Posts Tagged ‘Quarterfinals’

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1 (4/14/10)

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Tonight it was game one of Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Red Wings and the Coyotes. The goalies were Jimmy Howard and Ilya Bryzgalov. The Red Wings were wearing their road whites which fit nicely with just about everybody in the arena. It almost looked like they were wearing white for the Wings.

The Wings looked great in the first period. They had a lot of quality shots. Bryzgalov was looking really sharp as well and making some spectacular saves. At the other end the Coyotes had a few bursts of scoring chances but nothing too serious; just enough to get Howard in the game.

Then, after all the big saves Bryzgalov had made, Holmstrom fired one from near the point. Bryzgalov reached for it with the glove and just missed it. That made it one to nothing Wings.

A few minutes later the Coyotes had a power play and Yandle fired from the blue line. Doan was in front of Howard screening him. The puck went in to tie the game at one.

Not long after that the Red Wings had their second power play. They were moving the puck very well. Lidstrom shot the puck from the blue line with about three or four people between him and Bryzgalov. It somehow made it through everybody’s legs. It might have been redirected a time or two but it made it into the back of the net. Bryzgalov never had a chance of stopping that one. I don’t think he even saw it. That made it two to one Red Wings.

The first period was pretty well dominated by the Red Wings. They controlled the puck very well and they were creating a tremendous amount of traffic in front of Bryzgalov. They ended the period with a two to one lead and most of a power play left over to start the second.

In the second period the Coyotes killed off the early power play and then had one of their own about five minutes later. Yandle had the puck and passed it across to Wolski who was wide open. He one timed a bullet of a shot that beat Howard cleanly to tie the game at two.

The Coyotes seemed a lot more aggressive in the second period. There were a lot of big hits by both teams. Doan hit Kronwall and was called for a charge but it looked like a head shot to me. On the replays it looked like Doan hit him right in the face with a forearm. Nobody seemed to react to it though so I guess maybe it wasn’t that bad.

Early in the third period the Coyotes had a power play. They won the faceoff back to Morris who shot from the blue line and beat Howard to take the lead for the first time in the game.

In the third period Lidstrom was hit in the mouth with Fiddler’s stick and cut pretty badly. None of the officials saw it though so instead of a four minute penalty there was nothing. Nice job, refs.

The Coyotes improved even more in the third period. They took the game over. The Wings weren’t able to score even after pulling the goalie in the final minute.

This seemed like three separate games. In the first period the Red Wings had more than double the shots of the Coyotes. The second period was pretty even. And in the third period the Coyotes doubled the Red Wings’ shots. I don’t know if they just wore down the Wings, or if they Coyotes just found their mojo. They definitely had the Wings scrambling in the third period though.

So the Red Wings lost game one three to two. Now they need to shake that off and come back strong on Friday.

This 2-3 loss brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 0-1 Coyotes.

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

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

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.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3 (4/21/09)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Tonight the Red Wings were in Columbus to play game three of their first round series. This is the first time Columbus has ever hosted a playoff game so the fans and players there were really pumped. This game would also show us how important having last change is to the Red Wings. In this case I didn’t expect it to be that important because I think the Wings matchup very well against the Blue Jackets no matter what line is out there. Again, the starting goaltenders were Osgood and Mason.

It took just over a minute for the Red Wings to spoil the festivities for the Blue Jackets. Holmstrom came into the zone and took a shot that Mason stopped. The rebound came out to Hossa who shot it quickly. Mason might have got part of it with the knob of the stick and then it hit the crossbar and dropped down on the goal line. Meanwhile Holmstrom had moved to the front of the net and had wide open goalmouth in front of him. He tapped it in making it one to nothing very early in the game.

With less than a minute left in the first period Detroit struck again. Franzen threw the puck at the net. Cleary was in front and he picked up the rebound. He separated himself slightly from his defender and then spun with the puck and shot it. Mason didn’t know where to expect the shot to go and it got by him to give the Wings the two to nothing lead.

