For team that hasn't lost at home since February 24th, a shoot-out loss to the San Jose, the Penguins made a night at Mellon Arena exciting as hell. Unfortunately, Henrik Zetterberg pretty much won the game for Detroit by himself.
What an amazing 3rd period by the Swede. Blocking a shot, single-handedly skating the puck deep on a penalty kill, and then overpowering Sidney Crosby's stick to prevent the Pittsburgh captain from cashing in on a golden opportunity to tie the game late. There's a reason why he's up for the Selke Trophy on June 12th.
If you're the Penguins right now, you have to ignore all the forthcoming talk about being winless at Joe Louis Arena. Right now, Pittsburgh has nothing to lose. Everyone is ready to write off the series and hand the Stanley Cup to the Red Wings already. Detroit has been come back on twice already in these playoffs. Why not again? You have to believe that in Game Five, it's going to be another all-out effort (maybe even more) by the Penguins. It could be their last game of the season and they want to extend the series back home for a Game Six.
One game at a time.
A hockey team can only have so many mistakes and giveaway's before it hurts them. Brooks Orpik was a god after Game Three and tonight, his failure to clear the puck from the zone led to Jiri Hudler's winner. To me, it looked like Orpik had a bit more time to maybe look up or turn to find a better clearing/passing lane from behind his net. Hindsight is 20/20 and the Red Wings did what they do best: make the opposition pay for their mistakes.
Surprising stat of the night: Pittsburgh won the face-off battle 32-22.
If the Penguins are going to win the Stanley Cup for a third time, they'll have to do it on the road yet again. Detroit on the otherhand will have the confidence of playing at "The Joe" and the fact that one more solid 60 minute game could result in a fourth title in eleven seasons.
Once again, it's do or die. How the Pens play on Monday night will allow us to see their confidence heading into Game Five. If it's a listless effort, they'll have had a defeatist mindset going into the game. If they are a fired up club, it'll show their hunger and character.
Can Detroit blow a 3-1 series lead? Of course, it's possible. It's an uphill climb right now, and the Red Wings have one hand on the mountain top, meanwhile Pittsburgh is still looking up, with a long way to go.