Kukla's Korner Hockey
By Eli Epstein, TiqIQ
It took seven games, but a Detroit Red Wings team that almost didn’t make the playoffs showed up in a big way in the first round, ousting the second-seeded Anaheim Ducks in a series not many pundits expected the Wings to win. Not only did Detroit move on, they did so behind the stellar net play of star goalie Jimmy Howard, who posted a 2.74 Goals Against Average in the series.
Up front, the Wings had a balanced offensive attack, carrying six players who scored two or more goals in round one. Superstars Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk will always be the Wings’ bread and butter, but solid scoring outputs from grinders like Dan Cleary and Justin Abdelkader, which the Wings thankfully received, will propel Detroit to the next level.
"We felt we had a good thing going. I think everybody thought we were going to go a long way, but it seemed like we didn't find that extra step for the playoffs. Detroit was just a little better than us. It's depressing. It makes you feel sad."
-Jonas Hiller, goaltender for the Anaheim Ducks after losing 3-2 to Detroit last night. More on the game from the CP at TSN.
I had to check it was Babcock behind the bench at the start of the game and not Bowman.
A marvelous decision by Babcock to switch up the lines which caught the Ducks off guard and they are probably still scratching their heads.
James Reimer on Patrice Bergeron...
Or Jimmy Howard on Teemu Selanne...
Game 7 will be in Anaheim on Sunday with a 10:00pm ET start.
Who do you like?
Make sure to visit The Malik Report for a recap of game 6.
I don’t want to take anything away from Pavel Datsyuk’s equalizer late in the third because it was a beauty — he got half a step on Sbisa racing down the left wing before sizzling a wrister that beat Hiller high on the short side. But honestly, that’s a goal the Anaheim goalie can’t allow. He played it way too conservatively, staying deep in his crease and waiting to react to a pass that never came. If Hiller skates out a foot or so, he cuts down the angle and probably takes that hole away. Instead, his caution let it get to overtime. It was Hiller’s only mistake on the night, and it likely cost Anaheim the game.
-Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated where you can read more on the game.
If you missed the Datsyuk goal or want to see it again, you can watch it below...
If you missed the hit or want to review it, watch it here at The Malik Report.
added 9:53am, from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
The head is attached to the body. You attack one, you’ll affect the other, and to the naked eye, at the speed of hockey, it is damn hard to know how much contact is made where or when. So Justin Abdelkader saw a play develop, charged toward Anaheim’s Toni Lydman and plowed into him for a check. Hit his body, shoulder high, knocked Lydman up and down like a land mine explosion.
Was Lydman’s head affected? How could it not be? Was it a hit to the head? Clearly not. Did Abdelkader build up speed heading toward him? Don’t you have to? Did he continue that speed through the hit? Not at all. Did the refs call it clean — or did they call it dirty and throw Abdelkader out?
Yes — and yes.
On such things can playoff hockey turn.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
Even as Detroit opened a three-goal lead, Boudreau and the Ducks kept pushing.
“They were always talking about, Get one and we can get two,” Boudreau said. “Get one and we can get two.”
By the time Bobby Ryan tied the game late in the third period, it felt like an inevitability. The push from the Ducks got stronger and stronger as the game went on as Detroit mistakenly tried to sit on a lead against one of the biggest offensive powerhouses in the playoffs.
“They just kept coming at us, coming at us. In the playoffs, you can’t really take your foot off the gas,” Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. “That includes all of us.”
But Detroit hung on in this one, and the 5-4 overtime win taught us something about each one of these teams. First there’s no lead safe against the relentless Ducks. And the young, skilled Red Wings still have enough veteran presence to regroup while learning on the fly in the playoffs.
It sets up the making of what could end up being an incredible series.
Here are a few "ifs" between Detroit. Minnesota and Columbus going into the last game of the season.
Minnesota will win the tie-breaker if even in points with Detroit or Columbus.
Detroit wins the tie-breaker if tied with Columbus in points.
Columbus doesn't win any tie-breaker so they must finish a point ahead of Detroit or Minnesota to finish 7th or 8th.
Games on Saturday
Detroit plays in Dallas at 7:00pm ET, Columbus at home against Nashville at 7:00pm ET and Minnesota plays at Colorado at 7:30pm ET.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org