- After an agonizing first period, the Wings managed to absolutely destroy the Coyotes. I’ll be the first to admit that during the first intermission, I was almost positive that it was going to be “one of those games” where the Wings pump 50 shots at the opposing goalie and he absolutely shuts them down. Luckily, my fears were not justified.
- Datsyuk was, well, Datsyukian last night. And also Danglelicious (thank you, Versus). He and Hank even posed for an awesome goal celebration picture that makes it look like they're dancing.
- On top of that, one of his goals led to the creation of this masterpiece:
- I really think that Nick Lidstrom spent today staring at his birthday cake with forty candles (plus one for good luck) and laughing at it. He keeps on proving that age is just a number.
- As excited as I was about Stuart’s goal, I was also terrified when I saw Zetterberg go crashing awkwardly into the boards behind the net. I didn’t realize at the time that he had been tripped up (stay classy, Phoenix). I wanted to celebrate, but I was just waiting for the camera to pan over to see if Z was okay. The Wings got lucky on that one.
- How was that hook on Helm’s breakaway not a penalty shot? I was shocked, but not entirely unhappy. I figured the Wings would have a better chance on a powerplay than on a Helm penalty shot. It also negated the Coyotes’ powerplay so the Wings didn’t have to kill any more time.
- By the end of the night, Phoenix fans were throwing beer bottles on the ice during play. Hank was kind enough to try to pick it up off of the ice. I suspect it was so he could give it to Brett Lebda in the locker room, but that's just a guess.
- I watched the game from Kukla's Kasa with the rest of the #redwingscommune. We also launched Operation #redwingscommune: No Limits on a video chat with tweeps from around the country. More on that later.
13. The Wings need to stop the bleeding on the penalty kill. Sure, another three-goal performance from Phoenix’s powerplay is unlikely, but then again, that’s what we said after Game One.
The PK was not only functional, but I would argue that the long 5-on-3 kill in the second period was the turning point of the game. If Phoenix had scored there, things would have looked a lot uglier. On top of that, a fresh-from-the-box Brad Stuart scored his breakaway goal immediately after the last of those penalties was killed off.
12. The top two lines need to reappear again. When they’re clicking, good things keep happening for the Wings.
Your three stars for the game were Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Lidstrom. That pretty much says it all. (Yes, I realize that Lidstrom isn’t on the top two lines, but he’s the leader on defense and is generally part of the top unit out there.)
11. Coming out strong and aggressive is going to be really important. They can’t afford to be tentative and passive at the start of the game.
I was actually worried for the first few minutes of the game. The Coyotes seemed to be carrying the play (although that could’ve been my paranoid imagination), but eventually the Wings righted the ship and took control of the game.
10. Jimmy was far from the reason for the Wings’ loss on Sunday, but he needs to be in top form tomorrow.
The 6-1 score would make some people overlook the fact that Jimmy made a lot of good saves throughout the game. He was sharp. Sure, that goal off of the faceoff shouldn’t have gone in, but you have to look at the fact that it was a bang-bang play.
9. The Wings need to find a way to solve Ilya Bryzgalov. He may very well have stolen the game for the Coyotes during the first few minutes of play.
He looked like a brick wall during the first period again, and I was having nightmares. The Wings eventually solved him six times, which isn’t good for a goalie no matter how many shots he faces.
8. How many times am I going to be flailing around in search of my tin foil hat?
Oh there were ample opportunities for tin foil hattery. There was the quick whistle on a clearly loose puck that negated a powerplay goal for the Wings. There was the ridiculous string of penalties in the second during which the Coyotes seemed destined to tie up the game. There was some yelling going on at the #redwingscommune.
7. Earth to Playoff Franzen. Where are you? The Wings kind of need you to start producing.
I’m about ready to make some lost mule posters and hang them up around my neighborhood. Here’s hoping he was saving it up for the second round.
6. It sure would be nice to see a full sixty-minute effort…
This was as close to it as we’re ever going to see that, probably. I really have no complaints.
5. Can the defense avoid hanging Jimmy out to dry again?
The defense was there when it needed to be. They weathered the early storm, and had Jimmy’s back for the rest of the night.
4. It would be nice if the powerplay came back to life and scored more goals than it allowed. That’s a pretty good target, I think.
Indeed it did.
3. I hope that Justin Abdelkader keeps hitting everything in sight.
Abdelkader was less noticeable than he was the other day, but it didn’t really matter.
2. Capitalizing on mistakes: whoever does a better job of this is probably going to be playing some more hockey this season.
Verdict: Wings. End of story.
1. This is it. Game Seven. It’s all or nothing. Which team wants it more? No fear. No excuses. No mercy. No limits.
They came out strong and didn’t back down. Their top guys were their top guys. They never let up. We’ll see where the No Limits thing takes them.
Hero: Pavel Datsyuk
Best player on the ice. That’s what he needs to do every night.
Villain: Keith Yandle
Stay classy, dude. Enjoy the golf.
Round two, here we come.