Role guys are rolling for Wings

Associated Press
Pittsburgh's Marian Hossa scores the first goal against Detroit goalie Chris Osgood during the first period of Game 4 on Saturday night.

PITTSBURGH --- Henrik Zetterberg isn't scoring. Neither is Pavel Datsyuk. Tomas Holmstrom was injured and out for Game 4.


So how are the Red Wings up 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Finals, with a chance to close out the young and now desperate Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 on Monday night in Detroit?

Because Pittsburgh's big scorers aren't getting goals either, except for Sidney Crosby's two-goal blip in Game 3, and Detroit role players Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson are.

Hudler scored the biggest goal of the series so far, a backhander early in the third period created by defenseman Brad Stuart's persistence, and the Red Wings rallied from Pittsburgh's early lead to beat the Penguins 2-1 in a potentially pivotal Game 4 on Saturday night.

Hudler, one of the numerous European players on Detroit's roster, scored only 13 goals in 81 regular-season games, but he got his fifth and most important of the playoffs at 2:26 of the third.

Stuart kept the puck in the Pittsburgh zone with a blind, backhand pass that scooted behind the goal line. Then, seconds later, Darren Helm put a hard check on Brooks Orpik to keep him from gathering the puck and allow Hudler to get free in front to score.

Hudler might never score a more important goal, unless he can win a Stanley Cup deciding game with one. Samuelsson played a key role earlier in the series with three goals, or three more than Evgeni Malkin, the NHL's second-leading scorer during the season, has for Pittsburgh in the finals. And three more than teammate Datsyuk has.

Detroit became the first team since the second round of the playoffs to come back from a 1-0 deficit in a game -- every team that scored the first goal in the conference finals and in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals had won. Pittsburgh had been 11-0 when scoring first and had won its past 17 at home, including all nine previous playoff games this season.

The challenge now for the Red Wings is to make sure the Penguins don't get back there for a potential Game 6 on Wednesday.

The Red Wings fell behind in the first period, just as they did in losing 3-2 in Game 3, when Marian Hossa scored on a power play less than 3 minutes in. Detroit tied it slightly more than 4 minutes later, when captain Nicklas Lidstrom scored 2 seconds after a Detroit power play expired.

That goal kept the Penguins from gaining more momentum on their home ice, playing before their 66th consecutive sellout. Pittsburgh had hoped its home ice would be as advantageous as it was to the Red Wings, who won the first two games in Detroit by a combined score of 7-0.


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