- The game didn’t exactly get off to a wonderful start. The Wings took a too many men penalty right off the bat. Naturally, the question Wings fans had was, “Why didn’t the linesman warn them that they had too many men and give them time to get legit?” Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work?
- Mike Babcock says Stuart’s expected to return on Saturday. He was injured in the first period on this hit by Rob Blake. While I still maintain that he wilted under the intense in-person hatred of Sara’s hubby, having him in the lineup is going to be important when the series returns to California.
- I really was shocked that the one Franzen goal wasn’t called back for interference. Normally, I would feel the slightest tinge of guilt, but not the way this series has gone so far.
- I was really amused when people at the Joe threw their hats for Franzen even though those of us watching on TV knew the first goal would be switched to Bertuzzi. Mule just wouldn’t allow those fine fans’ hats to go to waste, though, and kindly scored two more goals of his own.
- Speaking of Bert, he had a ridiculously good game tonight.
- Curly fries tomorrow! I think a four-goal performance is worthy of a large curly fries instead of the mini one you usually get. Speaking of which, in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Wings have now equaled their total number of hat tricks from the last two regular seasons. Not that it matters, but it was a thought that popped into my head.
- Dan Boyle scored on his own net again. It was another fluky play, and actually bounced in off of a teammate, but it made me laugh. What did he do to the Hockey Gods?
- Franzen’s natural hat trick was the first by a Wing in the playoffs since McCarty did it in ’02 against Colorado. That was a memorable game too, in the sense that I didn’t watch the third period of it where all the fun happened. I blame the city of Birmingham. I’ve never liked it there. But I digress.
- Predictably, the Sharks decided to go out and goon it up when the game got out of hand. The refs tonight at least had the good sense to penalize them for their hi-jinks. I don’t really understand that mentality. I was concerned that someone was going to get hurt, but the Wings did a pretty good job standing up for themselves.
- Thornton threw a nice elbow on Zetterberg in front of the net. In this picture, one guy shows character and leadership. The other, not so much. I’ll leave the interpretation up to you.
- I’m pretty sure nobody actually landed a single punch in Abdelkader’s “fight.” Oh well, I guess it’s the thought that counts.
- Of course, the goonery did inspire Mickey Redmond to exclaim, “She’s getting rough and dirty! That’s the way I like it,” which very clearly made my day.
12. I’ll start with the obvious: The Wings need to find a way to win this game.
Yeah, that just happened. For real.
11. Mattias Ritola is making his playoff debut in place of the injured Patrick Eaves and useless Jason Williams (Who?). This is exciting and terrifying all at once.
I didn’t see Ritola do a whole lot, but he at least didn’t stand out in a negative manner. Or try to kill me.
10. The Datsyuk line can’t afford to get taken advantage of defensively like they were on Tuesday.
The defense was tight all around. The offense maintained pressure in the zone. San Jose spent most of the game on their heels wondering what hit them. (Spoiler alert: It was a large, Swedish Mule.)
9. Powerplays have been few and far between this series, but the Wings haven’t done a good enough job capitalizing on them when they do come their way. Special teams have been crucial in every single game all playoffs long.
We all had to take a moment to re-learn about the concept of a Wings’ powerplay. Nobody was quite sure what to make of the fact that they were allowed to have a man advantage. Once they settled in, though, things really took off.
8. Jimmy needs to settle down and stop trying to do too much. People have been criticizing him, but they’re forgetting that he’s a rookie. He doesn’t need to be the savior of the world. He just needs to make the saves the team asks him to.
Jimmy wasn’t tested too much, but he made the saves when he had to.
7. Again, STAY OUT OF THE BOX!!!
Imagine that: a game where I didn’t notice any egregiously bad penalty calls. I even complimented the refs at one point on twitter. I know. The world may be ending.
6. Capitalize on mistakes when San Jose makes them. It seems like they’ve found a way to put the puck in the net every time the Wings make a mistake. The Wings need to turn the tables if they want to have a shot at crawling out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves.
Not only did the Wings find a way to take advantage when San Jose gave them room, but they also cut down on their own mistakes.
5. This is the equivalent of a Game Seven. Start strong. Finish strong. (And, you know, don’t forget about the middle of the game either.)
That early penalty aside, the first period was dynamite. Five goals? I’ll take that any day.
4. Win faceoffs. It makes it a heck of a lot easier to play the puck possession game we know and love.
The teams were dead even in faceoff wins. It somehow seemed like the Wings were winning the really important ones tonight, though.
3. Andreas Lilja is back in the lineup on defense. Here’s hoping he can settle Ericsson down.
Ericsson made a really good defensive play tonight! Everyone was so excited that they twittered about it. Having Lilja in for Lebda was huge since Stuart left the game early on.
2. Zetterberg really stepped up his game on Tuesday. He and his line need to keep carrying the play to the Sharks’ top players.
His new “remixed” line was insane tonight. That’s all I have to say about that. insane.
1. Keep testing Nabokov. He hasn’t looked nearly as spectacular as a 3-0 series lead would indicate.
His save percentage for tonight was .444. That’s not a typo.
Hero: Johan Franzen
Somehow, 14% of FSN voters disagreed with this selection. Four goals? Six points? A #JohanFranzenFacts hashtag campaign dedicated to him? The Mule did it all tonight. I just hope having to file for a restraining order from my brother won’t distract him from the task at hand.
Villain: Joe Thornton
I was so glad when he got slapped with his 14 minutes of penalties. I’m so glad the Wings don’t respond that way when they find themselves losing by a large margin. Good on Todd McLellan for keeping him on the bench for the remaining time after his penalties.
Don’t think of it as trying to climb out of a 3-0 series deficit anymore. Think of it as trying to climb out of a 3-1 series deficit. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse.