DETROIT -- It’s not enough that the Detroit Red Wings have shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins twice, held them without a shot on goal for the first 12 minutes Monday and are making a mockery of a Stanley Cup finals that was supposed to win over millions of hockey neophytes.
The Red Wings, 3-0 victors at Joe Louis Arena and owners of a 2-0 series lead, believe they can raise their game.
That’s not what the Penguins needed to hear as they try to avoid utter embarrassment Wednesday at Pittsburgh.
“We’re going to play better,” Detroit Coach Mike Babcock said after goaltender Chris Osgood stopped 22 shots as a follow-up to his 19-save, 4-0 shutout in Game 1.
“We’ve been a good road team all year. We’re going to have a real good game in Pittsburgh.”
This was more than good enough, with a goal and an assist from former King Brad Stuart and a team effort that held Evgeni Malkin to no shots and Sidney Crosby to three.
The Penguins, who juggled their line combinations before and during the game, haven’t scored in 135 minutes 57 seconds, since early in the third period of their Eastern Conference clincher against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Of the 31 teams that opened the finals 2-0 at home, 30 went on to win the Cup. The lone exception was the 1971 Blackhawks, who won the first two in Chicago but lost to Montreal in seven games.
“They play well positionally,” Crosby said. “And I think I said this before, but when we’re not at our best I think we’re just kind of playing a chess match with them. And you know it’s a game of mistakes then.
“If we don’t capitalize and they do, we’re in trouble.”
The Penguins conceded two goals Monday before they got a shot on Detroit’s net. Stuart scored at 6:55 of the first period, holding onto the puck long enough for his teammates to create a screen before taking an ice-skimming shot from just above the right faceoff circle that skipped past Marc-Andre Fleury.
Tomas Holmstrom made it 2-0 at 11:18, tapping in a loose puck after Fleury stopped Henrik Zetterberg’s initial shot. Valtteri Filppula made it 3-0 with a fine individual effort at 8:48 of the third period.
After that, the game degenerated into scrums and accusations of cheap shots and diving.