Western Conference Finals, Game 4 (5/24/09)

This afternoon the Red Wings were in Chicago for game four against the Blackhawks. Terrible news for Detroit: Lidstrom was out with a lower body injury. Chelios was in to round out the defense. Datsyuk was also still out and Draper was back out after returning for a few games. For Chicago, Khabibulin was out and Huet was in.

Havlat was fine and was in for today’s game. The fans were booing every time Kronwall touched the puck. Everyone from Chicago including players, coaches, fans and local media seemed to think that it was a dirty hit even though every national analyst I’ve heard thought it was a good clean hit and that the penalty was way too extreme. I guess that’s the hometown bias.

It was a nice treat to see the Chicago anthem singer Jim Cornelison on TV, which they showed in honor of Memorial Day. No offense to Karen Newman (she’s awesome), but Chicago has a truly classic anthem with the booming voice backed up by the organist. It’s an old school show for sure.

Detroit had a pretty good start in this game. They controlled the puck a lot more than Chicago did early on. The Wings were shorthanded again early in this one when Zetterberg was called for interference in the first half of the first period.

While shorthanded Detroit got a two on one breakaway with Filppula and Hossa on the rush. Hossa passed to Filppula and Filppula made a beautiful pass to get it back to Hossa. Hossa shot it and it looked like Huet had it but it got through and into the net to give the Wings the early one to nothing lead. They still had over half a minute of penalty time to kill off and they did so. Pretty good penalty kill for the Wings to put it mildly.

Later in the first Detroit got a power play when Pahlsson shouldered Filppula in the jaw well away from the puck. They had some good chances but didn’t score on the power play.

There was some 4 on 4 action and Chicago had some great scoring chances but Detroit worked well together and Osgood made some big saves to keep them out of the net.

With only about 20 seconds left in the first period Franzen brought the puck into the offensive zone. He snapped one high over Huet’s shoulder and found the top corner of the net. That gave the Wings a two to nothing lead in the first period and probably shook Chicago’s confidence in Huet because that was one that he should have had.

Detroit started the second period on the power play because of some garbage that happened at the end of the first. Kronwall had put a small hit on Kane at the end of the first period and drew a bunch of attention from the Hawks after the whistle. During the power play Filppula brought the puck into the zone and passed it to Hossa. Hossa took a shot and Huet stopped it but the rebound came back to Filppula who buried it to put the Wings up three to nothing with just over one period of play on the books. Filppula and Hossa were really clicking. They looked unstoppable in this game. Filppula makes such sweet passes and Hossa has such a great shot. It’s quite a match.

A few minutes later, Chicago had a power play when Detroit was called for delay of game. During Chicago’s power play Havlat got hit by Stuart along the boards almost exactly like he did in game three. He was looking down at the puck and Stuart nailed him. He didn’t get knocked out this time though and left the ice under his own power while play continued. Then Barker shot from the blue line. Osgood stopped it but the puck was sitting near the crease and Toews picked it up and put it in the net making it three to one Wings.

Immediately after the faceoff Hossa took the puck into the offensive zone. He crossed through the slot and released a shot that beat Huet and found the back of the net. That put the Wings back up by three goals and took the wind out of Chicago’s sails just seconds after they had scored.

That was the end of the game for Huet. The Hawks put in Crawford who had never played in a playoff game before.

Then the Hawks were getting called for a delayed penalty on Walker and Versteeg crosschecked Leino after the whistle right in front of the referee. Detroit went on the 5 on 3 power play. During the power play Zetterberg got the puck from Rafalski at the point. He went skate to stick with it and put it in the net. It was five to one Wings with well over a minute of power play time left to go. Chicago killed off the rest of the penalty but immediately after it ended Versteeg came out of the box and crosschecked Hudler so he went straight back to the box. That was two terrible penalties in a row for Versteeg.

With about five minutes left in the second period Eager was given a 10 minute misconduct for mouthing off to the referee. It was pretty clear at that point that the wheels had come off for Chicago. They were frustrated and making stupid and selfish decisions.

The second period ended with Detroit up five to one.

In the third period Chicago put Huet back in net and Detroit put Conklin in. The Wings just wanted to protect Osgood. I think Chicago was just putting their better goalie in. They needed him to get in the grove because he was the best they had available. You can’t afford to have a bad game when you’re the backup goalie and the number one is injured.

The third period felt like a formality.

Eager elbowed Leino in the back of the head and this time he got a game misconduct.

In the second half of the third period Detroit was on the power play and Rafalski shot from the point. Huet made the stop and the rebound came back to Zetterberg who went skate to stick again and knocked it in for Detroit’s sixth goal of the night.

Versteeg was kicked out of the game in the late stages of the third. The Blackhawks had completely lost their composure. The Red Wings were basically just goofing ar0und out there at that point.

The Wings were fantastic in this game. Considering the injuries they had to overcome it is truly incredible that they dominated so completely. They were the consummate professionals while the Hawks were losing it all over the ice. This is a testament to the depth of the Red Wings and a very bad sign for the Blackhawks in this series. Hopefully this one will be wrapped up on Wednesday in the Detroit.

This 6-1 win brings this Western Conference Final series to 3-1 Detroit.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Western Conference Finals, Game 4 (5/24/09)”

  1. wingman says:

    Do you think the HIT on Havlat changed the series? I do. Especially when he was run over by Stuart on Sunday. Different day, different zip code for Marty.

  2. SuperFan says:

    Good point, I think the hit really threw Chicago off their game. I laughed out loud when Havlat got hit AGAIN almost the same way. I guess he didn’t learn, or maybe he did and couldn’t remember!

Leave a Reply

*