Archive for April, 2008

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 3 (4/29/08)

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Forsberg was able to go to start this game and Theodore said he was 100% over the flu so I was expecting a great game.

The first period did not disappoint.  Both teams played hard and the energy level was high.  Colorado drew first blood with a shot that may have been redirected.  It was kind of an off speed shot and moved slowly past Osgood and into the net.  Detroit answered when Zetterberg and Datsyuk teamed up for a beautiful power play goal.  From then on Detroit was just all over the Avalanche.  They were constantly pressuring in Colorado’s end.  Just a few seconds after the Red Wings first goal Franzen continued his streak with a goal from his spot in front of the net.  The first period ended 2-1 Detroit.  At some point during the first period Forsberg left the ice for unknown reasons.

Forsberg was able to return in the second period but unfortunately for the Avs Stastny left the game after incidental contact with Datsyuk in the first period.  They bumped legs a little bit near center and it must have been worse than it looked for Stastny.

Detroit scored first in the second period.  Datsuk was standing near the top of the crease and Theodore was way out because Rafalski had the puck up at the point and Theodore was expecting a shot.  Instead Rafalski passed it to Datsyuk who pulled it back and around Theodore for an easy goal.  Not long later McCarty took a dumb penalty for holding and the Avs capitalized.  It was another redirected shot and Osgood didn’t have much of a chance.  That made it 3 to 2 Detroit.  Near the midway point of the period Forsberg was penalized with a double minor for high sticking Samuelsson.  It really didn’t look that bad and the crowd thought it was a dive but Sammy’s mouth was all bloody so it must have been worse than it looked.  Detroit capitalized on the power play when Zetterberg was left unattended at the side of the net.  Datsyuk found him and it was an easy tap in.  For the most part the rest of the period was all Detroit.  Colorado had a few chances but Detroit was all over them whenever they had the puck.  The period ended with Detroit up 4 to 2.

In the third period Colorado really pushed back hard.  They got a power play goal early after Detroit was hit with two bench minors for too many men.  From then on Colorado was pressuring for the tieing goal.  They had tons of chances and Osgood made a lot of great and timely saves.  They were not able to tie the game however and Detroit won.

This 4-3 win brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 3-0 Detroit.

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 2 (4/26/08)

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

There was a bit more animosity to start the first period.  McCleod of the Avalanche picked up the octopus after it was thrown on the ice.  He held it up and taunted the Red Wings with it and then threw it into the tunnel.  It was a pretty bad throw and he almost put it into the stands.  It hit the wall right above the usher who was standing in the tunnel.  He had to duck to get out of the way and not end up smelling like octopus all day.  I thought that was kind of a jerk move by McCleod.  I don’t mind him picking it up and tossing it off the ice, but leave the poor usher out of it.

The attitude didn’t seem to carry over into the game for the Avalanche.  The Red Wings pretty much dominated the first period.  The only goal was scored by Franzen who continues to be unstoppable.  He was in front of the net and made another beautiful redirect that Theodore never had a chance to stop.  Filppula hit Foote from behind at the end of the first period and drove him head first into the boards.  I don’t think he was trying to hurt him, it was just a case of Foote turning just as Filppula got to him.  Foote and the rest of the Avalanche were very upset about not getting a power play out of it. 

In the second period the Red Wings broke this game wide open.  It started with Franzen again.  He came around the net and when he got to the front he sort of faded backwards then roofed a backhand shot over Theodore.  Next, Drake took a shot from the point and Theodore directed it to the back boards.  It bounced quickly back to the front of the net where Filppula arrived at the perfect time for a quick goal.  Finally, on an odd man rush Zetterberg carried the puck in and crossed in front of the net.  He waited for the right moment and popped it in.  That was the end for Theodore as he was once again pulled and replaced by Budaj.  Things really started breaking down for the Avs at that point.  There was a fight between McCarty and McCormick.  McCarty probably threw more punches but McCormick got the takedown.  I’d call it a draw.  It didn’t seem to add much life to Colorado.  They continued to take one penalty after another for most of the rest of the period.  The one positive for the Avs was that they were able to kill two 5 on 3 power plays.  Budaj has been solid in the minutes he’s played.  It’ll be interesting to see if he or Theodore starts in game 3.  The second period ended with Detroit winning 4 to 0.

