10:44 Pittsburgh's net is empty and they're still having a tough time getting the puck away from Detroit. The Penguins mentioned they thought they've evolved a bit and played a style similar to the Red Wings this postseason. But I suppose, it's hard to beat them at their own game.
FINAL, Red Wings 3, Penguins 1
10:40 With less than five minutes left in the game, Pittsburgh's going to need to get something going. Bylsma's move is putting Malkin and Crosby together with Fedotenko, who's had a pretty solid game, but they're having trouble establishing anything in their offensive zone at all.
10:15 Rookie Detroit winger Justin Abdelkader scores his first career playoff goal. Abdelkader, on his fifth shift of the game, gloved the puck down and shot it far side on Fleury and gives the Red Wings a two-goal cushion. Red Wings 3, Penguins 1.
9:48 Pittsburgh calls a timeout to give their defensemen Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi a breather. The pair couldn't get off the ice for what must seem like an eternity for them. Actually, it was 2:22. Then with the icing, they'd be forced to stay on the ice, so Dan Bylsma takes the timeout. Crosby loses the faceoff, and the Pens still can't clear it out. The Red Wings score on another bouncing puck off of Fleury. Johan Franzen gets the goal, from Rafalski and Zetterberg. Red Wings 2, Penguins 1.
9:41 Interesting not to see Nick Lidstrom out on the Red Wings' top PP unit. He looks like he may still be hampered a bit by that mystery injury.
9:26 47 seconds after killing off the first penalty, Detroit is called again. Mikael Samuelsson is in the box for holding Staal. But the Wings keep Pittsburgh from establishing much with the man advantage.
9:22 First penalty of the game, 2 minutes to Brett Lebda for slashing Talbot's stick and breaking it.
9:18 Malkin gets a breakaway after Niklas Kronwall trips up, and sends Malkin streaking toward Osgood, who snaps up the shot with his glove. Detroit crisis averted.
9:15 After one, some stat breakdowns: no penalties on either side. Red Wings with 11 shots to Penguins' 7. Things are pretty even, except for one thing that jumps out. Penguins center Jordan Staal didn't win a single faceoff against Detroit rookie center Darren Helm. Red Wings won 69 percent of the faceoffs in the first.
8:52 Penguins tie it up. Malkin takes a hard shot at the top of the right circle. Osgood doesn't see the rebound sit in front of him and Ruslan Fedotenko follows up beautifully poking it out from Osgood's reach and sweep it around for the Penguins' first goal. Great play by Malkin, but also a missed hit by Brad Stuart which allows the center to get free and get off the shot. Red Wings 1, Penguins 1.
8:49 Crowd is outraged there wasn't a penalty called, but the refs have been letting the marginal stuff go, making the pace of play really nice.
8:44 Red Wings score on a flukey goal. Brad Stuart shoots the puck and it bounces off the end boards. Fleury overcommits, and the puck bounces off his outstretched leg and when he sits, he pushes the puck into the net. We're reconsidering our characterization of him as a stand-up. Red Wings 1, Penguins 0.
8:40 Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, recovering from an appendectomy performed Wednesday, has already taken four shifts this period. Playing in a hockey game probably isn't what most doctors would consider when they say put ice on it.
8:34 The crowd here is just itching for a goal. Every time the puck has come anywhere near the Pittsburgh goal, the fans are half getting out of their seats. Plenty of pushing and shoving between the whistles
8:17 Marc-Andre Fleury is already off on a better foot than he was last year. Recall during Game 1 of last year's Final, the Pittsburgh goalie tripped over the carpet and face-planted when leading the Penguins' charge onto the ice. Skating on cleanly, consider Fleury a stand-up goalie now.
With the last note of the national anthem, octopi count: 2.5
One was so small, it was practically a squid.
8:02 Settled into our seats in section 204, a makeshift auxiliary press box for all the extra media in attendance tonight. The Joe Louis Arena, in fact, was designed without a press box, and one had to be slapped on before the arena opened in 1979. Approaching its 30th birthday, the building hasn't aged very well, but for a big place that seats 20,066, it still has an intimate feel. Not as cavernous as some of the other large arenas in the league.
Walking in, there seemed to be a decent number of Penguins fans in the building, in the area. Pittsburgh's just a 4.5 hour drive, making this probably the only Stanley Cup Final pairing that's drivable for both side's fans.
7:30 Good evening, puckers! And welcome to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. We'll be feeding you sights and sounds from the arena with perhaps a little commentary here or there.
First off, though, we'll begin with another tidbit from the Gary Bettman press conference earlier today. Among the non-Phoenix/Balsillie things the Commissioner spoke about was an unequivocal wish for a more comprehensive drug testing program. In light of recent accusations out of Florida that a charged steroids dealer sold performance-enhancing drugs to athletes on the Washington Capitals and Nationals (still vague and nameless allegations that the league is investigating), Bettman took the hard stance and said he would like to see year-round testing and the adoption of WADA's recommended list. It'll be up to the Players' Association to agree to terms on such a program.
"We don't believe there is a performance enhancing drug problem in this league, but I acknowledge that our testing program could be more comprehensive," he said.