Posts Tagged ‘Ducks’

Detroit at Anaheim (3/2/11)

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

The Red Wings were in Anaheim tonight to play a road game against the Ducks. Jimmy Howard was in net for the Wings and the Ducks went with Dan Ellis, recently acquired from Tampa Bay. In fact, his goalie mask still said ‘BOLTS’ on the top. All of the Red Wings’ forwards except Eaves were healthy and available tonight so Draper was chosen to be the odd man out and was scratched.

The Wings seemed to get off to another slow start in the first period. They were generating some offense but weren’t able to do much against the Ducks defensively. Anaheim had more good scoring chances and a lot more shots on goal, even though Detroit had more power plays including a lengthy 5 on 3. Luckily, Howard was superb. He made several great saves to rob the Ducks and keep his team in the game.

In the second period the Red Wings played better. They outshot the Ducks and Datsyuk scored a power play goal from in deep below the goal line.

The third period was pretty even, but Jason Blake scored a goal for the Ducks by using Salei as a screen. Jimmy Howard didn’t see the puck coming until it was too late.

The game went to overtime tied at one. In the OT Salei got called for a hook on Bobby Ryan. It was a very light touch with the stick and Ryan collapsed in a heap. He should have been called for a dive but instead he was awarded a penalty shot. He fired off a beauty that beat Howard cleanly for the first time in the game and gave the Ducks the win. Howard was understandably sour and broke his stick over the goalpost.

Anaheim was a lot more aggressive than the Wings tonight. The hits were especially one sided in Anaheim’s favor. It’s too bad the Wings didn’t win but really I think Anaheim played better overall. The bad call was a tough way for it to end though since Howard was on the verge of stealing one for his team.

This 1-2 overtime loss brings us to:
85 points

Detroit at Anaheim (12/3/10)

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

The Red Wings continued their road trip tonight with a game against the Ducks. The goalies were Howard and Hiller.

The Red Wings played a great game in Anaheim. They seemed to dominate from start to finish. They scored very early in the first period, then twice in the second, and one more at the end of the game. Although Dan Cleary commented that he didn’t think they were playing very well during an intermission interview, from my point of view they looked pretty good. They weren’t getting many shots on goal but the ones that they were getting were very high quality chances. The Wings had goals from Franzen, Holmstrom, Cleary and Filppula.

Defensively the Red Wings were fantastic earning Jimmy Howard another shutout against the Ducks. Overall I thought they looked very sharp tonight.

Now it’s on to L.A. for the second of back to back games, then the Red Wings head home for a game on Monday. It’s a busy schedule for the Wings coming up as they catch up with the rest of the league in games played.

This 4-0 win brings us to:
36 points

Anaheim at Detroit (10/23/10)

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

The Ducks were back in town tonight for a rematch of opening day. The goaltenders were Howard and McElhinney.

The Red Wings wanted to address their slow starts and they did so in this game. They got off to great start in the first period and absolutely dominated Anaheim all over the ice. The only real low point of the game for the Wings was the start of the second period. They took a few minutes to get going in that one but after Babcock called a timeout they pulled it together and got back on track.

Things got a bit fiery in the first period after Kronwall hit Selanne in the chin with his shoulder. It wasn’t a blindside hit but he did make contact with the head and Selanne was very slow getting up. The Ducks thought there should have been a penalty so they decided to take things into their own hands. Beleskey took a run at Franzen and tried to elbow him in the head as payback. Later Franzen collided with Perry and Perry was called for interference. Mickey Redmond thought that it should not have been a penalty because it looked more like an accidental collision than interference. I agreed that it wasn’t interference but I thought it was unsportsmanlike conduct because to me it looked like another attempted run at Franzen when he wasn’t looking.

The score went back and forth in this game and was also tied for long stretches. The Ducks tied it up the first time in the final seconds of the first period. Then they scored two unanswered goals in the second. The Wings scored two more to tie it up again then Selanne scored a beauty of a goal after stealing the puck and beating Kronwall up ice. Holmstrom got his first goal of the season with a classic Holmstrom redirect in front of the net.

The Wings had some great goals in this game but what was even more impressive were the plays where they didn’t score. They had a ton of incredible scoring chances. Datsyuk was a machine stealing the puck and setting up shots for his line mates. McElhinney made about a dozen incredible saves to keep the score close.