In the third period the Avs came out with a little more jump and put some pressure on the Red Wings.  It led to a goal when Chelios got trapped in his own end with no one to pass to.  He tried to clear it but it was intercepted by the Avs and they scored.  A short time later the Red Wings took a penalty and it looked like things were starting to go Colorado’s way.  The Red Wings got the puck and Zetterberg took it in on net shorthanded.  Budaj stopped the shot but gave up a rebound and Franzen was following the play.  He took a whack at and then stopped in front of the net.  Budaj stopped Franzen’s first attempt but it popped up in the air.  Franzen was still there and he punched it in from mid-air.  That Franzen’s third goal of the game and his first career hat trick.  Franzen has really stepped up his play over the last couple of months and it’s great to see his streak continuing in the playoffs.

The Red Wings are looking great right now and the Avs seem really down.  I’m sure it has something to do with losing Forsberg.  He skated during warmups today but was unable to play because of a sore groin.  If he’s able to go in game 3 I think we’ll see a much better performance from Colorado.

This 5-1 win brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 2-0 Detroit.

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 1 (4/24/08)

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

This game started out looking pretty evenly matched.  Colorado opened the scoring early in the first period.  Taking a page from the Nashville Predators, Detroit answered just 53 seconds later.  It was a perfectly executed give and go from Zetterberg to Datsyuk and back to Zetterberg for the tieing goal.  Later Dan Cleary scored with a blast that popped up in the air.  Everybody lost sight of it and it dropped in behind Jose Theodore and into the net.  Towards the end of the period Detroit scored again, this time on a power play.  Franzen made a beautiful redirect right in front of the net.  Theodore never had a chance.  Franzen’s hand-eye coordination was incredible, even in slow motion.  The period ended with Detroit leading 3-1.

Early in the second period Franzen scored another beautiful goal.  This one was a one-timer and he picked the corner.  There was very little room but he nailed it perfectly.  At that point Colorado pulled Jose Theodore and put in Peter Budaj.  From then on the Avs slowly started stepping up their play.  They scored a goal that found an opening on Osgood where it didn’t look like there was an opening.  They kept playing better and better and ended up with an odd man rush.  They scored on that play making it 4-3 Detroit. 

In the first half of the third period Detroit seemed to be getting back some of the momentum.  However, in the second half of the third Colorado really stepped it up.  They pressured hard for almost 10 minutes straight and Detroit had to be very defensive.  Osgood made several stellar saves and the Avalance were not able to tie the game.

This 4-3 win brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 1-0 Detroit.

Round 2: Detroit vs. Colorado

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

The first round is over and the results are in.  Detroit will face Colorado in the second round.  This will bring back a lot of great memories for some of us!  Maybe this matchup will rekindle one of the best rivalries in recent years.

Check out my video page (under pages at the right), to see a nice summary of the Detroit / Colorado rivalry.

Game 1 is Thursday night at 7.30.  Mike Babcock has said that Osgood will remain in net to start Round 2.  It should be a great series!

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 6 (4/20/08)

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Wow, the first period was incredible!  The intensity level, the physicality and the pace of the first period were absolutely awesome.  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  Both teams had lots of shots and quality chances.  Neither team scored thanks to some great goaltending at both ends.  The announcers never seem to get tired of talking about how great the Predators are, but I think the pace favored Detroit.  The Red Wings were the more physical team.  The energy level and the desire seemed to be about even.

The frantic pace continued in the second period.  The Red Wings badly outshot the Predators but the energy level was still about equal.  The highlight of the period came just after Chelios took a penalty.  In the opening seconds of Nashville’s power play Lidstrom got the puck at center ice.  He tossed it towards Nashville’s net and it bounced in front of Ellis.  It went up and over his shoulder and right into the net for a Detroit shorthanded goal.  After that Detroit took another penalty and they successfully killed off a 5 on 3 power play.

