Blogs

McKenzie: Special teams the difference in Game 5 victory

Bob McKenzie
6/7/2009 12:35:40 AM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

The Detroit Red Wings' Game 5 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins was a special win. Special in terms of 'special teams' and that's been unusual for these playoffs, especially in the Stanley Cup Final.

Heading into Saturday's contest, the Penguins were winning the special teams battle in a big way; having five special teams goals compared to just one for the Red Wings. But Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena was a different story.

It started late in the first period when Penguins winger Chris Kunitz was handed an obvious goaltender interference penalty. Wings forward Valtteri Filppula responded by finding the back of the net and although it wasn't a power play goal, it came five seconds after Kunitz came out of the box and it would be the start of the steady parade to the penalty box for the Penguins.

Sergei Gonchar received a 2-minute slashing penalty early in the second period and Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall scored a goal. A stupid penalty by Evgeni Malkin, and the stupid ones are really hard to kill off, and Brian Rafalski scored from the point. And then Kunitz mixed it up, and again it was another dumb penalty. That's when the wheels were off for the Penguins as Henrik Zetterberg scored the third power play goal in less than 10 minutes.

Almost in one fell swoop, the Red Wings get the special teams edge back in their game against the Penguins and Saturday's contest was almost like a power play practice for the Red Wings. The last thing you want to do is get them to the point where they're starting to feel that comfortable with their power play.

Questionable Slash

The last time a Canadian player slashed a Russian player in an attempt to break an ankle was 1972. Everyone thought it was great then, but somehow I think the Red Wings are not going to think too highly of the Max Talbot slash on Pavel Datsyuk in Game 5.

Was it a ridiculously vicious chop? No. Was it a targeting of an injured player? Absolutely. And some people might suggest that's what the Stanley Cup playoffs are all about but I'm sure the Red Wings would say otherwise as they don't embrace that whole concept of vigilante justice very much. Their idea of getting back at the opposition is to do what they did in Game 5 – score lots of goals.

But had it been the Anaheim Ducks, for example, rather than the Red Wings and somebody slashed Ryan Getzlaf in the same manner, it could have been a completely different tone.

Frustration Setting In

The Pittsburgh Penguins got frustrated in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final but no one was more frustrated than Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin because they never had a chance to get on track when the game got away from Pittsburgh as early as it did.

Crosby has not played particularly well at Joe Louis Arena, last year or this year. He got a little fed up with Henrik Zetterberg on Saturday night and the two had exchanges throughout the game. But Crosby was the one who ended up in the penalty box. He was a minus- 1 with only one shot on goal in the game.

Pavel Datsyuk was giving Malkin the business in Game 5 while Malkin was giving Johan Franzen the business but it was Malkin who headed to the sin bin.

Any time you can get Malkin to go to the penalty box on three separate occasions, that's a good thing for the Red Wings. That's not where the Penguins want Malkin and Crosby showing up on the scoresheet, going to the penalty box.

Between Crosby and Malkin, they had two shots on goal in Game 5 but the wheels came off so early, people are going to say 'well, now the momentum is all back with Detroit.' But we saw what momentum meant after Game 4; nothing.

Detroit completely stemmed the tide the Penguins had going for them. I would suspect that Crosby and Malkin will look at Saturday's game and just push it aside. They realize they need to get refocused and they'll have every opportunity to stem the Detroit tide and come back with a better game in Game 6 as Detroit did coming back in Game 5.

Bob McKenzie

Podcasts

TSN 1050: Macko & Cauz: August 21 - Stephen Whyno

Canadian Press NHL Reporter Stephen Whyno joins the Thursday edition of Macko & Cauz this morning on TSN 1050 Toronto.

TSN 1050: Macko & Cauz: July 24 - Andrew Stoeten

Andrew Stoeten of DrunkJaysFans.com joins Macko & Cauz to discuss Aaron Sanchez's debut, Marcus Stroman, the Blue Jays' farm system, and more.

TSN 1050: Mike Richards In the Morning: July 16th - Hour 3

Hour 3 of Mike Richards in the morning.


More Podcasts

Follow Us!

There's a new Twitter feed that will make you a real TSN.ca insider! Follow twitter.com/TSN_Sports_Buzz to get updates on the latest blogs, best videos and more!


More about TSN on Twitter...



Cabbie on TSN.ca

Check out Cabbie's unique take on sports broadcasting and interviewing, poking fun at sports headlines, high-profile athletes and sports personalities. More...


Brendan Shanahan's niece Brenna is an 18-year-old lacrosse player from Mimico, Ontario, who has earned a scholarship to Division 1 Canisius College. More...

Podcasts

TSN 1050: Macko & Cauz: August 22 - Mike Sando

Mike Sando, an NFL analyst, joins Macko and Cauz to explore the upcoming NFL season, the rookies entering the league, and other news.

TSN 1050: Macko & Cauz: August 22 - Hour 2

The second hour of the Friday edition of Macko & Cauz on TSN 1050 Toronto. Nabil Karim, Spencer Watt, and Corey Pronman all join this hour.

TSN 1050: Macko & Cauz: August 22 - Scott MacArthur

TSN Jays reporter Scott MacArthur joins Macko and Cauz to discuss the Jays team and their current situation in the MLB.


More Podcasts

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television