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Pens grumpy as 'lucky' Wings fly in for Game 3

AS automaker General Motors filed for bankruptcy on Monday, lucky was not a word being used to describe events in Motor City as it absorbed another crunching blow to its pride and economy.

Yet that was how grumpy Pittsburgh Penguins fans were choosing to explain the Detroit Red Wings, who have turned tireless effort and a few fortunate bounces into a pair of 3-1 victories and a 2-0 lead in their Stanley Cup finals rematch.

"They (Detroit) are just plain lucky," grumbled one Pittsburgh supporter in a Sidney Crosby jersey. "How many times can you hit the post, it's unbelievable."

The mood in Pittsburgh ahead of Game 3 today is not quite as desperate as it was a year ago, when the Penguins were shut out in Games 1 and 2 at Joe Louis Arena.

But anxiety is on the rise.

There is concern over some leaky goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury and captain Crosby's inability to shake free of his pesky Detroit shadow Henrik Zetterberg.

History also favors Detroit.

Of the 32 times home teams have swept the first two games of the finals, only once have they failed to go on to win the Stanley Cup.

But there is no panic in the locker room as the Penguins have first-hand knowledge that such long odds can be overcome. After dropping the opening two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Washington Capitals, the Penguins stormed back to win the series 4-3.

Pittsburgh will also draw some comfort from its losing effort a year ago, when it fell behind 0-2 in the best-of-seven series, but pushed Detroit to six games before capitulating.

"Our focus is on what we need to do," said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. "You can try to divert your attention by talking about referees or bounces or whatever've just got to keep playing.

"You have to deal with the emotions and then get back to the task at hand, which is Game 3."

If the Penguins are to claw back into the series, they must find a way to free Crosby from Zetterberg's terrier-like attention.

Crosby, who entered the series tied for the playoff scoring lead with teammate Evgeni Malkin, has yet to register a point in the finals marking the first time this postseason he has been held scoreless in consecutive games. The Penguins have had more scoring shots than the Red Wings in both games, but have been frustrated by the brilliant goaltending of Chris Osgood, who has emerged favorite for the Conn Smythe honors as MVP in the Stanley Cup playoffs.


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