Thursday, March 11, 2010

Red Wings 5, Wild 1: Post Game Snipes...

  • You know what the best thing about this win was? You never felt like it was going to get away from the Wings. Even after that goal they gave up at the end of the first period, it seemed like the game was well in hand.
  • They started strongly, didn’t let up in the second period, and finished strongly in the third. It was as complete an effort as this team has given in a while.
  • I’m not ready to call it a turning point or a statement game yet, though. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance from this team all season long, but it hasn’t been sustained for any significant amount of time. That being said, the fact that the offense has really kicked things into gear recently (five goals tonight, five against the Hawks, five against the Predators) is a good sign. Over the last few games, they have started to put together bits and pieces of dominant efforts where they looked like the real Wings for stretches, but couldn’t string together a whole game. The fact that they didn’t quit once they had the lead and kept pressing is incredibly encouraging. Maybe, just maybe, they finally got the message. We’ll see.
  • Zetterberg certainly turned things around after getting called out by almost everybody.
  • Bertuzzi was completely invisible all night except for that part where he took a penalty. That was only the second time all game that I noticed him on the ice.
  • I was incredibly uncomfortable when Miller’s goal went to review. It certainly looked like a good goal to me, but this season has killed any faith that I had in the NHL’s review system.
  • Dan Cleary had one of his best games of the season, I thought. He appeared to be working hard and doing good things out there. Now he just needs to keep that up.
  • Once again, if the Wings had had Franzen all season, we’d be a lot more cheerful around Hockeytown right about now.
  • At one point, after some slick passing by the Wings, Ken Daniels called it “pinball wizardry.” Being a big fan of The Who, I liked it a lot.
  • Seriously, this is what watching a Wings game ought to feel like. It’s been too long.
GP Answers:
1. Can Valtteri Filppula spark Z? I still maintain that he’s not 100%, but I guess that could just be Todd Bertuzzi’s aura dragging him down. Maybe getting some time away from Bert will help get Z’s offense going.
Zetterberg had his best game in a long while. His goal came when he was on the ice with Patrick Eaves and Kris Draper, not his normal linemates, but he seemed to be buzzing all night. Keep it up, sunshine.

2. In the event that the Wings manage to get a lead, will they be able to hang onto it?
Yes. Yes they did. And they looked good doing it.

3. What percentage of the game will the Wings bother to play tonight? I think I’m going to make this like the Lidstrom question earlier this season and post it in every GP until I see a 100% effort.
I’ll give them the 100%. I was going to go with 99% because of that letdown at the end of the first, but I’m in a good mood right now and I’m feeling generous. I’m still going to ask this question on Saturday though. One game of a solid effort doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.

4. Can Jimmy Howard get those rebounds under control? They’ve slowly become an issue again since the Olympic break.
There were some shaky rebounds, but nothing bad came of them. Minnesota’s only goal bounced in off of Stuart’s leg, and Jimmy had no chance on it. Hopefully this game will settle him down some.

Cookies and Cupcakes for Henrik Zetterberg
Like I said before, this was his best game in a long time. With any luck, he’ll get on a roll and we’ll get to see dominant Zetterberg more often.

An Extra Stick Tap for Johan Franzen
How can you not love the Mule? I mean really.

Chris Chelios gets the Golden Facepalm
He marked his return to the NHL by deflecting a shot into his own net tonight. I know it wasn’t his fault, but it wasn’t exactly a banner way to start his tenure there. What’s that you say? He’s not a Wing anymore and is therefore ineligible for the Golden Facepalm? Well, I get to make the rules around here, sunshine, and what I say goes. So there.

What I Learned:
I don’t think there are many teams that can beat the Wings if they play like they did tonight. There are definitely only a few out there who could win a best-of-7 series against the version of the team that we saw tonight. Now if we could get treated to that version more often…

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