12 March 2008

This is more like it! (Wings 3, Blackhawks 1)

The Blackhawks have inexplicably posed problems for the Red Wings all season long, but yesterday the Wings managed to conquer what was, despite the outcome and the not spectacular play of the Hawks, a sort of tense game as the Wings never managed to really get a strong lead.

Before the game started, it was reported that Dan Cleary signed a five year contract extension that will earn him $14 million in total, 2.8 million per year. This is great for the Red Wings, who have begun to really rely on Cleary's gritty, determined play. It isn't all that often that you find a player both offensively talented and as hard working as Cleary, so locking him up long-term is a strong move.

In the wake of this news, it was awesome to see the Wings go on to win their fourth game straight. Kirk Maltby scored early on to put the Wings up 1-0, but Rene Bourque tied it up soon afterward on a bit of a misplay by the Wings defensemen.

There was a dicey moment when Robert Lang had a bit of a breakaway and Brad Stuart hauled him down, resulting in a penalty shot. Fortunately, the former Wing shot the puck right into Chris Osgood's leg pad. Osgood continued to look strong for the rest of the night, making 19 saves on 20 shots, despite not having started the past four games.

Pavel Datsyuk scored the game winner, and Johan Franzen, who had a strong game even before his goal, the empty netter to result in the final 3-1 score. Mikael Samuelsson also had a good looking game, ringing one off the post and then spearing James Wisniewski, who retaliated with a crosscheck to Samuelsson's face which has earned him a one game suspension without pay.

The Hawks didn't look awesome but they somehow managed to keep the puck out of the net often enough - I was surprised at how strong goalie call up Corey Crawford looked, for someone I'd never even heard of. And yet, their struggle for a playoff spot continues, as the Wings took this game away from them.

Other notes!

  • Toward the end of the game Jiri Hudler and Patrick Kane looked to be trying to start something - one of the commentators remarked that for once Hudler was picking on someone his own size, which made me laugh. Not so often you hear that when "his own size" means "tiny".
  • The game was Dallas Drake's 1000th, and the Wings made a mention of this during the game. They showed his family in the crowd on the jumbotron and then switched the Drake, who was smiling on the bench at seeing his family - how cute. Afterward they took a team picture to commemorate the evening - I love Henrik Zetterberg draping himself all over his Eurotwin partner Datsyuk, but where is Nick Lidstrom looking?
  • Tonight at the Joe they were handing out these posters of the current 8 Swedish players on the roster (Jon Ericsson was included) - the promotion was dubbed "IKEA Night" and the Swedish mega furniture store even sponsored it. UM. AWESOME.
  • I've often said I LOVE the Joe's music guys and their abilities to match songs to the moment, but yesterday night was absolutely spectacular. In quick succession (seriously a time span of about five minutes) they played both Alice Cooper's "Eighteen (And I Like it)" and the Beatles' "Let it Be" after Kirk Maltby's goal, "Hooked on a Feeling" when Niklas Hjalmarsson hooked Zetterberg, and "Ice, Ice Baby" as the officials took care of some problems with the ice surface. Congrats, guys, you are awesome.
The Wings sit now at 98 points on the season, 9 ahead of second place Dallas, whom they'll face on Thursday. Here's to five!


elise said...

Kane is so little (yet spectacular). He and Toews had a $100 bet going for who would get in the first NHL fight.

Kirsten said...

That picture is entertaining. What IS Lidstrom looking at. Do we want to know?

Steph said...

Elise: And tiny Sam Gagner beat them both!

Kirsten: I have NO idea...but I'm certainly curious.

CKim said...

Chelios looks silly in those pants whilst standing in that manner.

Tracy said...

Ok, all Red Wing-isity aside, I HAVE to have one of those posters. I will so totally love you for the rest of my friggin' life if you can find me one somewhere in the abyss.

Bethany said...

Ugh, it's on today sister.

Kirsten said...

I love Tiny Sam Gagner.

Steph said...

Connie: It actually took me a couple minutes to FIND Chelios, because he looks so ridiculous.

Tracy: My dad was in a suite for the game and I think he nabbed a couple - next time I'm home if we've got extras I'll send one your way!

Bethany: Ew, I'm glad Hasek scored the winning goal ON HIMSELF. Sigh.

Kirsten: Meeee too.

CKim said...

How could you miss Chelios?!?! He's so blatantly..there! haha But..I WILL say that I was looking for others because I didn't want to admit that I wanted to find B-Stu right away. Even though I spotted him in about 2.5 seconds with his hair. =P

Steph said...

Haha I really don't know! It was only later when I was trying to pick everyone out individually that I realized there he was...looking ridiculous. (And I'm really starting to like your Stuart, by the way! I hope we can keep him.)

CKim said...

When I saw it, I basically went: *scan scan scan* HAIR (B-Stu) *scan scan* ridiculous looking in pants (Cheli).

Aww, I want him back, but I also want to keep Ellis!

Steph said...

I've started picking out Stuart by his hair too - it's cute, and helping him grow on me. I hear you guys have been very nice to Ellis over there, too.

CKim said...

Yeah, KMS and I have secret crushes on him. We HAVE been treating Ellis well. He's been tearing it up on the PK, although it sucks when he takes a penalty cuz...he can't kill his own penalty!! But I see that he's signed for next year, so that's a roster spot I don't have to worry about. =)

But don't you have enough Dmen where you wouldn't miss B-Stu (barring they don't go out with injuries all at the same time again)??

Steph said...

Good...maybe I will even go to a Kings game next year so I can see him :)

Well yes........but that would mean we'd have to trust either Lilja or Lebda to play constant solid defense. And not suck. Don't ask questions like that! You just want him back!

CKim said...

maybe I will even go to a Kings game next year so I can see him

Did you mean go to one at the Joe or to Staples?!?! Cuz that'd be sick!

I thought Lebda was decent... or is that the problem? That he's just... okay. Cuz I have Dmen that are just "okay" also and I'd rather they just leave.

You just want him back!

Nooo..... maybe... yea.... =)

Steph said...

Well the Joe would be way more likely...but I would LOVE to come see a game out there. I'll have to get rich first. Maybe I'll get this internship and the CCHA will send me out for research purposes. No? Wishful thinking? I figured as much.

Lebda isn't terrible...but he's not great either. He's fine as half of our third pairing, but when we had Dmen down all over the place and he and Lilja were like our number one pair? Um, terrifying.

Well you can't have him! At least...not yet. (I want him to stayyyy!)

CKim said...

Staples Center is pretty bomb, as is the area in which I dwell. You should check it out if every you win the lottery!! (I just typed in "loottery," but hey, it's the same thing, right?)

I guess I just assumed that all Red Wings players were phenomenal... I remember hearing Lilja's name lots a long time ago; has he not panned out?

Well you can keep B-Stu for the playoffs! =D

Steph said...

Lilja has his moments of brilliance, and his moments of costing us that last game against the Ducks last season. Overall he's usually solid enough, but scary to have to rely on in your top four.

And good! We'll keep treating him well so he wants to stay! :D

CKim said...

Look what I found today!! B-Stu

Guess you won't have to worry about Lilja. =P