Because of a bum travel schedule, I’m only able to put this post up this morning (today). It’s the second installment of my LB’s of the Western United States road trip. Another one tonight. Here’s what I had to say as the game developed.
1:00 Mark – I don’t even have my laptop fired up when Franzen misses on the initial feed from Valtteri’s hair and throws in a garbage, fluttering knuckleball as though it were easy to control. Good thing the Mule wore number 93 White and not Magnifico Giganticus. Is there something about the Mule, or something he has decided, that forces him to only score impossible goals? Can the guy just score on a breakaway or in a shootout or something? Seems like every Franzen goal is a perfectly placed puck that was rolling on him, a deflection, a tip in or a snipe from far enough out that it would be harmless had anyone else shot it.
13:45 Mark – Another goal-tender interference call where our goalie gets reamed turns into a penalty against us. PP for the Schmucks. This turns into back-to-back powerplays after Pavel Datsyuk took a Lady-Byng-worthy-high-stick penalty. That penalty kill for just under 4:00, plus 5-on-3 was so good, so efficient, you never noticed how good and efficient they were. It’s the type of Red Wings hockey that makes fans of other teams think our games our “boring” when we play with a lead. Confidence, swagger, puck possession, attention to detail, and being “engaged” with the game. It happens and we love it. Others hate it.
20:00 Mark – First period ends with us up 1-0 thanks in large part to Jimmy Howard. That kid is outrageous.
1:00 Mark – Dangerous start…again. This time no goal but those top two lines started this game on time and for that I am thankful.
10:00 Mark – The game starts to shift to Anaheim’s direction. And then?
16:00 Mark – The Flying Circus. We can never get tired of this. We love it. Keep it up, boys, you are the pride of Red Wings Hockey.
18:00 Mark – Rafalski scores me some #12AngryMenFantasyHockey points on the deflection by Cleary. Ken Daniels then remarks on the great Red Wings fan turnout in the Ponda. Captain Dennis Polonich, RWBill, Creasemonkey, WestWing, we’re all so proud of you kids. Go Wings! Period ends Detroit up 3-0.
A penalty early on, but this period was really Detroit trying to avoid the typical Schmuck goonery that happens during games in which put the beat down on Anaheim. An obligatory Todd Bertuzzi penalty starts this period, and relative silence and puck possession hockey follows. Or is that just how I remember it because I was fading in and out of consciousness?
19:00 Mark – Valtteri Filppula and that famed BFF line produce once more, with Jonny Ericsson (here’s to Jonny Ericsson!) picking up a helper. That line is just incredible, some times. They seem to be immune to other team’s top lines and forecheck. And why shouldn’t they be? Val is one of the best puck handlers on the team (i.e., one of the best in the League), plus who wants to have the job of hunting down Bert on the ice? He knows, or can find out, where your family lives. Best to just leave them alone.
My summary of this game essentially resembles the epiphany I had whilst watching it. We know in the first five minutes whether or not we will win a hockey game. The question “How good does Jimmy look, early on?” is all you need to ask, other than, of course “is Ozzie playing?” But seriously, when Jimmy makes a few big saves in the first five minutes you know he’s keyed in, and the team will feed off of that. And usually, we win those.