Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 4 (4/23/09)

The Red Wings were in Columbus tonight for game four against the Blue Jackets. A win tonight would finalize a round one sweep and get the Wings some good rest before round two. As usual, the goalies for this game were Osgood and Mason.

Early in the first period the Red Wings ended up on the power play after the officials stopped a fight before it even started. Ericsson was going to go with Dorsett but the linesman stepped in before the fight began. Columbus ended up with two guys called for roughing and Detroit had only one. On the power play Lidstrom fired from the point. The rebound hit Tyutin in front of the net and went in to give the Wings the early lead. The play started when Tyutin failed to clear the puck on an easy play so it wasn’t a good shift for that poor guy. Hitchcock had said before the game that they absolutely needed to score first. If he was right about that then his team was out of the game in the first period.

A few minutes later in the period Maltby was called for interference and Huselius scored a power play goal for the Blue Jackets. He took a hard wrister and just flat out beat Osgood. In game three the Blue Jackets didn’t score until it was too late so there was a danger here that the goal could really give them some momentum. It was the first time their fans really had something cheer for.

The Red Wings answered back quickly to retake the lead. Hossa brought the puck around the back of the net and shot. The rebound squirted out to Stuart who shot with Holmstrom in front of the crease. That rebound dropped down in front of Mason and Holmstrom chipped it up and over him. That gave the lead back to the Wings two to one.

Just past the halfway point of the first period Kopecky released a shot and the rebound hit the back boards and trickled back towards the goal line. Cleary picked up the puck right next to the net and banked it into the goal off of Mason. The Jackets didn’t know what hit them at that point. Hitchcock called his timeout to regroup.

Early in the second period Rick Nash had a great shift. First he nailed Brad Stuart with a hard hit and then scored a goal. It was a bang bang play where Nash snuck in back door, received a quick pass and tipped it in behind Osgood. That brought the Blue Jackets back to within a goal with a lot of time left in the game.

A few minutes later Ericsson was called for holding on a questionable call. The fans all booed because even they thought the penalty was going against Columbus. On the power play Umberger made a nice move through all the Red Wings and shot the puck in to tie the game at three. Momentum had definitely swung towards Columbus.

Then Hossa decided it was time to take the lead back and just went nuts all over the ice. He shot and then picked up his own rebound and shot it in to take back the lead. It was a heck of shift by Hossa and the entire line. They just refused to give up.

The Wings then had a couple of power plays in a row. On the second one Holmstrom got the puck behind the net. He faked like he was going around but instead pulled up and passed it to Hossa in the slot. Hossa one timed it for another goal to put the Wings back up by two. That took a bite out of Columbus’ momentum.

With about five minutes to go in the second period Columbus went on the rush up ice two on two. Russell faked a pass across and took the shot instead. He burned Osgood on the glove side and scored bringing them back within a goal. Ken and Mick were commenting that they didn’t think Osgood was feeling 100% in this game. Ken pointed out that in the first three games Osgood was stopping those shots all night long. It was a good point. On the next save that he made you could tell that he was hurting. He kind of stumbled when he got up and it looked like he had tweaked something.

A few minutes later Modin scored on a rebound to tie the game at five. It was starting to look like they might need Conklin to come in and give Osgood a rest.

The second period ended with the scored still tied. The crowd was going bananas.

Osgood came back out to start the third so he must have felt that he was okay. He looked much better in the third. Maybe he had just lost his focus temporarily or something.

The third period was a crazy ride. The play went up and down the ice with insane intensity at both ends. With less than two minutes left in the game and the score still tied Columbus was called for too many men on the ice. They argued the call but there was no question about it. I think they were mad at themselves more so than the officials. With 46 seconds left in the game Franzen scored a power play goal to break the tie. Hudler crashed the net and while everybody was worried about him, the puck squirted out to Franzen who picked it up and popped it in. After that the fans showered the ice with cans and bottles. Apparently, they disagreed with the call. Again, it was unfortunate for the Blue Jackets but there was no choice but to make that call.

That was a back breaker for Columbus. They didn’t get the goalie pulled until the clock was down to around 20 seconds and they weren’t able to get any good scoring chances.

So the Red Wings wrapped up a four game sweep and earned some very valuable rest. All things considered this was a relatively easy way for the Wings to start the playoffs. No slight to the Blue Jackets, they played tough, but it was easy travel for the Wings. It seemed like the Red Wings dominated this entire series without really having to try very hard. They got out of this series with a pretty low physical toll. Nobody was injured, or overworked. It was a great series but I’m sure the next one will be much much tougher.

This 6-5 win finishes this Western Conference Quarterfinal series at 4-0 Red Wings.

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