The score was tied at four as the clock was winding down but Datsyuk continued to work his magic. His line was out there controlling the puck in the attacking zone for what seemed like a full minute. They had the Ducks all turned around. Lidstrom passed it to Datsyuk as he moved towards the net. Datsyuk made a few moves around people and then roofed it into the corner of the net to take the lead with only 12 seconds left in regulation. Anaheim took one more stab at it but Datsyuk’s goal held up as the game winner.

This was a really exciting game to watch. The Wings played hard and looked great with the exception of one small stretch in the second period. Now they have some more time off with no games until Thursday night.

This 4-5 win brings us to:
11 points

Anaheim at Detroit (10/8/10)

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The Ducks came to the Joe tonight for a contest with the Red Wings that was the opening game for both teams. The goalies were Hiller and Howard.

In the first period the Red Wings looked fantastic. It was apparent that they hadn’t missed a beat since last season and in fact seemed even more sharp and ready to go. Franzen scored a goal early on a nice setup by Filppula and Bertuzzi. Then just a few seconds later Modano bagged his first goal as Red Wings after he was fed by Cleary and Stuart. The Ducks looked really outclassed after one period.

In the second period Ericsson left the game with back spasms. Let’s hope it doesn’t become a long term problem this season.

The game started getting chippy in the second period. There was a big scrum in front of the benches and Salei fought with Sutton. Seeing that reminded me that I had forgotten to mention that the Red Wings picked up Salei during the off season. He’s a nice addition to the team. He’s another veteran defenseman to help shore up the blue line. After his scuffle with Sutton, Sutton left the game and did not return. There was no obvious injury so I’m not sure what happened. It looked pretty harmless to me.

Also in the second period Datsyuk had a great tip-in goal on a hard pass from Zetterberg. Then later Cleary scored with Datsyuk assisting. Cleary crashed into the net and it came off the moorings just as the puck was crossing the line. There was a pretty long review but the end result was that the puck crossed the line before the net was off completely so it was a good goal.

The rough stuff continued in the third period. There were several scrums. One of them came after the Wings had a beautiful scoring chance that was only thwarted by a brilliant save by Hiller. Afterwards a big scuffle ensued because the Ducks thought there should have been a penalty called on the play. Datsyuk actually paired up with Perry and they dropped the gloves. I was cringing and wishing that it would end quickly. I love a good hockey fight but I had fears of Datsyuk getting hurt in game one and missing half the season. He held his own though and he both took and delivered a few good shots. The fans were going nuts. It was good to see Datsyuk show that he can be tough when he has to and I’m really relieved that he didn’t get hurt.

In fact that fight cost Datsyuk a fighting major which, if you’re keeping score, earned him a Gordie Howe Hat Trick! He’s probably one the least likely candidates to pull that off but he did it. What a treat for the fans on opening night!

The Ducks lost control more and more after that and the Wings were on half-hearted power plays for most of the rest of the game.

The Wings ended up winning four to nothing. Jimmy Howard was fantastic in this game. He wasn’t tested too much but he was always sharp when called upon. He earned the shutout in game one. You can’t ask for a better start than that!

I’m really excited about the team this year. The line of Cleary, Modano and Hudler is amazing. That’s the third line and it’s probably better than most teams’ second line. Even the fourth line with Helm, Miller and Eaves is really feisty and probably better than most third lines. I know it’s only game one, but it was really encouraging to see them look as good on the ice as they do on paper.

This 0-4 win brings us to:
2 points

Detroit at Anaheim (2/3/10)

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

The Red Wings continued their west coast road trip tonight with a game in Anaheim. Jonas Hiller was the goalie for the Ducks and Jimmy Howard was in for the Wings. Ericsson was back in the lineup tonight after being told to sit out last night due to poor performance. This was the second night of back to back games. The Red Wings played very well last night in San Jose and got a big win and an important two points.

There was some bad news from the San Jose game however. Kronwall was out of the lineup tonight. It seems last night’s tweak reinjured his knee injury. There was no word as to how long he’d be out this time.

Anaheim scored just passed the one minute mark of the game. Whitney fired the puck from the blue line and it hit a skate on the way and changed direction. It was a fluky goal but it put the Ducks up one to nothing early in the game.

Later Ericsson threw a big check on Bodie and then they had a fight. I think Ericsson was on a mission to show that he really does want to be in the lineup. It wasn’t much of a fight but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Nearing the end of the first period Eminger shot the puck from the point. It hit Chipchura in the hand and went into the net. Howard immediately claimed that it was batted in and the officials discussed it. They went to video review for the ruling. It clearly went off his hand but you couldn’t really tell if it was batted or not. Therefore the call on the ice was upheld and the Ducks had the two to nothing lead. It was another fluky goal that Howard had no chance of stopping.

