DETROIT -- It ain't broke that badly, just enough for the coach to feel an urgent need to fix it.
|Pittsburgh coach Michel Terrien is not going to sit back and watch a replay of his team's Game 1 loss. (Getty Images)|
Therrien will have Ryan Malone replace Pascal Dupuis on his top line with Sidney Crosby and Marian Hossa, while Maxime Talbot takes over Malone's spot alongside Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora. Dupuis will join Jordan Staal's unit with Tyler Kennedy, while veteran Gary Roberts gets back into the lineup, taking over Georges Laraque's spot on the fourth line.
"Every team has to make adjustments through the course of the playoffs," Therrien said as his team prepared for Game 2, to be held Monday in Detroit. "We believe those adjustments are going to help us to get success."
If they don't, the NHL's vision of a dream series it hopes will spark renewed interest in the United States could be over in short order. Pittsburgh isn't in danger of elimination just yet, but the Penguins are facing adversity by being down in a series for the first time; both of their previous losses came when they were ahead 3-0.
In each case, the Penguins responded with strong efforts to close things out, but they are facing an entirely different challenge against Detroit, a team that is clearly the best the Penguins have faced.
"Maybe it's good that we lost the first one," Dupuis said. "A little slap in the face will help us get back on planet Earth and want it more and work harder."
They'll have to, because if they go back to Pittsburgh down 2-0, the Penguins can essentially kiss their hopes of winning the title goodbye. Especially because it will likely mean they couldn't find a way to slow down the Red Wings, who were at the top of their very good game in the opener Saturday night.
"They'll gain some experience from the game, but so will we," Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood said. "We didn't play great in the first period, but then we possessed the puck very good for the last two."
That was mainly because Detroit stayed out of the penalty box for much of the final 40 minutes. The Red Wings allowed Pittsburgh four power plays in the first period but escaped unscathed and then shut down the visitors the rest of the way. The Penguins managed only seven shots over the final two periods, failing to generate any type of attack at even strength while committing enough turnovers to enable the Red Wings' high-powered transition game to take control.
More troubling from the Penguins' perspective was that Detroit won the battle of the superstars. Red Wings linemates Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk combined for 13 shots and one goal, while Crosby and Malkin were limited to four shots in the 4-0 loss. And because the Penguins can't get the matchups they want in Detroit because the home team gets the last line change, they'll have to settle for juggling their combinations in the hope of generating some pressure against the tough Red Wings defense.
"It's only Game 1, so I don't think it's desperation," Crosby said about the line shakeups. "Nobody's role changes, it's just different looks and sometimes it depends on who Coach wants to play certain lines against."
Crosby said the Penguins can fix things by getting pucks deep and using their speed to chase it down, but the problem is the Red Wings tend to hang on to the rubber most of the time. And Detroit thinks it can still improve on the game it played, although the Red Wings expect more from Pittsburgh.
"Those are good players, and the one thing about good players is they're real competitive," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "If they don't like their last game, they usually have a better game the next one."