The Red Wings are on the verge of elimination after losing 4-3 in overtime against the San Jose Sharks last night. The Wings took a 3-1 lead into the 3rd period but let off the gas, allowing San Jose back into the game.
The Wings jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period behind goals from Tomas Holmstrom and Dan Cleary. Realistically, the Sharks were very fortunate the lead wasn’t larger. Henrik Zetterberg had a goal waived off because he “apparently” kicked the puck into the net. This prompted the Joe Louis crowd into the loudest “Bullshit” chant I’ve ever heard on TV. The Wings were also awarded a penalty shot when a Sharks defender covered the puck with his hand in the crease. This was probably the first big break given to the Wings by the officials all series, but Z couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity.
Devin “Greg Louganis” Setoguchi scored for the Sharks scored with less than 5 seconds left in the first period, mostly due to a lackadasical effort from the Wings’ defense. Zetterberg scored what should have been his second goal of the game early in the second period to put the Wings up 3-1. The Sharks had three power plays in the second period, but couldn’t capitalize before intermission.
THIRD PERIOD MELTDOWN
There really isn’t an explanation for what happened after the second period. The referees didn’t screw the Wings (just one power play for the Sharks on a legitimate interference call), and the Sharks didn’t take over the game. The Wings simply stopped skating for whatever reason. The goaltending left something to be desired (more on that later), but the defense was equally as bad. The Wings couldn’t finish the game, and it ultimately led to their demise in overtime.
SOMETHING DOESN’T LOOK RIGHT HERE
Thanks to @bigmike05 for this picture, which is the Sharks game-winning goal in OT (in case you’ve developed amnesia in the last 18 hours). For those of you that think this is just a normal line change, Nightmare on Helm Street has identified where the Sharks are in the wrong. Unfortunately, the infraction in this situation is essentially never called, and I’d likely go batshit if this was ever called on the Wings.
I’d like to identify Brian Rafalski, the middle Detroit defender (just above Howard) in the picture. In this situation, Rafalski’s sole job is to deny the pass from Thornton (Shark on the left) to Marleau (Shark on the right). Blame Jason Williams all you want for missing the shot (anyone remember Mikael Samuelsson?), but Rafalski deserves the most scorn on this play.
AN OLD FRIEND RETURNS
Regardless of what happens in the rest of this series, the Wings have already made what is likely their biggest move of the offseason. Jiri Hudler, who played this season in the KHL, will return to the Red Wings after his Dynamo Moscow team folded after their loss in the playoffs. I, for one, am happy to see Hudler coming back to Detroit. They definitely could have used his scoring touch this past season with the rash of injuries they had. I’d like to see Hudler on the Wings’ third line, mostly because he tends to excel in that role despite his top six talent.
LIKE I SAID…
On Monday, I touched on the fact that Jimmy Howard is still a rookie despite having played all year. He definitely showed his inexperience, especially on the game-tying goal in the 3rd. While his shoddy play in California was largely a result of his D letting him down, there’s no reason for Howard to let in the goals he did last night. Despite his struggles, he still gives the Wings the best opportunity to win going forward. Shut up about Chris Osgood.
RED WING REACTIONS
The small mental lapses in this series have ultimately brought us to this most desperate situation.
…I would like nothing more than to be wrong and see the Wings come out guns blazing Thursday night to start a comeback for the ages. But whatever happens, I’m going to be proud of this team and what it’s done this year.
Ansar Khan, MLive:
Only two teams in NHL history have battled back from an 0-3 deficit to win a series — the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (vs. Detroit in the Stanley Cup finals) and the 1975 New York Islanders (vs. Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals).
Yes, it’s OK if the Wings go down to the top seed in the West and it’s OK if they don’t win the Cup. If they lose this series, they have nothing to be ashamed of. It won’t be the loss of an era or the end of a dynasty or anything else that the MSM and pundits across the hockey universe want to make it. No, it will be the end of a season. Nothing more and nothing less.
Pretty unrelated, but still awesome. The Production Line:
Because [Helm’s] made of man, he got up – on his own – a few seconds later, stole Chuck Norris’ wife, and went about his business of being so completely and totally awesome that the pants of all 19,000 in attendance became simultaneously tighter. Yeah, even the women. I’m not really sure how it all works down there, so go with it.
Also, check out The Scrappy Octopus for an awesome visual on how this series has gone.
AROUND THE NHL
The Pens beat the Canadiens 2-0 last night to take a 2-1 series lead.
Chicago tied their series at 1 with a 4-2 win on Monday. Game 3 is in Vancouver later tonight.
The Bruins beat the Flyers 3-2 on Monday to take a 2-0 series lead. Game 3 is set to face off in about 20 minutes.