It's hard enough beating a team as good as the Red Wings. It's even tougher when that team has luck on its side, in addition to the skill.
The breaks and bounces are continuing to go Detroit's way, evidenced again by Justin Abdelkader's goal, which was batted by a couple sticks and ended up at his feet anyway, for another whack-a-puck goal that Marc-Andre Fleury badly misplayed. Sure, Fleury should've and needed to stop the puck, but Abdelkader was lucky just to be able to shoot the puck. Bad defensive play as well, I'll grant you. Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi shouldn't have led the forward skate in like that.
This series really could have any result so far, from the Penguins up 2-0, to tied 1-1, or to what is deservingly Detroit 2-0. The Red Wings are continuing to show their superiority but there have been chinks in the armor.
The problem is, Pittsburgh's arrows aren't finding those chinks. In Game 2, it was in the form of three posts.
It isn't helping when the officiating also goes Detroit's way. Now hang on a second, before you go off saying I'm crying. When a neutral television station broadcasting the game goes so far as to start to put up their "delayed penalty" graphic on what appears to be an obvious penalty, and then has to take it down because the referees let the play go, that sort of suggests that there should've been a penalty on the play. You don't see a TV network do that very often.
Marian Hossa hooked Pascal Dupuis in the Pittsburgh zone, forcing a turnover near the blue line. No penalty on the play, and a few seconds later, in the same shift, with the same players, Detroit scores to make it 2-1.
Then there's this, brought to you by the NHL rulebook:
Rule 67 - Handling Puck
67.4 Penalty Shot - If a player, except a goalkeeper, while play is in progress, falls on the puck, holds the puck, picks up the puck, or gathers the puck into his body or hands from the ice in the goal crease area, the play shall be stopped immediately and a penalty shot shall be awarded to the non-offending team.
Didn't Henrik Zetterberg break this rule late in the third period off a Sidney Crosby chance, when Zetterberg was lying on the goal line? That certainly wasn't Chris Osgood covering the puck. Zetterberg seemed to have also frozen the puck in Game 1 when the puck fell on Osgood's back.
I had a non-Penguins fan friend email me wondering where the penalty shot was, so don't try to call me a whiner. Haven't I given Detroit credit for being up 2-0?
I guess it wasn't a violation because the puck was shot into Zetterberg? But shouldn't he have had to move the puck after it hit him? Isn't that "holding the puck"?
Anyway, Pittsburgh again had some chances to score and missed most of them. So those two non-calls, while crucial, aren't what decided the game. The Penguins are just missing on passes, shots and clearing attempts. Detroit, not so much.
Like last year, I'm impressed at how well Detroit plays defense and supports the puck. It usually seems like there's seven or eight Red Wings on the ice, and that's a compliment. There's rarely open space for the opposition to find, and Detroit passes inevitably find teammates.
What chances the Penguins get simply must be converted, and they're not doing that. What's also stood out is each time Pittsburgh misses on a prime scoring chance, the Red Wings score shortly after, and it happened again in Game 2. Like I said above, the Penguins could easily be up 2-0 in this series. But they're not, and they have their work cut out for them if they want to win this series.
(P.S. Where are those 1984 Oilers vibes now? Isn't history on Pittsburgh's side here?)