(I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that the first thing that came to mind when I started writing this wrapup was “Phoenix Down.” Clearly I’ve been playing too much Final Fantasy in my off time.)
Now that’s what I’m talking about. I had faith in this team that they would bring it. And boy did they ever, dismantling the Coyotes 6-1.
Pavel had 2 goals, Zata had 3 assists, and Nick had 2 power play goals and an assist. They were, rightfully, 1-3, the stars of the game. The big boys stepped it up and brought their A game when the team needed it. Rafalski and Filppula also had 2 assists apiece.
Goals were as follows:
Detroit: Pavel Datsyuk (pp; Lidstrom, Rafalski); Pavel Datsyuk (Zetterberg, Rafalski); Nicklas Lidstrom (pp; Filppula, Zetterberg), Brad Stuart (unassisted); Todd Bertuzzi (Filppula, Zetterberg); Nicklas Lidstrom (Rafalski, Franzen)
Phoenix: Vernon Fiddler (unassisted)
+ Detroit tore out of the gate. This was an outstanding exhibition of classic Red Wings hockey. Puck possession, defense jumping up, solid forecheck, and crashing the net. A perfect penalty kill, including a 3-on-5. A 3/7 power play conversion rate. 50 shots on goal to 33. 5 takeaways to Phoenix’s 9 giveaways. Talk about finally putting the skate to the throat. This was utter domination by the Wings. This was them saying “if you think we’re done, go fuck yourself.”
+ What a relief to see the special teams all back to normal. The first power play unit got cranking, and the PK was functioning like it should, rather than that weird anomaly from Games 1 and 6.
– Jimmy really probably should have been more prepared for that faceoff in which Vernon Fiddler just slid the puck between his legs right off the draw. There’s just really no excuse for that.
+ Happy Birthday to Nick Lidstrom. 2 power play goals and some seriously ridiculous defensive play just reinforced the fact that he’s probably actually part android, because there’s no way he played anything like a 40 year old. He had 7 SOG (plus 5 missed shots for 12 total), played 23:59, and looked like The Perfect Human he is.
+ Nicole from the Red Wings set up a very cool video chat, drawing on the #redwingscommune get-togethers that have been happening in Detroit. Lots of fun, and a great way for us out of staters to join in. With this, however, came the revelation of my secret identity.
See, I’m actually Pavel Datsyuk. And Nick Lidstrom. And Brad Stuart. And… well, maybe not Todd Bertuzzi. Every single time I got knocked off the #redwingscommune video chat, the Red Wings scored. Every. Freaking. Goal. All six of them. Which of course led to jokes that I’m actually running off to score for the Wings.
Yep. That’d be me. Goal scorer extraordinair.
+ Speaking of goals, those Pavel Datsyuk goals were just beautiful. Sublime, as my dad likes to call Pavel. 1:41 apart, and 2 minutes into the period, Datsyuk took control and set the tone early in the second. That pass from Z to spring him and then the curl-and-drag by Pavel… what a thing of wonder. I know this is kind of mean, but I can’t deny that I enjoyed seeing Bryzgalov just sitting there and look utterly defeated after Pavel’s second.
- Helloooo penalties! I don’t understand how Darren Helm gets called for Diving, when right before that Keith Yandle got a nice 8.5 for his dive on the Drew Miller “trip.” It’s the playoffs. Referees need to learn to let the two teams play. Cue the tinfoil hat accusations, which I don’t necessarily agree with, but you have to admit they were a little whistle-happy in the 2nd period, overall.
+ One good thing that came from said penalties? Brad Stuart zipping out of the box to pick up the loose puck and flip it home.
= Weirdly, Zetterberg didn’t have a great night in the faceoff circle. He went 7 and 11. Conversely, Datsyuk went pretty much the opposite, at 12 and 7. Wings barely held the advantage, 37 to 31.
– Where, oh where have Mule and Cleary gone? Moving into the second round, the Wings are going to need scoring from everyone. And against the Sharks, having a physical presence will be important again. These guys need to step it up.
+ Congrats to the Coyotes though, for having a great season, and (now that it’s over) for putting up a good fight and giving us great hockey.
+ I knew they would do it. Thanks, boys.