We will find out in a few hours if the Penguins are going to get back into the Stanley Cup final or if the hockey season could end Thursday. Some believe this series is already over after seeing Detroit dominate the first two games---I tend to agree with those people. Others say Detroit simply held serve at home and now Pittsburgh gets the chance to do the same. If Pittsburgh is to win this series, the following needs to happen tonight.
1. The Penguins need to find a way to keep Sidney Crosby away from Henrik Zetterberg. We knew Zetterberg was a great two way player going into the series, but he has picked up game and taken it to another level with the way he has shut down Sid. If he can't get away from Zetterberg's shadow tonight, its advantage Detroit
2. Evgeni Malkin's state. Its obvious the Wings have thrown Malkin off of his game from looking at his antics at the end of Game 2---antics that should have him sitting in civvies tonight. Either he comes out with a little more focus to his game or he comes out with an "I don't give a you know what". If its the latter---advantage Detroit
3. Goaltending. Chris Osgood has made the saves when it has counted. Marc-Andre Fleury has not. If Fleury struggles again tonight, Pittsburgh will need to throw at least four or five behind Osgood.
4. Pittsburgh's 2nd tier guys have to make an impact. Detroit has gotten great contributions from Cleary, Helm, Fillipula, Abdelkader, etc. etc. etc. What has Pittsburgh gotten from guys like Kunitz, Staal, Talbot, Letang. Detroit has proven they can win without their stars doing it night after night. Its time for Pittsburgh to show the same thing.
5. Killer instinct. The Wings must realize they have the Penguins on the ropes. They must realize that giving it everything they have tonight might mean the season ends Thursday. They know a win tonight by the Penguins gets them back in the series. Mike Babcock will have his team ready to play. Its up to Pittsburgh to meet the intensity and then some.
At the end of the night, we will see what transpired.