I’m not exactly live-blogging, because I want to watch the game! So here we are in the first intermission — still tied 0-0.
That doesn’t mean it has been a boring game so far. Maybe you have to be a hard-core fan to appreciate the game in the absence of goals; but it seems to me there has been plenty of action.
I’m rooting for Pittsburgh — the underdog. It’s a real achievement just to keep Detroit off the scoreboard, at Joe Louis arena.
And in fact, Pittsburgh dominated for at least ten or twelve minutes, beginning around the six minute mark. They held off the initial flurry that you can typically expect from the home team, and then took the play to Detroit for an extended stretch.
Speaking of flurry — er, Fleury — the Pens’ goalie made a couple of big saves toward the end of the period.
So — so far, so good for Pittsburgh. Here comes period two!
Second intermission. You want goals? — You got ’em. Pittsburgh 2, Detroit 0.
Both goals were scored by Maxime Talbot. No one scripted the game like this!
Malkin got an assist on the first goal.
Osgoode made a mistake on the second. It was a two-on-one; Osgoode was too far to his right, giving Talbot (the puck carrier) a little extra room on the glove side. And Talbot fired the puck perfectly, into the top corner of the net.
Crosby, who has only a few points in the finals, may be out for the rest of the game. He was pinned against the boards by Franzen, and Crosby couldn’t put any weight on his left leg afterwards.
That was at the mid-point of the second period. Crosby hasn’t returned to the ice since then.
I’m at MacLaren’s, a sports bar on Elgin Street in Ottawa. The place is hoppin’. They have plenty of beer, but they’re running short of glasses and pitchers to put the beer in.
I’m here because it’s sort of like being at the game. Whenever there’s a goal, or a good scoring chance, the crowd lets out a roar.
Welcome to Canada. In a post-Christian era, hockey is the closest thing we have to a state religion.
Bring on period three! Pitts-burgh, Pitts-burgh, Pitts-burgh!
2-1, Pittsburgh. Crosby and Malkin will be drinking champagne from the Stanley Cup tonight!
The crowd at MacLarens booed lustily when Gary Bettman (NHL commissioner) appeared on camera. But they cheered when Pittsburgh hoisted the silverware.
Marian Hossa, who failed to score a single goal for Detroit in this series, was on the ice during the last seconds of the game. He used to play for Pittsburgh; he moved to Detroit because he expected them to win the Stanley Cup. I guess it didn’t work out for him.
Hossa used to play for the Ottawa Senators, and he never failed during the playoffs. Never failed to disappoint, that is.
Pittsburgh played good defence in the third period. But Detroit finally scored with 6:00 minutes left in the game.
Then they hit the crossbar with about 2:00 minutes left in the game.
Then — with 1.2 seconds left in the game — Marc-Andre Fleury made the biggest save of his career.
The puck squirted over to Lidstrom, with no one between the Detroit defenceman and the net. Except Fleury, who had to dive across to make the save.
Crucially, Fleury didn’t go down to the ice. He threw his whole body across, upright, and Lidstrom’s shot went off Fleury’s chest protector.
What great playoffs we had this year! And what a great finals!
Decided by a single game, and a single goal in that final, seventh game.
This is the sort of event sports fans long for. But a finish like this happens only a handful of times in a fan’s lifetime.