Western Conference Finals, Game 4 (5/14/08)

Dallas looked a little sluggish for the first minute or two, but then they amped it up and pressured the Red Wings for most of the first period.  Detroit was was penlalized 3 times so they spent a large part of the period shorthanded.  They did well just to keep Dallas off the board.  Osgood made some big saves and there were lots of good defensive plays but the Wings weren’t able to put much together in the way of a sustained attack.  Even though the there was no score, it still felt like the first period was advantage Dallas.

In the second period it was Detroit’s turn to get 3 power plays.  On the first one they scored a textbook power play goal with Datsyuk shooting and Holmstrom screening.  The only problem is that it didn’t count because the referee ruled that Holmstrom was in the crease when in fact he was not.  They didn’t call him for interference, just being in the crease, which he wasn’t.  It was a truly terrible call.  If I were the type to believe in conspiracies I’d think that the ref had some money on the game.  I’m not that type so I just think he made a mistake.  A big, big mistake.  With all the power plays, Detroit had much more offense in the second period and lots of shots that were painfully close to going in but never did.  With only about twenty seconds left in the period Dallas scored a goal with a shot that bounced off the skate of one of their players who happened to be standing in the crease about as deep as Osgood was.  That goal was allowed, though.  The period ended with the Stars up 1 to 0, leading for the first time in the series.  I needed to take a break and cool down after that period and in fact, I’m still angry thinking about those calls.

Early in the third period Detroit scored to tie the game.  Datsyuk made a nice pass to Zetterberg who burned Turco with a great shot.  Dallas scored next to re-take the lead.  Detroit pressured hard but Dallas ended up scoring again to make it 3 to 1.  Detroit pulled the goalie and got some power plays in the final two minutes.  It was like a tornado in front of the Stars net but the Red Wings weren’t able to score any more goals.  Dallas was a much tougher team to play against when they had lead.  All through the period I kept thinking how this was the first time that the Stars had led in the series and that they wouldn’t have had the lead in the first place if it weren’t for the terrible call on the disallowed goal.  The Stars can thank poor officiating for the lead, the confidence, and the win.  I wouldn’t think that was a very satisfying way to win a game.  I can’t wait to hear the explanation of that call.

Another thing that I noticed in both of these game in Dallas is that the ice seemed to be really bad.  I know that both teams are playing under the same conditions but poor ice is probably tougher on the Red Wings since their game requires so much stick handling, and crisp passing.  Looks like we’ll have to wait until Saturday and then put this one to bed in front of the home crowd.

This 3-1 loss brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 3-1 Detroit.

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