There were plenty of people talking about Pavel Datsyuk’s foot this past week, but very few people knew what the problem was.
Datsyuk was absolutely the difference on Saturday night, as the Red Wings stomped all over Pittsburgh. Datsyuk’s line was dominant all night, and it was the clear advantage that Detroit needed after dropping two straight in Mellon.
In fact, last night was the first time all series the Detroit stars had made a big impact in this series. The other two Detroit wins were the result of strong fourth line play and some fortunate bounces, but last night Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Cleary took control of this game from the start and never looked back.
The other difference in the game is that Pittsburgh fell apart. After Datsyuk sets up Filppula for the second goal, the wheels fell off for the Penguins. Bad penalties, bad changes, and absolutely no help for Marc-Andre Fleury; it was an awful performance in the biggest hockey game of the season.
What matters now is not what Datsyuk does on Tuesday, but if Dan Bylsma can get control of his team. This wasn’t “making a statement” Malkin and Crosby, but two stars completely distracted by guys like Helm and Lebda. That’s not a game plan that’s going to win a Stanley Cup.