Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pumpkin Time?

The West's Cinderella 8th seed is now on the brink of elimination. The Ducks were competitive in Game 5, but the Red Wings attack came in waves, and a lapse in concentration to open the 2nd left Anaheim in a 2-goal hole that proved too much to overcome.

I'm going to flip the script a little bit here. Since the Red Wings are playing like the Red Wings and the Ducks are down 3-2, it's clear that Anaheim has to play flawless hockey from here on out. But Daniel, the Red Wings have a chance to swat away a pesky 8th seed that had them on the ropes in this series. What do the Red Wings have to do to make sure they're not back at the Joe next week?

I'm going to do my best to answer this question with as little bias as possible. I will, of course, fail, but at least it gives me a chance to focus on everything the Ducks did wrong. My first task for the Wings is to continue to get to Hiller. I'm not saying Cleary interfered with Hiller on the third goal, I'm just saying he made it impossible for Hiller to move and reach for the puck. Detroit needs to get away with-- I mean --do more of that. If Detroit can continue to win the battles in front of the crease like it did on the second and third goal, they will be victorious in Game 6.

The next thing Detroit needs to do is not let up. It's easy to thoroughly dominate a team in two games, as Detroit has with Anaheim, and forget that the team isn't going to roll over and play dead. Franzen and Holmstrom need to continue giving it to Scotty and Pronger. Anaheim's defenseman are great at using each other to move the puck out of the zone, so Detroit needs to keep the pressure on. More importantly, that pressure needs to continue into the neutral zone. Anaheim has had no transition offense for the last two games, and as a result has lost. No easy access to the attacking zone, no cross ice passes after entry and no cycling means no offense for the Ducks. It all starts by pressuring the D and not letting Anaheim access the neutral zone. Thus, it is necessary to keep the pressure up.

Finally, the Wings need to keep taking it for the team. It is quickly becoming apparent that the Red Wings aren't just outshooting Anaheim because they are getting more offensive chances, it's because they are getting more pucks through. The Ducks are getting a lot of shots stopped at the point and Detroit is turning up ice quickly, and as a result are getting a lot of odd man breaks when the Ducks have 3 wingers trying to crash the net for rebounds. Detroit is stopping everything. They have some of the busiest, and borderline, stick work in the league; they need to keep using it to their advantage and protect Osgood from having to face too many shots.


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  2. Great post guys. Cleary was definitely goalie interference, it's too bad the ref wasn't in position to spot that.

  3. Red Wings making a goalie's life a living hell ... and blurring the line of legality? I could not even imagine it.

  4. Oh not you guys on the interference too!

    As I said last night on BoC, yes, Cleary was in the crease. But Hiller was down on his left knee, had his right leg fully extended already. He wasn't going to magically stretch any further. He wasn't really gonna slide over very well either, having been down on his left knee, and having his right leg out like that. Hiller couldn't really have gotten over at all to make the save anyways. If he magically were able to jump into the area that Cleary was occupying, then it would've made it a crystal clear interference call. I think the ref let it go because Hiller was already down and out, and wasn't going to stop that puck. If he were to somehow get across, reach across, something, it would've definitely made it a interference penalty. As it happened, I think he's too far down and out of the play by the time the goal is scored to be able to wrangle an interference call from the ref.

    At least it was the third of four goals, when the Wings only needed two to win. I'd definitely feel a lot worse about it being a controversial goal if it had been the gamewinner or something like that. In the end, it was pretty much irrelevant anyways.