About halfway through the second period Perry had the puck down low and centered it to Ryan who whiffed on the shot. The puck went through to Getzlaf who sent it back to Ryan. He was still being left alone in front of the net. He shot again and didn’t whiff this time. He put the puck in the back of the net. Datsyuk was the closest player but Ryan managed to get a few feet of separation on him. It wasn’t that much but it was enough. The Red Wings were down three to nothing.

Near the end of the second period Koivu was called for hooking and the Wings went on the power play. Rafalski found a seam and hit Datsyuk in the high slot. Datsyuk took it to the net and fired one that beat Hiller up high to get the Red Wings on the board. The goal came with just 10 seconds left in the period. It was then three to one Ducks.

Near the end of the game Howard went to the bench for the extra skater. The Red Wings had a few top quality chances but they weren’t able to beat Hiller who was just amazing.

One good thing to take away from this game is that the Red Wings had a ton of shots on goal; 46 of them in fact. They just didn’t seem to have the legs to keep up defensively. Offensively, they looked great though. If not for those two fluky goals this game might have been completely different. Jimmy Howard was superb once again, and the Red Wings had 29 quality scoring chances. On paper they should have won. Hiller was just too good.

This 1-3 loss brings us to:
64 points

Detroit at Anaheim (1/5/10)

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

The Red Wings continued their western road trip tonight with a game in Anaheim against the Ducks. Howard got the start for the Wings again as he’s being allowed to continue on his hot streak. Hiller was the goalie for the Ducks. Leino was a healthy scratch tonight and Brad May was in.

In the first period Detroit was on the power play and Bertuzzi turned the puck over in the neutral zone to Koivu. He took off shorthanded towards the Red Wings net. Rafalski was on him and harassing him pretty well. He got the shot away and Howard stopped it with his pads. Somehow Koivu poked at it and it came off of Howard’s pads and slid back out to the side. Koivu was able to get it back and put it in the net for the shorthanded goal.

Then a few minutes later the Ducks were pressuring hard and Jimmy Howard was all over the place trying to keep things under control. Then the puck was shot off the backboards and bounced quickly out towards the side of the net. When Howard realized where it was he started towards the post to shut down that side of the net but he wasn’t fast enough. Beleskey shot it just between the post and Howard’s outstretched skate and into the net. That gave the Ducks the early two to nothing lead.

Near the end of the first period Doug Janik fought with Troy Bodie. They got tangled up behind the Red Wings net and Janik dropped the gloves first. They grabbed on to each other and got off a few punches but mostly they were just wrestling for control. The referee moved the net out of their way so they wouldn’t fall into it. That was a nice move on his part. Eventually Janik got Bodie down on the ice and could have wailed on him but he held back and let him off easy showing what a good sport he is.

The Red Wings were pretty badly outplayed in the first period. They were outshot 10 to 15 and the Ducks had 10 quality chances to the Red Wings’ six. All things considered I think the Wings were lucky that they were only down by two goals. It could have been worse.

Early in the second period Brad May started a fight with Sheldon Brookbank. It didn’t last long because Brookbank went down almost immediately. By the time the cameras were on them May was on top of Brookbank and it was all over. They only got four minutes each so it technically wasn’t considered a fight.

Right after that Eminger lined up on Helm and checked him hard even though Helm never touched the puck. It was pretty clearly intentional. He was looking to hit Helm and was never concerned with playing the puck. The penalty boxes were filling up with three Ducks and two Red Wings and the game was taking a nasty turn.

Late in the second period Meech got into a fight with Nokelainen. Meech was sticking up for himself after a being hit by Nokelainen earlier. It wasn’t much of a fight but Meech ended up on top so I guess that counts for something.

The Wings played better in the second period but still didn’t get any goals. The Ducks still led two to nothing.

A bit past the halfway point of the third period the Red Wings were applying some pressure. Lidstrom shot from the point with Holmstrom in front of Hiller causing havoc. Hiller stopped the shot with his pads but he couldn’t see where the rebound went because of Holmstrom. Filppula saw it though and he pounced on it and put it in the back of the net to get the Red Wings on the board.

A few minutes later there was a face off in the Red Wings end. The Ducks won the draw and sent it hard around behind the net. Rafalski was there to cut it off but it looked like he tried to just angle it softly towards Helm. Instead it was jumped on by Getzlaf. He dropped it off for Perry who quickly shot it and scored putting the Ducks back up by two.

