Well, there really IS no tomorrow this time.

The Red Wings and the Penguins are playing as if their very hockey lives depended on tonight’s Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. Which, of course, is true.

Every rush up the ice, every turnover, every deflection, causes oohs and aahs from the Joe Louis Arena crowd.

Chris Osgood has caused a few of them as well.

Ozzie, the Red Wings goalkeeper, has been spectacular, especially during a Pittsburgh power play.

But the Red Wings are helping him, playing physical and getting in the way of the Pens’ passing lanes.

Marian Hossa, the beleaguered ex-Pen, current Red Wing who signed with Detroit to win a Stanley Cup but has yet to show in the Finals that he’d like to be a participant rather than a coat-tailer, has been flying.

Quick observation: Red Wings defenseman Nick Lidstrom, in addition to being the best defenseman in the NHL, maybe in league history, also possesses the “smartest” stick in the game.

What?

Lidstrom, who doesn’t play physical, uses his stick and angles and smarts to disrupt plays. It’s subtle, it’s not sexy, but it’s effective as hell.

Nicky’s been at it in the first period, getting himself in the way and providing a calming influence on the ice. So what’s new, right?

Only one minor penalty, and that’s fine, but the Red Wings could have had at least one power play themselves in the first stanza. But this game isn’t being unduly influenced by the referees, and that’s a good thing.

Shots on goal: Pittsburgh 10, Detroit 6.

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