Osgood was superb in the first period. The Blue Jackets had some glorious chances and Osgood shut the door. He came up big with saves during the penalty kill and on several point blank chances. It was a great way to start a road game. Columbus had more shots on goal than Detroit did but that’s because they had a power play and Detroit didn’t. If not for the power play, shots they were even. Detroit out-hit Columbus 19 to 12 but Columbus had the edge in face-offs.

In the second period the Blue Jackets went on the power play again after Holmstrom was called for goaltender interference. This was a pure reputation call. He didn’t touch Mason at all. He was pushed into him by a Blue Jackets player but still managed to avoid hitting him. He did slap at the puck when it was up against Mason’s pads but I don’t recall anybody making THAT illegal. Detroit really shut them down on that power play. I don’t think they even had any shots.

Later in the second period Stuart creamed Umberger with a great hip check. Then Commodore tried to hit Cleary and ended up in the Red Wings bench. Then Franzen got taken down behind the Blue Jackets net and while that was going on Cleary passed the puck to Zetterberg in the slot. Zetterberg was standing all alone between the hash marks. He shot and scored and it seemed like nobody even noticed. They didn’t even show a replay of it because they were still talking about all the hits. Whatever, it was three to nothing Red Wings.

One stat that struck me was that through two periods the Blue Jackets had a total of only two shots on three power plays. That’s some good penalty killing by the Wings.

In the third period the Jackets went on the power play and the puck ended up on the goal line behind Osgood. He didn’t know it was there but Stuart alertly jumped in behind it and shoved it away.

Later in that same power play, with less than four minutes left in the game, the Blue Jackets scored to break Osgood’s shutout streak at just over 144 minutes. The penalty kill was a little squirrelly because the Wings had trouble clearing. They were getting control of the puck a lot but their clearing attempts were being cut off by Columbus. They kept throwing the puck to the net and finally Umberger, who was standing in front of Osgood, backhanded one that got by him.

The Blue Jackets pulled their goalie in the final minute and Zetterberg bagged the empty-netter with about 30 seconds left in the game.

Detroit played very well in this game. The only problem was that one penalty kill where Columbus scored. Osgood continued playing even better than he did last year in the playoffs. He’s playing like he’s already seen these games before. It looks like he knows where every shot is going. It’s just incredible to see.

The next game is Thursday and the Red Wings will be looking to put the Blue Jackets down for good in that one. Hopefully, they can keep up the great work and then get some rest before the next round.

This 4-1 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 3-0 Red Wings.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 2 (4/18/09)

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Tonight it was game two between the Red Wings and the Blue Jackets. The Red Wings looked awesome in game one and I expected Columbus to come out with something to prove and with a lot of energy. The goalies were once again, Osgood and Mason.

Cleary was called for interference within the first 10 seconds of the game. Osgood came up strong again on the penalty kill when the Blue Jackets had a great scoring chance and Osgood closed the door.

As it turned out the Red Wings had more jump than the Blue Jackets in the first period. They were throwing the body big time, especially Helm and Datsyuk.

The Wings opened the scoring in the first period with a power play goal. Lidstrom got the puck to Rafalski at the top of the circle. Holmstrom was in front of the net causing havoc with Tyutin guarding him. Rafalski released the shot and it deflected off Tyutin and into the net. That was the third goal out of five in this series to go in Columbus’ net off one of their own players. That made it one to nothing Red Wings.

That was the only goal in the first period. The Red Wings outshot the Blue Jackets 14 to 4 in the period. It was more of the same domination that we saw in game one.

In the second period Detroit scored another power play goal. This one was created by a beautiful pass from Hossa to Datsyuk who was standing just outside the crease. Mason was expecting a shot from Hossa so all Datsyuk had to do was tip the pass into the net. Mason was in position for the Hossa shot so the net on Datsyuk’s side was mostly wide open.

Later in the second Zetterberg got the puck from Franzen near the faceoff dot. He skated to the hash marks and released a pinpoint wrister that beat Mason over the glove to make it three to nothing Red Wings. It was a beautiful shot by Zetterberg.