Towards the end of the third Ryan and Lebda did a little pushing and shoving and Ryan wanted Lebda to fight. Lebda wasn’t interested but Bertuzzi was. Bertuzzi dropped the gloves and took Ryan straight down to the ice. I don’t even think there were any punches it was just a takedown. As Ryan went down he pulled Bertuzzi’s jersey which came right off. That would have earned Bertuzzi a game misconduct for not using his fight strap but since it was so fast they just gave double minors instead of five minute majors. Since it wasn’t technically a fight there was no game misconduct for Bertuzzi’s jersey coming off.

The Red Wings pulled their goalie at the end but to no avail. With just a few seconds left Chipchura cleared the puck all the way down the ice and into the empty net giving the Ducks one more goal.

The Red Wings didn’t play very well tonight. They looked decent in short bursts but overall they just didn’t seem to be all that into it. They need to turn it around next game though because even though it’s only halfway through the season the playoff race has already begun.

This 1-4 loss brings us to:
48 points

Anaheim at Detroit (12/11/09)

Friday, December 11th, 2009

The Anaheim Ducks came to town tonight to play the Red Wings. Giguere was the goalie for the Ducks and Jimmy Howard was in net for the Wings.

There was more bad injury news for the Red Wings today. In the previous game Dan Cleary was leveled by a hit that he didn’t see coming. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because it was a clean hit in my opinion and I thought he just got his bell rung. As it turns out he has a separated shoulder and will be out for month! It just keeps getting worse and worse for the Wings. Cleary will be replaced by Leino who’s been a healthy scratch for the previous two games. At least this will give Leino a chance to show Babcock that he still wants to play.

Early in the first period Rafalski took a puck in chops and went off for repairs. He ended up needing about 15 stitches but he still came back and played.

Late in the first period there was a mess in front of the Red Wings net. Parros crashed into Howard and the puck was heading across the goal line. Ericsson was right there and swept it away before it crossed the line. In the end it didn’t matter though because Parros was called for goalie interference so it wouldn’t have counted even if it did cross the line unless it was knocked in by the Red Wings.

In the second period Lebda was hit by Koivu in what looked like a harmless play but he seemed to have an injured shoulder. He was trying to get off the ice but he couldn’t. Meanwhile the Ducks got the puck into the zone and went tic-tac-toe back and forth from Bobby Ryan to Dan Sexton and then to Saku Koivu who put it in the net. Howard didn’t have much of a chance since any of those guys could have shot the puck and there were no defensemen in good enough position to stop any of the passes. So the Ducks had the one to nothing lead as they approached the halfway point of the game.

Later in the second period there was a bit of mayhem. Leino was elbowed in the face accidentally by Perry, and then Abdelkader hit Perry in the back and knocked him down. Getzlaf came in and knocked down Abdelkader about the same time that Bertuzzi was being knocked into his own bench. Perry and Abdelkader ended up fighting but Abdelkader was already down. Perry was on top of him so Abdelkader was punching up at him. It only lasted a few seconds and they both went off for fighting.

Late in the period Sexton shot the puck from such a bad angle that it was pretty much parallel to the goal line. Howard had his skate against the post but somehow the puck got through and went in the net giving the Ducks the two to nothing lead with less than a minute left in the second period. It was a freak goal. 99 times of out of 100 that puck wouldn’t go in.

Early on in the third period the Red Wings were on the power play. Leino got the puck to Holmstrom in the slot. Holmstrom burned Giguere with a great shot that picked the top corner of the net and finally scored a goal for the Wings.

A bit later Detroit had just finished their ninth power play which was their eighth unsuccessful one if you’re counting. Bertuzzi had the puck behind the net and banked it off Giguere’s back and into the net. That tied the game at two.

Late in the game Brad Stuart saved a goal. The puck had popped up in the air was coming down right behind Howard and in front of a wide open net. Stuart swatted the puck away before it came down. If he hadn’t done that the Ducks almost certainly would have taken the lead.

Then Boynton was called for hooking. The power play started with 13 seconds left in the game. The Red Wings almost ended it but Datsyuk just couldn’t get anything on his shot. Regulation time ended so the Wings would start the overtime with a power play, four on three.

In the overtime period with the Wings on the power play Stuart passed to Bertuzzi down low. Bertuzzi stepped up towards the net and shot a perfectly placed puck. He found the tiny hole below the crossbar and above Giguere’s shoulder to win the game for the Wings.

