Thoughts on Game 2 SCF (3-0 win over Pittsburgh)
-- Sorry to be cliche, but the defense by Detroit is a total team effort. Obviously Chris Osgood is playing excellent. And the blue-liners have been great. But watch how the defensemen will step up at the offensive-zone blue line to take out an opponent ... and when that happens, watch how quickly a Red Wing forward is back taking the spot of a defenseman. It's flawless. The perfect example last night came in the first period when Andreas Lilja stepped up and took his man out at the offensive blue line. The puck was dumped into the neutral zone where Mikael Samuelsson was waiting for it like a defenseman. Beautiful teamwork.
-- Osgood's performance in Game 1 of this series (and continued in Game 2) won me over as much as his fight against Patrick Roy did. I hear over and over still that Osgood a good goalie with a great team. You're watching a great goalie out there. The Red Wings have had the better goalie in each round of the playoffs. Chris Osgood is not Trent Dilfer.
-- What a ridiculous goon cheap-shot by Gary Roberts skating up from behind -- from behind -- and clocking Johan Franzen. No honor whatsoever. Of course seeing Roberts' face after Pavel Datsyuk threw punches at him was priceless. Actually, better than Roberts' face was Brett Lebda's smile when he saw Datsyuk taking on Roberts. And a beautiful job by Datsyuk of answering Ryan Malone's late hit on Henrik Zetterberg in the third period.
-- The Penguins accused Osgood of flopping when Petr Sykora bumped him. He might have gone down easily. But the main point is that Sykora did run into the goalie and did so intentionally. Watch Sykora's left shoulder. He leans into Osgood. How quickly Osgood went down is meaningless.
-- I'm still not sure why Datsyuk and Zetterberg didn't get more MVP attention this season. I'm not just saying this because they're outplaying Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Marian Hossa in this series. At the end of the regular season I asked why Datsyuk wasn't an MVP finalist after finishing fourth in the league in scoring and being a finalist for best defensive forward. Three forwards were named as finalists (including Malkin). There aren't three forwards more valuable than Datsyuk or Zetterberg. And if you're curious, I gave Datsyuk my first vote for the Selke and voted for Datsyuk as a Hart finalist behind Alexander Ovechkin.