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Sunday, Apr. 19, 2015

Penguins are home and searching for goals

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

By IRA PODELL

AP Hockey Writer

PITTSBURGH -- No wins, no goals, no venom.

The Pittsburgh Penguins need to change all that -- and soon -- against the Detroit Red Wings if they have any hope of making this Stanley Cup finals matchup come close to its marquee billing.

After two empty games in Motown, the Penguins returned to Pittsburgh on Tuesday in an 0-2 hole and with few answers how to score even once against the stifling Red Wings.

"We need to find a way to hate that team," hard-hitting forward Gary Roberts said. "We haven't played any hockey against them the last few years. They play a game that they're not really in your face. They just play a puck-control game. They don't really make you that mad at them.

"After (Monday) night, hopefully we've built a little of that anger up and we can use that to our advantage."

The Red Wings outscored the Penguins 7-0 in taking the first two games of the series on home ice. The task becomes considerably tougher now for Detroit because Pittsburgh is 8-0 at the Igloo in the playoffs and has won 16 straight there dating to Feb. 24.

After getting back home early Tuesday morning following a 3-0 loss at Joe Louis Arena, the Penguins held an optional practice. No one was ready to call Wednesday's Game 3 a must-win, but the urgency wasn't lost on them, either.

"This is a big one," captain Sidney Crosby said. "We're at home, and we definitely want to make sure we don't give them the opportunity to go up 3-0 here, and be one game away. We're pretty confident here. We just want to make sure that the desperation is there."

Detroit ended each of its previous three playoff series on the road, dispatching Nashville and Dallas in six games around a sweep of Colorado.

The Red Wings also eliminated Calgary and San Jose from last year's playoffs on enemy ice before dropping Game 6 at Anaheim in the Western Conference finals. At 25-12-4, Detroit tied for the NHL's second best away mark in the most recent regular season.

"You see it in the NBA, no one wins on the road at all," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "It's real important you look after home ice. Nothing is happening in a series until you've won on the road, after you've looked after business at home. So they're going to get regrouped and they're going to have their best effort. We've got to have our best effort in Game 3."

Pittsburgh played the role Detroit is in now during its run through the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Penguins won the first two games at home against Ottawa, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia and then quashed any chance those clubs could stage a comeback by taking Game 3.

Now they have to figure out how to avoid the same fate in front of their "white-out" crowd that surely will be nervous Wednesday night.

"We just have to press a little bit, for sure, and try to do things that you wouldn't ordinarily do," Roberts said. "We've got to be focused on what we need to do to generate more chances. That may be simplifying our game a little bit.

"We've played well at home. We should feel good about what we've accomplished here. Our fans have been great to us all season and give us a lot of support. I think our energy will be high and we'll have our best game of the series."

Roberts was back in the lineup Tuesday night after missing the final three games of the Philadelphia series and unhappily sitting out the opener of the finals as a healthy scratch.

Even at 42, Roberts brings energy to a team that doesn't have an overly physical presence. He was one of the best Pittsburgh forwards in Game 2 for a team that had only 22 shots and trailed 2-0 before Detroit's Chris Osgood made a save.

Roberts drew the ire of the Red Wings in the third period when he struck forward Johan Franzen in the face with his gloved left hand as they came together near the penalty boxes. Franzen had missed six games before Tuesday because of a bout with recurring headaches. He wasn't cleared by doctors to play in a game until several hours before faceoff.

Franzen stayed down on his side for a few moments but was able to take his next shift and was whistled for roughing.

"It's obvious he decided to skate back into the play and then he decided to go down," Roberts said. "He obviously embellished it. If my glove got in his face, by no means was it a punch that should knock a guy down like that. He shouldn't be playing if he falls that easily."

Franzen and Roberts went off for roughing again with 1:08 remaining in the game, and Roberts earned an additional misconduct.

"I'm the only one stupid enough to not get my hands up and protect myself, maybe," Franzen said. "They want to send a message at the end of the game and show what we have to expect when we come to their place."



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