After a playoff-shortened season, the NHL gets the kind of finish it can only have dreamed about.
Going into tonight's game between Chicago and Detroit, the last five teams standing are those who have won the Stanley Cup over the past five seasons: Detroit (2008), Pittsburgh (2009), Chicago (2010), Boston (2011), and Los Angeles (2012). Four major, long-time hockey markets, and last year's defending Cup champs.
The only way the league could have scripted it any better is if the Final comes down to the Blackhawks versus the Penguins, the two powerhouses of the NHL and regular-season winners of their respective conferences in a winner-take-all showdown.
As the series shifts to the Motor City it is now the best of five series with each club notching a victory. Chicago has now lost home ice advantage in this series and need to reclaim it quick. The Blackhawks do not have to wait long with a quick turnaround time.
Games one and two were mirror images of each other with vastly differing results for each club. In game two Detroit found their skating legs with ample time off to rest and it appears they have recovered from the Anaheim Ducks series and are looking like the Detroit Red Wings that have gone to 22 consecuti...
The end of the season is in sight, and the Detroit Red Wings found themselves needing a win on home ice to try and maintain their position in the Western Conference standings against the team that trailed them by only a point: the St. Louis Blues. It was the day of the press conference confirming what everyone already knew--though still enjoyed hearing--about the 2014 Winter Classic. It was a day where the Wings needed to be tough, and resilient, and smart.
Of those three things, we witnessed the first two. The last one cost Detroit dearly.
The Wings began the second leg of this season yesterday and started off nearly as poorly as they began the season. Let's face it, when you lose to a team half as good as the Blues by half the margin, the odd's the difference.
Recently, coach Mike Babcock put a call out to his goalies saying they needed to step up and be better. Jimmy Howard has answered that call ever since, and did so again last night as the Red Wings defeated Colorado 2-1. Jimmy Howard made 36 saves and came ever-so-close to earning his 13th career shutout, but everything the Avs threw at Howard was not enough.
The spirit of giving is alive and well in Detroit. Many in Hockeytown last night would say it is too much so.
The Red Wings relinquished all control of what was an entertaining hockey game during the match's final period and absolutely handed over the game to the Anaheim Ducks. It was Anaheim's first win in the Joe Louis Arena since 2008, and by the play the Wings exhibited in the final frame, it couldn't have come much easier
Damien Brunner is the new kid on the block that everyone is talking about. He is the player that scored the only shootout goal on Monday nights game and scored the only Red Wings goal at the Wings home opener on Tuesday. The questions on everyone's mind is: who is Damien Brunner and where did he come from?
It's that time if year again, but this year it has come painfully early. The Detroit Red Wings have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, dropping their 1st Round series with the Nashville Predators. It is the first time since 2006 VS the Edmonton Oilers that the Red Wings have exited the playoffs in the opening round. This loss is exceptionally painful to deal with. Detroit's play looked stagnant and uninspired, scoring only 9 goals over the course of the 5-game series, at some points barely making Pekka Rinne break a sweat.
This applies to so many things in regards to last night's game.
Detroit seemed to dominate the flow of play tonight, but Nashville's been eating their Lucky Charms and have somehow squeezed out another cheeky victory in which we were forced to witness brief--albeit gaping--defensive lapses by Detroit and stupid terrible luck at the worst possible times leading to chances and, in some cases, goals. As if that weren't bad enough, the Hockey gods deemed it fitting to pull a fast one on the Wings, calling back what seemed like the 1st goal of the game, which would have given Nashville a 1-0 lead! The kicker: It was an 'Intent to blow' call!!
Hell hath frozen over!!
...for about a minute and a half, until Nashville came right back in and scored again, truly making it 1-0.