This was kind of a crazy game. There were 16 penalties called, crazy bounces, weird goals and tricky calls. For the most part the Wings played pretty well. Jimmy Howard did a good job again. Of the two goals against, one was impossible to stop and the other was a fluke. I say leave him in. He’s getting great experience and gaining confidence every game. He’s giving them a chance to win every game.

This was a great moral victory for the Red Wings. They battled back from being behind two to nothing and they showed signs of regaining their scoring touch. It was really great to see Bertuzzi get a few goals since he’s been really snake bit for most of this season.

This 2-3 win brings us to:
35 points

Anaheim at Detroit (11/14/09)

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

The Anaheim Ducks came to Detroit tonight to play the Red Wings. Hiller was the goalie for the Ducks and Howard was in for the Wings as Osgood still had flu symptoms. Howard was coming off two strong performances in his first crack at back to back starts.

This game had a fast pace right from the start. Both teams seemed to have a lot of jump. Detroit was really buzzing for a goal and had several scoring chances in the first five minutes alone.

In the first period Selanne was called for roughing and the Red Wings went on the power play. Kronwall released a shot from the point. It hit an Anaheim player and changed direction, and then it hit Cleary’s stick up high near his hands. It changed direction again and bounced into the net giving the Red Wings the one to nothing lead. Hiller didn’t have a chance on that one the way it was bouncing around. They stopped the game to review the goal to see if Cleary gloved it in but the call on the ice was upheld.

In the final minute of the first period there was a scuffle in front of the Anaheim net. Ericsson and Perry came close to fighting but never threw any punches. When it was all sorted out Getzlaf had some extra time for unsportsmanlike conduct after crosschecking Zetterberg several times after the whistle. The Wings went on the power play. Just 10 seconds into it Rafalski shot from the high slot. Holmstrom was in front of the net waiting for a tip. The puck hit Niedermayer’s stick and changed direction slightly but it got through the five hole on Hiller. Getzlaf had been given a double minor so his second penalty started right after the goal.

The period ended with the Red Wings up two to nothing. They also had power play time left on the board for the start of the second period. Detroit outshot Anaheim 17 to 6 in the first period.

Approaching the halfway point of the second period Ericsson had the puck behind his own net. He attempted to pass it up ice but instead he hit Getzlaf with it right next to the net. Getzlaf knocked it down and passed it to Perry who was moving up in the slot. Perry quickly shot the puck beating Howard and bringing the Ducks to within a goal of tying the game.

That was the only goal of the period. Howard made some good saves to hold the lead. Brad Stuart also made a very nice diving play on Selanne to save a goal.

In the third period Cleary was the victim of what in my opinion was a really bad call. He was called for interference after battling for the puck with Wisniewski. He didn’t take his hand off the stick or trip him or hook him. They were just jostling for position using their shoulders. Apparently at random, they decided Cleary had done something wrong.

On the Ducks’ power play Jimmy Howard turned the puck over attempting to clear it. Getzlaf passed it to Ryan down at the goal line. He shot from the bad angle and somehow got it in behind Howard to tie the game at two each.

Then Parros took a run at Ericsson. He left his feet and slammed his head into the glass. He was called for roughing but it probably could have just easily been boarding or charging.

On the ensuing power play the Red Wings were moving the puck very well and doing a good job keeping it in the Anaheim zone. Rafalski made a beauty of a pass from the high slot to Datsyuk near the bottom of the circle. Datsyuk just tapped it and deflected it into the top corner of the net giving the Wings back the lead three to two.

Just a few seconds later Anaheim tied it up again. They had the puck in Detroit’s end and it finally came back to Getzlaf. He passed it to Lupul in the high slot who shot it and beat Howard under his pad. That tied it up at three all.

A few minutes later the Red Wings were really buzzing for a goal. They had just hit the crossbar on the previous shift. Cleary made a great play to protect the puck along the boards and get it into the zone. He passed it to Zetterberg who shot it but Hiller made the save. The rebound dropped right in front of Hiller. Zetterberg stayed with it and picked up his own rebound and shot it again. This time he buried it in the back of the net and the Red Wings were back up by one with about 10 minutes left in the game.

Then Zetterberg was called for a slash and during the Ducks’ power play the Red Wings had too many men on the ice. It wasn’t caught at first and the Ducks’ bench was going bananas. Finally, Helm tried to sneak off the ice but the linesman was standing right by the bench and saw that there were still four Red Wings out there. That gave the Ducks a 5 on 3 power play for over a minute.

On the power play Getzlaf blasted one that caught the top corner of the net and tied the game again. The Ducks still had nearly a minute of power play time but the Wings killed off the rest of it.