The second period ended with the Red Wings in a flurry looking for their fourth goal. They had a power play and continued the pressure after it expired. They didn’t get it to go in but they had several good scoring chances and Columbus used their timeout to get a breather after they finally iced the puck.

Osgood looked great again in the second period and there were great plays by the Wings all over the ice. The line of Hudler, Filppula and Samuelsson continued to rack up the scoring chances. Brad Stuart made a great defensive play. The entire team was playing like a machine. There were lots of big hits and smart plays. It was just a pleasure to watch.

In the third period Detroit kept their power play rolling. Kronwall shot from the point and the rebound came to Hudler along the goal line. He took a shot and it hit the post. Then it bounced out and hit Mason and bounced back into the net. It was another crazy goal that you couldn’t really blame on Mason. This whole series so far has been proof that good things happen when you get the puck to the net.

That did it for this game. The Red Wings won four to nothing and Osgood got the shutout. It was another textbook performance by the Wings. Obviously, Osgood has found the best way to silence his critics. The crowd was really into it and cheering for him the entire game.

We’ll see on Tuesday what kind of difference it’ll make playing in Columbus. It’ll be easier for the Blue Jackets to get the matchups they want so they might do a little better there.

This 0-4 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 2-0 Red Wings.

Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1 (4/16/09)

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The playoffs are finally here. Detroit started their defense of the Stanley Cup tonight at Joe Louis Arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Chris Osgood was our starting goalie and Steve Mason was the starter for Columbus. Hossa was back, Cleary was in (despite mid-week rumors), and Draper was out.

This is the first ever playoff appearance for the Columbus Blue Jackets so you can bet the team and their fans will be intense. On the other hand, this is old hat for the Wings and their fans.

There was no score in the first period thanks to some outstanding goaltending by Osgood. The intensity level was high for both teams and the action was fast. Detroit seemed to be killing penalties most of the period. We didn’t see much sustained offense by the Wings until about halfway through the period. They looked really good when they were able to apply some pressure. Defensively, I thought Columbus had way too many chances but that’s because Detroit was shorthanded so much. Luckily, Osgood was on top of his game. He was very sharp and seemed to be seeing everything. If he hadn’t been playing so well it could have been four or five to nothing. After seeing the first period I thought that the Wings and especially Osgood had answered the question of whether or not they would have the intensity level necessary for the playoffs. They looked confident but not over confident.

The first half of the second period was more of the same. There were lots of chances but nothing came together. Shortly after the halfway point of the period Filppula and Hudler ended up with a two on one. Filppula got the puck across to Hudler who shot it passed Mason to open the scoring.

Then just a few seconds later, Columbus answered. Kronwall stumbled and lost the puck deep in his own zone. Voracek took the puck and passed it to Umberger who shot it backwards into the net. I don’t think Osgood was expecting him to shoot it without turning around first. That tied it up again at one goal each.

Later in the second period Detroit scored again when Ericsson took a shot from the point. The shot was going well wide but Malhotra tried to swat it away and ended up redirecting it into the net. Mason didn’t have a chance on that one. It looked like Samuelsson might have tipped it before it got to Malhotra but Ericsson got credit for the goal so I guess he didn’t touch it.

A few seconds later Detroit went on the power play. Kronwall took a shot from the point and Franzen was standing in front of Mason. This time it looked like it went off of Hejda’s knee and into the net. I don’t think Franzen touched it but it did change direction and Mason couldn’t see anything with Franzen in front of him. That made it three to one Wings.

In the third period the Zetterberg shoveled the puck behind the net to Franzen who was waiting down low. Franzen took the puck on his forehand then moved it to the backhand and shot it in all in one motion. He got it up over Mason’s skate and snuck between the post and his arm. It was a very fast, athletic and smart play.

That was it for this game. The Red Wings looked fantastic. Osgood was brilliant and the rest of the team looked great, too. Detroit showed why they’re the defending champs. They made this one look pretty easy. I expect Columbus to come out with something to prove on Saturday.

This 1-4 win brings this Western Conference Quarterfinal series to 1-0 Red Wings.