for this game

Crosby, Hall get Penguins back in series

May 29, 2008 - 9:10 AM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The drought is over for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Captain Sidney Crosby scored a pair of goals and Adam Hall netted what proved to be the winner as the Penguins skated to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game Three of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday.

Marian Hossa notched two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves for the Penguins, who trail in the best-of-seven series, two games to one.

"We are still down, but that's huge for us to get the first (win) and the first bunch of goals," Hossa said. "It's good for our confidence. We just have to take a nice day off and get ready for the next game."

"We definitely earned (the win)," Crosby added. "But at the same time, it's one. And you don't want to take anything away from it. We realize how hard it was and how tough it's going to get. So it feels good to come out of this game on the (winning) side, for sure, but we realize it's only one."

Johan Franzen and Mikael Samuelsson tallied for Detroit, which had blanked Pittsburgh in each of the first two games of the Finals.

"We played a pretty solid road game," Red Wings center Kris Draper said. "We made a couple mistakes that ended up in the back of our net. That's something you can't do with this hockey team. They're very dangerous, and once you give them second, third opportunities, they're going to make you pay, and that's what they did today."

"(The Penguins) got to the puck a little quicker at times. They scored first, which helped them," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought Crosby and Hossa were better - more energy and controlled more plays. ... You have to give them credit. They found a way to win a game. I don't feel that we were dominated or anything, but I thought they had some quality scoring chances."

The Penguins, who improved to 9-0 at home this postseason, host Game Four on Saturday.

"We definitely have confidence here," Hall said. "The fans have been great for us all year long. ... I think they just give us a big boost of adrenaline."

"They're a confident team at home," Draper said. "They came out, they did what they had to do to win a hockey game and now it's up to us to respond in Game Four."

Unbeaten at Mellon Arena since a 2-1 shootout loss to San Jose on February 24, Pittsburgh entered having not scored a goal in its last 135 minutes, 57 seconds of action this postseason. The Penguins got a chance to end the drought early as Franzen was called for holding just 64 seconds into the contest.

But goaltender Chris Osgood faced just one shot on the ensuing power play, turning aside Ryan Malone's one-timer from the slot.

Fleury, who had won his previous 18 home starts, also made a big stop to keep the game scoreless, using his right pad to deny defenseman Brad Stuart from the doorstep with 8:47 remaining.

Pittsburgh went more than 13 minutes after Malone's shot to register another. It recorded an additional two before Crosby scored the team's first goal of the series following an uncharacteristic turnover by Detroit.

"The first 10 minutes, I'll say we were a little bit on our heels," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said of his team's lack of early shots. "We're a young team. It's a process with those young guys, so it's normal that they were a bit nervous."

From the left side of the Red Wings' net, Stuart attempted a pass to Henrik Zetterberg, who had the puck carom off his skate. Crosby gathered it and dropped a pass to Hossa, whose shot from the left faceoff circle was blocked by Stuart.

"Sid just had the puck and I was behind him," Hossa said. "He got the puck to me and I tried to make a move to get the puck to him. Then I tried to shoot it and it went off the leg (of Stuart)."

The puck then went right to Crosby, who shoveled it between the pads of Osgood from the doorstep with 2:35 left in the first for a 1-0 edge.

"Finally," Crosby said. "It wasn't that the chances weren't there. It just finally went in for us. We would hit posts and didn't have bounces that came on our stick near the net. Finally had one go in. It felt good."

The goal ended Pittsburgh's drought at 153:22, the longest in franchise playoff history. The previous mark of 151:18 took place against New Jersey in the 2001 Eastern Conference finals.

"Whether it was me or anybody else, we just wanted to get the first one," Crosby said. "We wanted to get a goal, find a way. Didn't matter who or when. I think that was the mind set going in, and it was nice to get it, for sure. But whether it was me or anyone else, I wasn't really worried about that."

Crosby's tally also halted Osgood's shutout streak at 154:58, dating to the third period of Game Six of the Western Conference finals against Dallas.

Hossa nearly doubled the advantage in the waning moments of the period, but his shot from the high slot during a power play with one second remaining sailed wide of the net.

But the Penguins did cash in on a man advantage early in the second to take a 2-0 lead.

With blue-liner Niklas Kronwall in the penalty box for hooking, Osgood stopped Hossa's shot from the doorstep. However, the rebound went to Crosby, who slid it into the net from the right side at 2:34 for his second goal of the game and sixth this postseason.

"We approached (the game) like a challenge, and there's no doubt that we're looking for our best player to bring an A game," Therrien said. "And certainly, Sid did that tonight."

"He got two big goals for them," Draper said. "That's what great hockey players do this time of year. It was a big plus for their hockey team."