Just as the penalty expired the Red Wings entered the offensive zone. Cleary passed across to Zetterberg who shot one that beat Hiller up high and took back the lead. It didn’t look like Zetterberg got all of it. The puck was sort of off speed and wobbling. I don’t think Hiller could really tell where it was headed.

Then Bertuzzi shot that looked for all the world like a goal. The crowd started yelling and the horn even sounded for a second but it hadn’t gone in.

At the other end the Ducks hit a post and then Helm brought it back the other way. Helm just brought it into the zone and ripped it. Hiller got a little of it but he didn’t stop it and it rolled into the net behind him. That put the Red Wings up six to four.

Hiller was pulled with about minute and 15 seconds left. As time was winding down Zetterberg was on the ice. Mickey Redmond referred to him as “Curly Fries” because of the Arby’s promotion in which they give away a free order of curly fries to any fan that brings in the box score the day after a Red Wings player gets a hat trick. Zetterberg had two goals. Kronwall picked up the puck in his own zone and flipped to Zetterberg with about five seconds left in the game and an empty net at the other end. Zetterberg took it towards the empty net and shot it from just past center ice. He put it in the net with just seven tenths of a second left. Curly fries for everyone! I wonder what they’d say if I went to my local Arby’s here in Tampa and asked for my free curly fries.

Well, this was a really entertaining game. The Red Wings outplayed the Ducks terribly but thy Ducks just kept hanging around just like they always seem to do. Luckily the Wings had more mojo tonight. Lots of Red Wings had great games tonight including Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Rafalski, Stuart and Kronwall. They’re really putting together a pretty good streak now and looking great especially considering all the missing players.

This 4-7 win brings us to:
23 points

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 7 (5/14/09)

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Tonight it was finally game seven in Detroit against Anaheim. The lineups were mostly unchanged from game six with one exception. Draper was back in for the Wings. His speed and toughness should be a big plus in this game.

I’m still sour over the way the Ducks attacked our guys at the end of game six. The Red Wings handled it very well. Mike Babcock was angry but the players didn’t really even acknowledge it. It was a classless move by the Ducks for sure. The best answer would be to destroy the Ducks on the ice like the Penguins destroyed the Capitals last night.

The game started with little bit of an edge. Zetterberg made a big hit on Perry early on that set the tone.

Later Zetterberg was called for holding the stick and then a minute later Kronwall was called for hooking. The Wings did a great job killing off the 5 on 3 and then 5 on 4 power plays. Osgood was looking fantastic as usual. Stuart also made an excellent diving poke check to stop a breakaway and prevent a scoring chance.

Then a few minutes later Getzlaf was called for hooking Hossa and the Wings went to work. They had a couple of good chances on the power play but didn’t get anything by Hiller. The Ducks did a pretty good job of being in the way and blocking shots.

Later in the first period Getzlaf was penalized again, this time for slashing. The replay showed that it was just a tap and Franzen dove terribly. I hate to see the Wings diving like that even when it results in a power play. Nothing makes a player look more like a wuss than collapsing after being tapped. Cut the crap, boys! I don’t mind the referee calling such a minor slash. He’s sending a message to knock off the piddly garbage. I do think he should also call the dive though in that case. Getzlaf wasn’t happy but he had only himself to blame because there was no reason for even a light slash. The dive was definitely unsportsmanlike but he didn’t have to give the opportunity to Franzen in the first place. These dives are a league-wide problem and they need to go away. That’s a topic for another time though.

On the power play Zetterberg sent the puck across to Franzen and then Wisniewski stayed with Zetterberg to check him into the boards. That was a mistake as it left Hudler alone in the slot. Franzen sent a hard pass towards Hudler and he tipped it into the net. It was one nothing Red Wings.

For the rest of the period Detroit looked really good. They played hard and fast but didn’t score again. The period ended with the Wings up by one.

Early in the second period the Ducks won a faceoff in the Red Wings end. Selanne had the puck along the wall but he turned it over because he was being rushed by Lebda. The puck rolled into the neutral zone and Helm came flying after it like he was shot out of a cannon. He picked up the puck, blew by the defense and went in all alone against Hiller. He ripped a pinpoint shot that burned Hiller for the Wings second goal. What a play by Helm! You gotta love that guy!

A bit later Pronger hit Hossa behind the net. The hit was fine but afterwards he grabbed Hossa and tackled him right in front of the referee. I can’t understand how that wasn’t holding. I guess that makes up for Franzen not being called for a dive.

