What did I tell you? Nothing you didn't already know in your Red hearts: The Detroit Red Wings can beat this team. Chicago is good, but not the invincible juggernaut some claim they are. Not by a long shot.
What you just witnessed was a scene from Rocky. I know Chief over at A2Y kind of has the market cornered on awesome Rocky references, but I need to steal this one. Before Rocky and Apollo fight for the first time, Apollo comes out clowning around as if his victory is assured. He got in some shots at Rocky and looked to be in complete control, but then Balboa absolutely drilled him and down went Apollo Creed. He got right back up, but the look of horror on his face said it all. He had asked for this. He had thought it would be easy, but he was in the ring with a guy that could hit him harder than he's ever been hit before.
Now what is Detroit going to do with this new life they’ve earned?
More after the jump:
This was probably the easiest game Howard has played all year. Chicago really didn’t have many great chances. Detroit played tough and kept Toews and the rest of the Hawks away from high percentage shooting areas.
Smith and Cleary combined their powers to cause Chicago’s only goal, but both made up for it the rest of the way. I like Smith when he pinches. I think he could be a little like Mike Green in that he’s practically a forward out there, but that means he’ll give up 2 on 1 chances. At the end of the day, he created more chances by pinching than he gave up.
Zetterberg is an amazing captain. He’s following the likes of Yzerman and Lidstrom, so we can’t say he’s the best we’ve had, but maybe one day with the way he plays. Smart and gritty. Tough to beat that and so far Toews has not.
Brunner is shaping up to be something of a Hawk-killer. Not sure if he’s still been credited with the first goal, but either way, he’s playing great and getting great chances.
Crawford has been exposed. His numbers are good, but those were from playing a bad Wild team that was slipping going into the playoffs. Wings have hit at least 4 post/crossbars over the two games and he’s giving up tons of rebounds.
NOHS Three Stars of the Game:
First Star: Henrik Zetterberg. 2 assists today and hard work on Toews from start to finish.
Second Star: Brendan Smith. Keep pinching and scoring GWGs.
Third Star: Jimmy Howard. Did he steal this game? No, he didn’t have to because the team played well. Still, only the one goal beat him.
Honorable Mentions: Filppula for reminding me of the 2008 finals. Franzen for the snipe. The ENTIRE “third” line for being awesome. Again.
Nice punch, Rocky, but Creed got up. Now what?
Game 3 is Monday night.