Western Conference Finals, Game 5 (5/17/08)

Both teams started this game with a lot of energy. The first period featured some great scoring chances both ways, incredible saves, and some big time hits, mostly by Detroit. Drake, Stuart, and Kronwall were all on the prowl and throwing their bodies around.

Dallas scored first when Detroit got caught in the middle of a somewhat sloppy change. Turco saw the opportunity and made a nice outlet pass. A few more passes followed by a shot that beat Osgood and the Stars took the lead.

Detroit kept working and eventually scored on the power play when a perfect pass found Hudler by the side of the net. He shot the puck and Turco made a great save but the rebound came right back to Hudler and he popped it in to tie the game.

There was a lot more action but no more scoring the rest of the period.

In the second period Detroit seemed to have lost a little bit of the fire they showed in the first. There weren’t as many big hits or good scoring chances. The announcer between the benches kept saying that they seemed nervous and they were playing scared hockey. I think that’s ridiculous. To me it looked like they were just over thinking things on the ice. They needed to get into the zone where they just make plays reflexively without the need to think about it. Part of the reason they weren’t doing that, of course, is that Dallas was throwing a wrench into their previously well-oiled machine. The announcer also commented that the ice was bad, which I had hoped would be better than it was in Dallas. Maybe the NHL should shift the hockey season so that the playoffs happen earlier in the year to avoid the bad ice situations.

Anyway, Detroit got caught again on a bit of a messy change when Chelios went to the bench and Lebda got caught in a 2 on 1 against him. The Stars converted that play into a 2 to 1 lead and that’s how the period ended.

The announcer between the benches also said some stupid stuff about how nobody would have guessed that the score would be 2 to 1 Dallas in the second period and how Detroit was just stunned. Again ridiculous. What is so remarkable about it being 2 to 1 Dallas? Apparently, he was expecting Detroit to be winning 147 to 0 by that point in the game. But I digress.

In the third period Detroit pressured hard. There’s not much to say about it except that Dallas was able to stop the Red Wings every attempt. Dallas’ defense was very good. They were always in the way and Detroit wasn’t able to score. The game ended with Dallas winning 2 to 1.

So now Dallas is right back in this thing, one win away from tying it up. I can’t help but thing that this all stems from the confidence Dallas gained from winning game 4. A win which itself stemmed from the confidence they gained from taking the lead for the first time in the series. A lead which was the result of a perfect Red Wings goal being disallowed. Detroit has moved past that botched call, but I’m obviously still bitter. Today’s game never should have been necessary.

Oh well, that’s life. We’ll try again on Monday.

This 2-1 loss brings this Western Conference Semifinal series to 3-2 Detroit.

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