Here's the recap:
(Penguins 4, Red Wings 2)
The quick-strike offence is what got the Penguins past the Hurricanes in the Eastern Final, and on Thursday night they used it to get past the Red Wings - scoring three goals in under six minutes during the second period.
Jordan Staal turned the tide of this game with a shorthanded goal on a second consecutive Detroit power play; two minutes later Sidney Crosby put his side ahead and then Tyler Kennedy put the icing on the cake for the home team, getting on the end of a pretty nice tick-tac-toe play.
Just like that, it went from 2-1 Detroit to 4-2 for the Penguins.
The Wings had their chances, outshooting the Pens 39-31 by the end of the game, but it seems that (probably much to the delight of the NHL) it just wasn't meant to be.
It was disappointing not to see Pavel Datsyuk back in the lineup for this game, but after the pregame skate he decided he couldn't go. Hopefully they'll have him back before it's all over. It would truly be a shame if Detroit's best player (or at worst, their joint-best player) didn't play a single game in the Final.
Now, before I talk about the refs, hear this: I'm trying a Mike Babcock-like approach from here on out when it comes to the refs. He is of the mindset that the calls and the missed calls are part of the game and there's no real point in complaining TOO much.
I tried, anyways, to take that approach.
As for the reffing, I thought the inconsistency continued but it pretty much went both ways.
The one call that irked some Pens fans happened near the end of the game: a Detroit player hooked a Penguin that was in alone on the empty net...the ref called a hook.
The fans wanted a goal given, and they were probably right. But even there - it was either 5-2, or you've got the losing team down a man for the remainder of the game. That's what we call a win-win situation.
So, through four games the home team has not only won each game, but they've won each game by a two-goal margin. And here's another interesting stat: in each game so far, the losing team had the edge in shots.
Game five goes Saturday in Detroit.