At some point in the period Tootoo had his nose bloodied but it wasn’t clear what caused it.  He played the end of the period with gauze in nose.  Mike Emerick said that Tootoo had broken his nose.  Something tells me that HE didn’t break it.  I’d guess one of the Red Wings broke it for him.  :-)  Too bad they didn’t have video of it.

In the third period the Red Wings continued to pressure.  The fourth line had been creating chances and pressuring the Predators all game long.  It finally paid off when Hudler lauched a one timer past Ellis.  That really took the wind out of the sails of Nashville.  After that the Red Wings put on the clamps.  They locked things down and the Predators were scrambling to score for the last 10 minutes or so.  They pulled the goalie around the 2 minute mark and eventaully Rafalski got an empty net goal.

Osgood got the shutout as the game ended 3-0.  Ozzy has been a rock and I hope they stick with him in the second round.  Nothing against Hasek, but I have more confidence in Osgood.

The best thing is, no more Nashville!  Woo hoo!  On the other hand, it never gets any easier.  As tough as Nashville was, you can bet that the next round will be even tougher.

This 3-0 win finishes this Western Conference Quarterfinal series at 4-2 Detroit.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 5 (4/18/08)

Friday, April 18th, 2008

The big news at the start of this game was the surprise scratching of Arnott and Legwand for the Predators. 

The Red Wings played a textbook first period. They were great defensively.  Filppula scored the first goal with wicked shot.  The Wings had tons of scoring chances and pretty much shut the Predators down.  It was just what they needed to start the game.  Osgood bobbled the puck a few times but he kept things under control. 

The second period was even better than the first from a defensive standpoint.  The Red Wings had tons of shots and held the Predators to just three.  The saves that Osgood made were even more impressive considering the long stretches where he had nothing to do.  He was sharp when he had to be.  The Red Wings had lots of chances to score but Ellis was up to the challenge.

The Red Wings continued to play incredibly well during the third period.  The only problem was that Dan Ellis was playing the game of his life.  He held the Wings scoreless in the third.  With about a minute and a half to go Barry Trotz pulled the goalie and the Predators started playing for their lives.  Osgood tried to weather the storm but he got beat beat by a game tieing goal with only 43 seconds left.  Unlike the previous two games, Detroit played well for a complete 60 minute game.  Incredibly, because of some excellent goaltending, that was only enough for a tie.

The overtime didn’t last long.  The Predators turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Kronwall found Franzen with a brilliant pass.  Franzen went in all alone against the goalie and beat him.  Franzen picked a perfect time to continue his recent game-winning-goal scoring ways!  What a relief!  It would have been really hard to accept playing that well and not winning the game.  One more win and we can forget about the Predators.  I’m looking forward to it!

This 2-1 overtime win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 3-2 Detroit.

We’re Off To See The Wizard

Friday, April 18th, 2008

The Detroit Free Press has reported that Chris Osgood will be the man for tonight’s game.  Nothing against Hasek, but I’m glad to see Ozzy get his chance.  He’s played well all year and he’s very reliable.  Dom is great when good but terrible when he’s not.  I don’t think it’ll affect the team too much mentally.  It seems like they’re equally comfortable playing in front of either goalie.  It’s a must win tonight; I think Osgood will be up to the challenge.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 4 (4/16/08)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

This game started out disturbingly similar to the way the previous game ended.  The Red Wings had some good scoring chances in their first few shifts.  Then, early in the period, Nashville scored a goal.  Within about thirty seconds after the first goal, they scored again putting Detroit down two nothing.  Nashville seemed to have a lot more confidence in this game after winning the last one.  Detroit was aware of the double goal threat and had planned to really bear down the shift after a goal.  It didn’t seem to work this time though.  I’m starting to become concerned.  I’m a strong believer in the wisdom of Mike Babcock so if anybody can talk the Wings out of this funk, it’s him.

Detroit looked quite a bit better to start the second period.  They had a power play early on and did a great job of keeping the puck in the zone for an exteded period.  Nashville wasn’t able to clear for over a minute and finally Datsyuk scored.

Immediately, after the Red Wings’ goal, Nashville scored again.  It looked like Hasek couldn’t see the puck very well and it may have been tipped.  That was it for him.  Osgood came in to see if he could shake things up a little.  Detroit played better but didn’t close the gap at all and the period ended 3-1.

