Malkin on missed chances in Game 1, lucky lack of beard

Dmitry Chesnokov

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Reminder: Live Blog of Game 2 starting at 7:45 p.m. EST.

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals is scheduled for Sunday evening, with the Detroit Red Wings up 1-0 over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Detroit doesn't plan for any lineup changes, as Pavel Datsyuk(notes) and Kris Draper(notes) will miss Game 2.

As for Pittsburgh, it would appear they learned plenty from their Game 1 defeat, according to Evgeni Malkin(notes) and Ruslan Fedotenko(notes). They spoke with Dmitry Malinovsky, Sovetsky Sport's Detroit based reporter, after last night's game.

"In the first period it took us too long to warm up," said Malkin. "We played better in the second but didn't convert on our chances. And Detroit didn't waste theirs. In the end they won and we didn't."

Here's a translation of their interviews with SovSport. First up, Malkin on frustrations in Game 1 and why he isn't taking part in a famous playoff tradition any longer:

Q. Tell us about your one on one against Osgood. What did you feel? What did you want to do?

MALKIN: I didn't think about anything much. I saw an open corner of the net above the catching glove and decided to shoot there. And Osgood reacted well, made a save and the puck went over the net.

Did you know you were all alone? Detroit defensemen didn't even try to catch you.

Yes, I felt that I would not be prevented [from going one on one]. Maybe I should have just calmly gone for a deke. But I rushed, I really wanted to score. It just didn't happen for me.

The media is hyping up your rivalry with Detroit. Just a little bit more and they will call it World War III. Have you soaked up the feeling of responsibility for Pittsburgh's fate? Or is this hype only for the fans and you go out as is it's just another game?

I think you're right when you say it's all for the fans. You do your job and we have to play with a "cold head." Giving in to these feelings won't do any good. Even though, of course, we want to revenge last year's loss. It was said that we easily handed the Cup to Detroit. That's why this year we will play better. To win. That's why we are here.

Detroit most certainly had plans to play one on one against your leaders. Did you feel some personal coverage from Detroit's players?

Not really, no one played personally against me. We had the same pair of defensemen Stuart and Kronwall playing against our line. And the same forwards as well. I wouldn't say that it was easy to play against that line. They are fast and mobile defensemen. They play very physical. That's why in the next game we have to find the way to get away from their coverage.

You're going to review the game tomorrow. But now right after Game 1 can you tell us what didn't work out for you?

I couldn't convert my chances. I didn't score when it was still 1-1. If I had the game could have taken a different turn. They would have had to catch up to us. That's why I think we shouldn't exaggerate anything. We should look at the mistakes we made in defense, pay more attention to putting pressure on their goalie, and Osgood will start making mistakes. He played well and was very confident tonight.

Detroit's official slogan is "The beard is back." Where is yours?

I had a beard, but when we started losing to the Flyers I thought I had to change something. I shaved it and the luck came. And also my beard was not very good. So let our bearded guys grow it longer, but I will keep shaving. That way the luck will come from all sides.

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Now, here is Ruslan Fedotenko, who scored the only Pittsburgh goal last night. "We couldn't show anything in the first period. It was like we were testing the waters," he said. "In the second period we did visibly better, but it wasn't enough to beat them."

Q. Do you think Franzen's goal at the end of the second period knocked you off your saddle?

FEDOTENKO: Of course when you start losing you begin forcing things trying to even the score. What we need to do is to stick to our game, just like the Red Wings [stuck] to theirs tonight, and then the result will be different.

Do you think you were just unlucky tonight?

You can call it what you like. The Red Wings had a couple of lucky breaks that they capitalized on. But they did play better than us tonight. When they scored the third goal, they very skillfully stopped our attempts to even the score. Let's admit it: They were the better team tonight.

The first goal against the Penguins was a little odd when the puck slid under your goalie when he was sitting on the ice. It looked like it unsettled you a little bit.

I don't think so because we did even the score after that. It was back to the beginning after 1-1. But then they converted on a couple of their chances. But nothing terrible has happened yet. Tomorrow we have to play better just like we used to before and we have to even the series.

In the second half your coach changes the line combinations and you played with Malkin and Crosby. What was the reason for the change, and how did it feel to play with them?

What was the reason? It's a question for the coach. He called our names and we jumped over the boards. There was no time to find out what the reason was. It was easy to play with them. It's always easy to play with good players. Just pay attention where they go, create space, pass the puck and everything will turn out great.

Before this series a lot has been said about Detroit being old: moving too slow, sand falling off their shoulders etc; and that the Penguins would just run them over. Do you feel this way?

Of course not! You saw them play! The reason they don't run around the rink after the puck is because they control the puck. It is their style, and not their age. Puck possession, making their opponent play how they want them to play, and attack. Maybe their average age is above ours, but I did not see any sand on the ice tonight."

How difficult is it to control all four lines of the Red Wings? You played tight against the leaders like Hossa and Zetterberg even though they still had chances. But tonight Detroit had Stuart and Abdelkader scoring.

We actually knew what to expect from the Red Wings. But it so happened that our guys, who play in the third and the fourth lines did not use their chances, and their guys did. I think we need to stick to our game and use all three periods. Then everything will happened for us just like it was happening for Detroit tonight.