Detroit takes stranglehold
(1) Detroit v. (2) Pittsburgh
Red Wings lead series 3-1
But sure, you’re excited about being in a position like this. This is what you play for all year long. When training camp starts, you’re preparing to be in a situation like this. So this is where you want to be, have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.This could very well be old hat come Sunday morning, but here are the numbers nonetheless: When a team is up 3-1 in the Stanley Cup finals, its record historically has been 28-1 in the series, with only the 1942 Maple Leafs coming back against the Red Wings.— Nick Lidstrom
And when the team with home-ice advantage goes up 3-1, the historical record is a perfect 20-0, with the trailing team extending the series beyond five games just 35 per cent of the time.
It looks grim, Pittsburgh.
Evgeni Malkin was terrible in this game, especially during crunch time in the third period, when he played more than half the frame (10:03) or 43 per cent of his ice time. Bad decisions with the puck, even worse ones without it, he's gone from being the game's best player in the second half of the regular season and early in the postseason to being a major liability, but if you're Michel Therrien, what choice do you have but to play him?
Malkin was on the ice seven minutes of the game's final 10:43 — even when it was clear early on that he had no business being out there.
On the flipside, Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg were the game's best players. It's been really satisfying in these playoffs to finally see Zetterberg get his due as an elite offensive and defensive forward, something that would be capped off by his winning the Conn Smythe and Selke trophies in the span of just more than a week.
His stick check late in the 5-on-3 penalty kill on Sidney Crosby was a game-saver, and the hustle and tenacity shown by all of the Red Wings really came through there. (Zetterberg played about a minute and a half less than in Game 3, when Mike Babcock indicated he'd received too much ice time.)
Lidstrom, meanwhile, played nearly half the game (again), scored the tying goal early in the first period and helped buck one of the trends of these playoffs: The team that scored first didn't win for the first time in the finals, and for only the 25th time in 84 games in the 2008 postseason.
And Chris Osgood was — ho hum — solid when he had to be.
A final note that I'll be on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh Sunday morning between 11 and noon for a bit of a postmortem on this one and a look ahead to Monday's Game 5 in Detroit.
And I'll be hosting a live chat at FanHouse on Monday afternoon, with special guests TBA.