The Wings were really buzzing. They flying around and winning all the small battles. Then Whitney high sticked Cleary and the Wings went back on the job. During the power play Beauchemin batted the puck out of play and over the glass so the Wings had a 5 on 3 for 22 seconds. They had a glorious chance on the 5 on 3 but Pronger blocked the shot. The Wings continued on the power play. After just a few seconds of the second penalty Hossa was called for high sticking so it was 4 on 4 for a while. During the 4 on 4 Stuart crushed Selanne into the boards. Selanne went down and stayed down. The hit came well after the puck had left Selanne’s vicinity and Stuart was called for interference. So then Anaheim had a 4 on 3 power play for 1:02. They killed that off and then it was 5 on 3 for a little over half a minute. After killing that off it was 5 on 4 for 20 seconds or so. Then it was back to 5 on 5. Whew! What a great job by the Wings to kill off all of that. Osgood was spectacular during the kill.

With about five minutes to go in the second Whitney took a shot from the point. Osgood made the stop but Selanne tapped in the rebound. Osgood didn’t have chance to stop Selanne’s shot from going in because Carter had run into him and was basically sitting on his lap. I cannot understand why that wasn’t goaltender interference. In any event it was two to one Red Wings.

The Ducks got a boost from that and the Wings had some trouble keeping the puck out of their own end. They finally did though and Wisniewski tried to take it at center ice but he missed. Filppula went by him and they both dove for the puck. Filppula got up first and took it. He passed it to Datsyuk who was streaking up the slot. Datsyuk took a shot and the rebound came back to him. He went behind the net and got absolutely clobbered by Marchant. Before getting hit though he managed to pass the puck back to the slot. Samuelsson moved in and put it in the net. That made it three to one and quickly nullified the Ducks goal. Just what I was hoping for! What a setup by Filppula and Datsyuk!

A few seconds later Pronger crosschecked Hudler in the back and forced him into Hiller. Hudler was called for goaltender interference. Hudler was actually driven to his knees by the crosscheck. There was no way he could have stopped himself from running into Hiller. I can’t believe how bad that call was. Just imagine if the Wings had scored. They would have taken away the goal. I was angry enough as it was so it’s a good thing that didn’t happen.

On the power play Selanne handed it off to Pronger in the slot who one timed it. Osgood stopped it but Perry was on the doorstop and smacked it in. It was another gift from the officials.

The second period ended with the Wings up two to three. Osgood made some incredible saves to prevent the Ducks from tying the game at the end of the second period. As well as the Wings had played, it was still a one shot game heading into the third period.

The Wings continued playing very well in the third. Nearing the midpoint of the period Ericsson had the puck behind his own net but he got tangled up with a broken stick that was laying there. It caused a turnover, things got crazy and Ryan ended up scoring to tie the game. Even though the Red Wings had played much better than the Ducks in this game and this series they could be eliminated with one shot. It was maddening.

Then Selanne was called for hooking and the Wings went on the power play. The Wings didn’t score on the power play and time was winding down with the game still tied. They got the puck into the Anaheim end and started taking shots. The Wings were moving the puck all over the zone. Zetterberg ended up with it along the glass behind the net. He chipped it to Cleary who was standing in front of the crease. Cleary put it on the ice between Hiller’s knees, then gave it another tap and it slid between Hiller’s legs and into the net to put the Wings back on top. It was a classic hard-working Cleary goal.

The Wings continued to apply pressure. The Ducks pulled the goalie as soon as they could. The Red Wings fought hard and so did the Ducks but Detroit was able to shut them down. The good guys won!

It was such a relief. There were so many bad calls in this series. I don’t normally find too much fault with the officiating but this was bad. There was at least one game that the Ducks won without earning in my opinion. The Wings played so well in this series but it seemed like they had to beat the Ducks and the officials, too. Well, they did it! I don’t buy into the conspiracy theories. I don’t think the officials had it in for the Wings or anything like that. I know how hard it is to get the calls right when the game is so fast. I think it was just bad luck. That being said, it would have been a huge tragedy if the Wings had lost this series after outplaying the Ducks so badly.

None of that matters, though. It’s over, at least for now.

I’m really excited to watch the Red Wings and the Blackhawks. What a classic matchup! I can’t wait for that series. Chicago is a great team that plays well against the Wings. It should be a great one!

This 3-4 win finishes this Western Conference Semifinal series at 4-3 Detroit.

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 6 (5/12/09)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

The Red Wings were trying to close out the series against the Ducks tonight in Anaheim. The big lineup change for the Wings was that Rafalski was back in. That’s great news for the Red Wings. Babcock kept Ericsson on the first defensive pair with Lidstrom. That’s quite a testament to how great Ericsson has been since being called up at the start of the playoffs.