The tally gave Crosby his 10th multi-point effort in 17 playoff games.

"I got some good bounces," the reigning Hart Trophy winner said. "I went to the same spots I typically would go to. The puck ended up on my stick."

Osgood, who finished with 21 saves, kept the deficit at two by denying defenseman Sergei Gonchar from alone in the slot six minutes into the middle period, and the Red Wings converted a power-play opportunity of their own later in the session to pull within 2-1.

Nicknamed "The Mule," Franzen carried the puck into the offensive zone along the left wing boards and cut to the net, leaving defenseman Rob Scuderi behind. From in close, the Swede lifted the puck past Fleury at 14:48 for his league-leading 13th goal of the postseason.

"I think I had four or five really good chances," said Franzen, who recorded a team-high six shots on goal. "Some games it's going to work for you out there and (you) get some chances, but some games you just have to work hard and get physical. Today, I got a lot of chances."

It remained a one-goal game despite a flurry of chances for Pittsburgh 3 1/2 minutes into the third. Hossa unleashed a backhander from the low slot that rang off the right goalpost and, seven seconds later, Osgood got a piece of Pascal Dupuis' redirection of a pass from Crosby before pouncing on the puck just before it trickled over the goal line.

But the Penguins would not be denied a third goal as Hall became the unlikeliest of heroes at 7:18.

From the left side, Hall let go a backhander that hit the side of the net. The low-scoring right wing chased down the loose puck behind the net and banked it off Osgood and in for his second goal of the playoffs and a 3-1 bulge.

"Osgood slid far out of his crease to cut off the angle," Hall said of his initial shot attempt. "The puck was bouncing there behind the net and I just kind of tried to corral the puck as quick as I could and scan to see if anyone was in the slot. I just tried to put it off the back of Osgood, and it went into the net."

"I have to figure a way to get back there somehow," said Osgood, who was in the process of returning to his crease when Hall made his bank shot. "Went (off) my right leg and ricocheted to the outside. Made a nice play, waited for me. I was in the middle of nowhere. It happens."

Hall's teammates were thrilled the 27-year-old wound up with the game-winning goal.

"He's such a heart-and-soul guy," Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "He plays with passion, he wins faceoffs and then he scores a big goal. That's great for him. He's battled through some injuries this year, and to come up big for us today and get that winning goal is awesome."

Hall netted just two tallies in 46 games during the regular season.

Gary Roberts, who turned 42 the day before Game One, notched an assist on the play. Therrien was happy for both Hall and Roberts.

"It's fun to see that Adam Hall and Gary Roberts got rewarded for the winning goal," he said. "I'm sure Adam Hall had his most important goal of his career. This guy has a checking role with our team, killing penalties. Getting rewarded, with Gary on the ice, it's fun to see."

Detroit nearly got back within one with 11:45 remaining. But after Fleury turned aside a shot by Pavel Datsyuk, who has scored all nine of his postseason goals on the road, he got help from the left post, as Tomas Holmstrom's rebound chance from the left side struck iron, keeping the lead at two.

"Marc-Andre, he's one of the reasons why we're here and he's one of the reasons why we won tonight," Therrien said. "He makes some key saves. ... He gave us a chance to win. This is what you're looking for from your goalie."

However, the Red Wings - who outshot the Penguins, 16-5, in the third - refused to concede and managed to close the gap with 6:23 to go. Samuelsson, who scored twice in Game One, unleashed a shot from along the right wing boards that sailed over the left shoulder of Fleury, drawing Detroit within 3-2.

The Presidents' Trophy winners kept the pressure on the Penguins and received a late power play as Hart Trophy finalist Evgeni Malkin was called for hooking at 15:42. But Detroit registered just one shot on the man advantage and only one more the rest of the way as Pittsburgh held on to improve to 5-1 all-time at home in the Finals.

"There was no panic on the bench," Whitney said of the Red Wings' power-play chance. "Guys said, 'We're up by one still, let's bear down and get this.' What an effort by the guys those last six minutes."

No one felt worse about Detroit's late opportunity than Malkin, who has yet to record a point in the Finals after notching 19 over his first 14 playoff games.

"It was kind of a questionable penalty, but thanks to all my teammates who stood up the last five minutes," Malkin said through an interpreter. "It was a bad penalty to take, but thanks to my teammates."

In addition to make some superb saves, Fleury received plenty of help from his teammates, who recorded 26 blocked shots - 22 of which were registered by defensemen.

"I thought the guys did a great job in front of me," Fleury said. "They blocked a lot of shots and (got to) rebounds. The D stood, battled hard with those guys. (The Red Wings) got some guys close to the crease, and I think (my defensemen) did a great job."