Secondary scoring helps Pens get on Cup finals board

Updated: May 29, 2008, 1:54 AM ET

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Adam Hall's third-period goal gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead en route to a 3-2 win.

GAME 3'S DEFINING MOMENT

PITTSBURGH -- In the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals, the Red Wings got production from players other than Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, with wingers Mikael Samuelsson and Dan Cleary and defenseman Brad Stuart chipping in goals.

And although Sidney Crosby was the dominant player on the ice throughout Game 3, the winning goal came, perhaps unexpectedly but nonetheless happily for Pittsburgh, from the Penguins' fourth line. As one might expect, Adam Hall's goal at 7:18 of the third period wasn't a thing of beauty, but it came after a monstrous hit by Gary Roberts on Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was a monster himself through the first two games in Detroit.

That hit followed a big hit by Kirk Maltby at the other end of the ice and illustrated the frenetic pace of play in the third period. In the scramble behind the Wings' net after the Roberts hit, the Penguins never lost possession of the puck. Hall smartly saw Osgood out of position and banked the puck off the goalie's butt.

The goal illustrated the need for balance and smart physical play that will be crucial for the Penguins to stay close to the Red Wings.

"It's fun to see that Adam Hall and Gary Roberts got rewarded for the winning goal," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "And I'm sure Adam Hall had his most important goal of his career. This guy has a checking role with our team, killing [penalties]. And getting rewarded, with Gary on the ice, and Gary got an assist, it's fun to see."

Hall missed almost half the regular season after hernia surgery. In the playoffs, he had been a healthy scratch for three games. Yet, on Wednesday night, he scored the biggest goal of his career.

"It's going to be big," Hall said of the Penguins' balanced attack. "You don't just get to pick and choose where your success is going to come from, so everybody has to do everything they can.

"Everybody in here kicks it up a notch. These are the most important games a hockey player can play. I think every shift out there, guys know what they need to do, whatever role they're in."

Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.


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GAME 3 BREAKDOWN

GAME 3 -- THREE STARS

Crosby

Sidney Crosby
The Penguins' captain finally got his team on the board, scoring with 2:35 left in the first period and ending a Pittsburgh scoring drought that had lasted 137 minutes, 25 seconds. He added another goal early in the second.

Marc-Andre Fleury
The Penguins needed their netminder to be strong early on in Game 3 to have a chance of getting back in the series, and Fleury delivered. He made 32 saves and hasn't been beaten at home in 19 straight games.

Sergei Gonchar
Gonchar gave his team a strong defensive effort in Game 3 (he played 26:15), jumping into play and helping create scoring chances. He also played a key role in a late-game penalty kill that kept Detroit from tying it at 3.

GAME 3 -- SUIT CHALLENGE

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E.J. HRADEK'S TAKE

In Game 3, the Penguins did an excellent job of taking advantage of the Wings' bottom three defensemen: Brad Stuart, Andreas Lilja and Brett Lebda. If you're going to have any chance of beating the Wings, you have to attack those three players. They're vulnerable players. Also, the more you press them, the more pressure that falls to Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Niklas Kronwall.

• Read more from E.J. Hradek's blog Free