The first period ended with no scoring. The Red Wings had a pretty good energy level in the first period but they just couldn’t seem to put much together. I think that was mainly because Anaheim just wasn’t allowing it. They were playing much better defensively than they had in the two previous games. On the flipside the Ducks didn’t really create much offense either. The action was pretty fast back and forth but both teams’ defenses were pretty good about breaking up plays before they developed.

When something did develop Osgood was great. He looked sharp and in good position. At the other end Hiller was just as good.

Rafalski was effective right off the bat. Getting the puck out of the Wings end and into the Ducks end seemed noticeably easier with him out there.

Datsyuk was playing well but he seemed hesitant. It seemed pretty clear to me that he was lacking confidence in his shot. He was thinking pass every time he touched the puck. We’ve seen him go through phases like this before. Eventually, he’ll score a goal, and then he’ll start shooting everything at the net and scoring a ton. It’s bound to happen. Let’s hope it’s soon.

Filppula was called for a penalty late in the first period so the Ducks started the second on the power play.

The Wings killed off the penalty. Then Osgood mishandled the puck behind his net. Ericsson was in front of the net and poked it away saving a goal.

Kronwall sent the puck over the glass and the Wings were shorthanded again. The Ducks scored on the power play. It was a shot from the point that Osgood stopped but Getzlaf was there to knock in the rebound. The Ducks had the lead one to nothing.

As the second period was winding down, Getzlaf shot from the blue line. The puck was deflected at least twice and possibly three times as it hit things on the way to the net. It was Perry that touched it last redirecting it into the net. There was no way for Osgood to predict where that one would go. That gave Anaheim the two to nothing lead with only a few minutes left in the period.

That was it for the second period. Detroit had a two goal deficit to overcome in the third. They just weren’t playing at as high a level as the Ducks. The Ducks were just everywhere. They kept everything to the outside. They rushed every pass and shot the Red Wings made. They were playing a brilliant defensive game.

With about five minutes left in the game Detroit finally started to establish some sustained pressure in the Anaheim zone. Babcock had started changing up the line combinations and it seemed breathe some life into the team. At the three minute mark Helm was taken down and Ebbett went to the box. About a minute into the power play Rafalski kept it in the zone and got it Zetterberg. He passed it to Hudler who passed it to Franzen in front of the net. Franzen tapped it in to pull within a goal of tying the game. It was one to two with just under two and a half minutes to go.

Osgood went to the bench with just over a minute left. The Wings got the puck in deep and there was a whistle when the puck went out of play. Detroit took their timeout to get a breather.

The Ducks stopped the Wings from getting the game-tying goal and forced a game seven Thursday night in Detroit.

After the game ended the Ducks took the opportunity to take cheap shots and sucker punches on Hossa and Datsyuk. Scott Niedermayer elbowed Datsyuk in the face. Datsyuk got up and tried to defend himself and naturally got wailed on by Niedermayer. Getzlaf hooked Hossa at the end of the game so Hossa shoved him a little bit. Getzlaf instantly dropped his gloves and wailed on Hossa. It seemed pretty cheap to me. It looked like the Ducks saw an opportunity to try taking some of our best players out of the next game. Too bad Downey wasn’t in the lineup. This is where you could really use an enforcer. They were taking advantage of guys that aren’t good fighters and trying to take them out of the game. It worked on Kopecky so now they wanted to do the same thing to Hossa and Datsyuk. At least Kopecky was a willing participant.

I certainly wouldn’t complain about a fair fight but both of these were very one-sided. It was ridiculous. If Hossa wanted to fight that would be one thing but to me it looked like Getzlaf was the only one throwing punches. In the other fight it was Niedermayer with his gloves off and his helmet on repeatedly punching Datsyuk in the head. Datsyuk had his helmet off and gloves on. Not cool.

None of that was relevant to why the Wings lost this game though. They were completely out played from beginning to very near the end. Anaheim’s defense was very tight and Detroit was unable to do anything about it like they had done in the past. In part I don’t think the Wings were playing with their best effort but I think it was mostly just the Ducks being the more desperate of the two. Now the series could go either way. One crazy bounce, a bad call, a lucky tip…any little thing can end somebody’s season.

I think the Wings will be at their best on Thursday. The cheap shots at the end of this game will probably just help to fire up the Wings in game seven. Not that they’ll need help since game seven is enough to get anybody fired up.

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