net.
The Penguins played with speed and had some good rushes in the first, but were unable to generate much offense until the final seconds of the period. The Pens didn't get their first shot until eight minutes remained in the period. Their best chances came after Dan Cleary was called for hooking at 17:49. Then Gary Roberts and Jordan Staal
each had excellent scoring chances from in close, but were denied.
The good news for the Penguins in the second period was they held the Wings off the scoreboard. The bad news was they were unable to dent the Detroit net as Osgood's shutout streak reached 100 minutes.
The hockey gods just didn't seem to smile on the Pens. With 4:27 left in the period, the Red Wings committed a rare mistake when defenseman Andreas Lilja fell down while trying to clear the puck, giving the Pens a 2-on-0 break against Osgood. Staal got off a strong shot from the slot, but missed the net. He hustled for the rebound and his second attempt, on the backhand, rang off the post.
That was the kind of luck that dogged the Pens. It occurred again with 2:35 remaining when Sidney Crosby
made a nice cross-ice feed to Marian Hossa that didn't connect.
"He's been real good," Babcock said of Osgood. "We didn't give up a bunch, but when we did with Staal, (Andreas) Lilja fell down and (Jordan) Staal walked down the pipe. He ended up missing the net so Ozzie was obviously in a good spot. He made some good saves for us. He knows he's not going to get a ton of rubber, but the rubber he does get, he's got to be there for. And I think he's playing well, and I think our team is."
From the Detroit perspective, it was a case of keep on keeping on. The Wings continued to thwart the Pittsburgh forecheck and moved the puck crisply and quickly throughout the period. The Wings had 23 shots after two, the Penguins 12.
"I don't think they look frustrated," Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "No, they're still trying hard. We're trying to have the forwards come back real hard against them. Take their time and space away, especially around the blue lines. And we've been able to do that. We need to give a lot of credit to the forwards, how they're coming out helping out."
"Sometimes we do get lulled into just standing around a bit," Crosby said. "And they play well positionally. And I think I said this before, but when we're not at our best, I think we're just kind of playing a chess match with them. And you know it's a game of mistakes, then. If we don't capitalize and they do, then we're in trouble. When we're in the mode of attacking and getting pucks in and finishing our hits, like tonight, I thought we did a better job of that. And just came down to execution."
Filppula is the most challenging name in the NHL to type and he proved to be one of the most challenging to stop at 8:48 of the third period when he scored to give the Wings a 3-0 lead.
Phil Coffey | NHL.com Editorial Director