Livetipsportal presents you tonight's game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Wings and the Pens at the Joe Louis Arena. The series is tied at two apiece, so this game could be the pivotal one of the series, as the winner will be just one win away from the title.
This time it's a certitude: Pavel Datsyuk will play tonight. Probable for game 3, highly probable for game 4, he finally didn't play those games. But yesterday afternoon, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock announced that the Russian center will be in the lineup for game 5. Not sure however if he'll play at center or on the wing. But he doesn't seem to care, declaring "Center, winger, defenseman, i don't care! I just want to play!" Anyway, his return should finally provide the Wings a weapon to stop Crosby and Malkin.
The two Penguins stars have been a deciding factor in game 4, both notching a goal and an assist. The game winning goal was scored by Crosby, on an assist from Malkin. However, the momentum switch of the game was the shorthanded goal scored by Penguins' third talented center Jordan Staal midway through the second period. A bit shocked to allow a shorty, the Red Wings had a little let down that cost them two more goals in the next five minutes. That's how they've gone from a 2-1 lead to trailing 4-2, the final score of the game.
Detroit had plenty of occasions to come back though, getting 39 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury's net. But the Penguins goalie had a brilliant night and allowed his team to emerge with the win.
With Datsyuk back in the lineup and with the high motivation he shown to play the game, Detroit should get a little boost mentaly. And this could turn to be the deciding factor for tonight's game, in what should be a very close affair. His return will also finally allow the Wings to off-load some defensive duties off of Zetterberg's shoulders. After having to play over 24 minutes in game 3, he shown some signs of fatigue in game 4, with a few unusual turnovers. And as they're playing home, the Red Wings will have the last change, which will allow them to have the matchups they want without having to spend some extra energy.
However, Detroit has to improve on its special units. They're just 1/12 (8.3%) on the powerplay, while they've been at 25.5% during the regular season (best in the league) and are at 23.8% since the start of the playoffs. The main reason is the poor performances of Marian Hossa and Thomas Hölmström, both held scoreless since the start of the series, while they are usually dominant players on Detroit's power play units. The penalty kill also had it struggles for Detroit, who killed only 10 of its 15 penalties in his series, for a horrible 66.7%. The PK was already a concern in the regular season (78.3% ; 25th in the league), but it became even worse in the post-season, with only 71.2%, ranked 14th amongst the 16 teams who participated to the playoffs.
But here again, Datsyuk's return could provide a great boost to Detroit's special units. Being their best forward defensively and their best playmaker, he can really make the difference. And even if he doesn't, we can expect Hossa and Hölmström to elevate their game. They have not been good so far in the Finals, and they know it. Hossa came to Detroit to win the Cup, thinking he couldn't do it with Pittsburgh. He has to step up to prove he was right. Hölmström already won 4 Stanley Cups, so he knows he can and must be better. I really expect both to make an impact tonight. And one way or another, Datsyuk will have an impact too.
Choice: Detroit Red Wings, with an odd of 2.05 at Expekt