The line changes made by coach Michel Therrien were not a factor tonight. Detroit continued their dominant play and are two wins away from taking home the Stanley Cup for a fourth time in the last eleven years.
If Pittsburgh's going to continue to play "dump and chase" with very little chase, they're not going to create any scoring opportunities. Chris Osgood has hardly had to work so far through two games. He's making routine saves with shots directly at him. The Penguins are good at making that extra pass or extra move to get the goaltender to move, but so far, it's not happening and the Red Wings defense is preventing them from doing so.
Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart were +3 tonight. That's a solid pairing. It still baffles me how the Penguins keep getting caught and nailed by Kronwall's blueline check. Ryan Malone even spoke about it during a conference call the other day and fell victim to it in Game One. He does it every single time and you can even watch him lining someone up from television.
The Red Wings were successful is bringing the puck out of their zone all night and finding that supporting player to pass the puck off to. They play some impressive positional hockey and their ability to possess the puck on a consistent basis has frustrated the Penguins.
What positives can the Pens take from this game or even the first two? The only one I can think is that they've taken a 2-0 deficit late into the game, keeping it close. Time to cash in on your opportunities and power-play chances. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin haven't had much room to create. Pittsburgh only played well when it was 4-on-4 a few times during the game.
The Penguins haven't played a do-or-die game in quite a while, but Wednesday's Game Three will be just that. They'll have the home crowd on their side and they've yet to lose at Mellon Arena since February. Somehow they must feed off of that energy, otherwise Detroit will have one hand on the Stanley Cup.
Note: I'll be at Mellon Arena on Wednesday night for Game Three, my first time in Pittsburgh and "The Igloo". I'm eagerly anticipating the energy that will be in the building and hope my first experience in the 'Burgh ends with a victory.