When one says “the fans at Joe Louis threw more octopi on the ice than the Wings put pucks in the opposing net,” one tends to feel weak, feeble, and like hockey really isn’t all that important of a sport, anyway.
But when 4 octopi hit the ice, each of which is gloriously twirled by arena manager and local deity Al Sobotka, you know we might be okay. Combine that with our record of scoring 3 goals whilst Jimmy is in net and Z as our Captain, and you have an OH MY GOODNESS I CANNOT BELIEVE WE’RE UP 2-1 ON CHICAGO.
This game was great. Lots of snarl. Chicago came out with a huge push. Angry about being embarrassed on home ice, like Xerxes learning he can bleed for the first time. What a storm to weather. But thanks to Jimmy and the post, and a defense that would bend but not break, we were able to hang in there. The Wings, meanwhile, came out of the gate with a physical style, led with hits by Drew Miller and the defensive units relentlessly badgering the stars of Chicago. A good PK too.
Midway through the second period, the Wings finally break through. Defensive zone draw and the Goose is loose, springs all the way down after a clever feed from Brunner, takes Seabrook to school, Crawford along with him, and pots one from a low angle into the open net. A mere thirty seconds later, Eaves-Miller-Emmerton double our lead with a quick turnover on the forecheck and the Eaves shot gets past Crawford, puck hangs on the line, and Drew Miller crashes the net and pokes it in. Along with himself. Because that’s how Fourth Liners do it.
The third period got a little whacky. Franzen nailed from behind, hit right between the numbers, stays down, and Chicago gets a break and Kane scores a goal. 2-1. Edzo has NO problem with the hit, almost completely refuses to acknowledge it and, as the crowd boo’s, opines that they must be mad about the lack of whistle whilst Franzen was down. Surely, they can’t be mad about a lack of a boarding call! That’s outrageous, a Blockhack hit him. He should be so lucky. What a pile of garbage that guy is. Hockey Gods would make him pay, however, as a minute or two later the Hawks tie it up with a shot that beats Howa – OH NO! Goalie Interference! In the crease on Andrew Shaw, who had a terrible game. Great going, Hockey Gods!
NOHS THREE STARS
First Star: Jimmy Howard
39 stops on 40 shots faced. This guy kept us in early, allowed a goal on a play that I completely disagree with ever happening (about as fervently as Joel Quennville disagrees with that goalie interference call). A real strong game, but probably not enough to change the mind of this guy. To be honest, Chicago’s chances, after the first 10 minutes of the first period, were less and less lethal. It just seemed that the Wings were getting into the Hawks’ heads a bit.
Second Star: Gustav Nyquist
Breaking a bit of a drought on a real goal-scorer’s goal. He plays a very responsible game, typical of our third-liners, but I’m not really used to so much skill from youngsters on a third line. Not only are they quick, but holy smokes can they dangle and some of them even snipe.
Third Star: Pavel Valerievich
Tough to pick a third star, I felt EVERY ONE had a really strong game. Zetterberg really got into Toews’ head it seemed. Cleary absolutely owned the mind of Dan Bickell, dude completely lost his s*** with 90 seconds left, down by two, in the offensive zone after the whistle. Unbelievable. But Pavel Valerievich just absolutely earned a star with a highlight real goal. Not too bad defensively, once again, either. Completely trust him with defensive zone draws/responsibilities when we’re down a man or working with a minute to go and Chicago has pulled their “goalie.”
Honourable Mention: Nik Kronwall
No Kronwallings this game. But he was inside the heads of the Hawks, much like everyone else. Some really outstanding work in frustrating them and even more baffling was the dumb penalties the Hawks took because of it.
Dishonourable Mention: Shaw/Bickell
Quennville may need to chat with those guys post-game. Holy smokes, a couple of really terrible penalties when their team needed them most (does their team need them? I don’t know the Hawks well, I can’t tell if these guys are as big of goons as they play when they’re getting their asses handed to them) and that helped seal it up for Detroit.
2 days off before another at the Joe because whoever schedules Playoff Hockey doesn't know how Playoff Hockey work. Octopi Hockeytown y'all. LGRW.