Early in the third Datsyuk scored again with another display of great patience waiting for the shot to open.

Detroit played very well for the rest of the third period but were never able to get the tieing goal.  We head back home for game 5.  Hopefully, the Joe will more friendly to the Wings.  If they could play an entire game as a well as they play in spurts this series would be over by now.  They have to find a way to stop Nashville from double dipping.

I’m wondering if Osgood will start the next game.  Probably not, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea.  He was really solid and he deserves a chance to get on a hot streak.

This 3-2 loss brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 2-2.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3 (4/14/08)

Monday, April 14th, 2008

The scoring in this game started when Draper scored a beautful goal on a nice dish from Hudler.  He showed incredible patience waiting for the puck to settle down and for Ellis to move out of position.  It was great for Detroit to get the first goal.  Hasek also played very well to keep the Predaotrs off the board in the first period.

Kronwall made one of the biggest hits I’ve ever seen about halfway through the second period.  It looked like his elbow might have come up a little bit but I think what really happened was that the Nashville player (Bonk) tried to duck at the last second.  Kronwall wasn’t penalized so it was a clean hit.

Hudler scored a goal a bit later by getting to the front of the net.  He was in the right place at the right time for an easy tap in goal.

Nashville got a goal in the second period and that really seemed to ignite them.  Just a few minutes later Nashville scored again after creating a turnover and getting a two on one.  It was very much like the previous game where we were up by two and then bang bang it’s a tie game.  It’s a very distrubing trend.  The period ended all tied up at two.

In the third period Datsyuk had a takeaway that he brought into the Nashville zone.  He sold the pass really well and fired a laser into the net.  That unassissted goal put the Wings back up by one.

After Datsyuk’s goal the Predators seemed to settle down a little and it looked like the Wings were going to wrap things up without too much trouble. 

Then the wheels came off…for real this time.  With about 4 minutes to go Nashville scored twice in 9 seconds.  The Wings pulled Hasek for an extra skater when it got to the last minute and Nashville capped things with an empty netter.

I don’t even know how this happened.  It’s quite a shock.  Nashville defeinitely took a game that they didn’t deserve to win.  We can’t afford to let that happen again.

This 5-3 loss brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 2-1 Red Wings.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2 (4/12/08)

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

There were lots of momentum shifts in this game.  The Red Wings started out dominating.  In particular McCarty and Holmstrom started the game like they were shot out of a cannon.  Holmstrom was hitting everybody in sight and McCarty was rewarded with his first goal since returning to the Red Wings.  I’ll admit that I teared up a little when McCarty scored and then again when they announced the goal and the crowd went nuts.  Way to go, Darren!

Detroit was very dominant offensively in the first period but defensively they got caught in their own zone several times on long shifts.  Luckily Dominick Hasek made some huge saves to keep the Wings on top.

Lidstrom scored on a power play blast to make it two nothing Red Wings.

Then in the second period the momentum started to shift.  Nashville dumped the puck in and Dom came out to play it.  It took a terrible bounce off the boards and went straight to the middle of the ice and right to a Nashville player who tapped it into the empty net. 

Then, just a few seconds later, another bad bounce created a turnover as Lilja couldn’t play the puck and  a Nashville player took it.  They brought it in and scored making it two to two and stunning the Red Wings. 

Sensing the shift in momentum, Mike Babcock called a timeout and told the Wings to settle down.  It worked.  Immediately after the timeout Draper scored a goal to put the Red Wings back up by one.

In the third period the Red Wings dominated.  Holmstrom ended up scoring the fourth goal for the Red Wings and then they shut things down.  The Predators tried to come back, but you could tell by their body language on the bench and on the ice that they were alread beaten.  The game ended 4 to 2 Wings.

Now we head to Nashville where I expect we’ll see a much different Predators team.

I really like what I’ve seen from the Red Wings so far.  They seem to be playing at such a high level, it’s like they have an extra gear that they’ve been saving for the playoffs and it’s really exciting to see it.

This 4-2 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 2-0 Red Wings.