20 April 2008

Done and Done (Wings 3, Preds 0)

WINGS WIN SERIES 4-2

A familiar finish to a first round matchup, at least for Wings fans. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, this season's routing came with 100% less goalie freakouts that all but sealed the belief that the Wings would be taking game 6. It was a harder fought series than some expected, but in the end the Wings persevered the way we believed they would. Quick observations on the game:
  • The first few minutes were frightening - the Predators were playing hard, harder than we thought this team might be capable of. The sheer amount of time the puck spent bobbling around in front of Chris Osgood had me cringing. Kudos to them for being able to instill that sort of fear in Wings fans everywhere - but unfortunately they couldn't keep up the pace.
  • Speaking of Osgood, the longer this game went on the better he looked - Dominik Hasek didn't have a horrendous season or anything, but Babcock's decision to play Ozzie after Hasek dropped two games straight is looking pretty damn good right now. He's only gotten to play in two games, so these are obviously skewed some, but his stats? .981 SV% and a .39 GAA.
  • Not to sell the opposition short, Dan Ellis was playing well again - the fact that he came into these playoffs inexperienced and played as strongly as he did should give Predators fans a lot of heart for the coming years. He nearly singlehandedly kept them alive through some parts of this series and as much as we said he was no Kipper, no Roloson even, to steal away this series, he did his damnedest to prove us wrong.
  • Darren McCarty is having an amazing year. The fact that he got the opportunity to come back the way he did was one thing, the fact that he could perform well in the IHL was a given, in the AHL was a happy surprise, but seeing him back with the Wings scoring goals and playing the body like he did on those two defensemen that allowed for Jiri Hudler's third period goal is far beyond what anyone expected. Not only has he turned into the feel good story of the year, but he's gone from capable of playing at this level to a serious asset. We owe some serious thanks to Kris Draper for salvaging his career.
  • Niklas Kronwall is excellent. No seriously, how well has he been playing lately? Someone needs to build him a little bubble so he can stay healthy all season because he is a serious force. I love him paired up with Connie's Brad Stuart, too. While our defense terrified me a little at the start of this game, guys like these make me worry less for the future.
  • Nick Lidstrom's game winning goal was awesome. I mean, okay, it was a little ridiculous, yes. But it was awesome. When they interviewed him afterward he made it sound like he was trying to get that bounce in there and I for one hope he was - making the fact that it succeeded even more awesome. Not that I want it to be somewhat flukey goals like that to be what move us through the playoffs, but you have to admit, things like that are fun. And in this series we needed a little fun.
While this series frustrated me to no end at times, and while I have never been so sick of looking at Nashville's blue and puke yellow, it wasn't all horrible either. Maybe it's just because we generally only see Nashville during the regular season and, let's face it, just because we're the Red Wings doesn't mean any other team in our division is going to get all hyped up to see us 8 times a season any more than we are them. It was really great to see all the fans in Nashville give their them the support they did - maybe we write them off a little too quickly as a hick team that's just waiting to be moved to a hockey market that cares. The fans in this series were screaming, yelling, throwing catfish (which, still, ew - even if that makes me a hypocrite), and the city itself seriously got into it as well - throwing a viewing party at the Sommet Center where fans could watch the game on the jumbotron? Now that's cool (Becky, I'm totally jealous). So overall, good on you guys, Preds fans, for showing you are in fact a respectable bunch - consider me enlightened.

But of course, I'm still happy you lost! At any rate, thanks boys, for staying strong through the first round - now let's make it through the second. Dates aren't announced yet for the round two but rest assured we'll be ready for you, Colorado or Calgary.

16 comments:

Kirsten said...

Did Lebda play yet? I don't want to have to find another squee on the Red Wings, but if I do, do you have any suggestions for me?

Steph said...

He did play in the last two games, and as he hasn't made any glaring Lilja-type mistakes so I wouldn't doubt his continuing to play, depending on who we face next. (Generally, he's much quicker but small, so he gets a little abused, and Lilja's larger and hits more but turns pucks over...so it's kind of a toss up who goes out there any given night.)

CKim said...

Dan Ellis WAS the Predators. He was ridiculous in those games. 54!!!

I'm really interested to see what's gonna happen with Osgood and Hasek...

Yay for Kronwall and B-STU!!! (the link for me is broken) <3!!

Steph said...

Seriously! I'd hate to see how some of those games would have turned out if he'd been even a little less totally on his game. I'm curious too, but it looks like we'll be going with Osgood for now. Hasek hasn't thrown any hissy fits about it yet, but we'll see, I suppose.

The more I see that pairing the more I really want B-Stu to stay put in Detroit. I wonder if he will...

And I fixed the link!

CKim said...

I'm glad Hasek hasn't stated any negative comments about going with Osgood. And it's not like he WASN'T a part of their stay at the top; he was one half of that!

Whenever there was a sweet hit thrown, more often than not, it'd be B-Stu! Muhahaha! Ahh, good times.

CKim said...

P.S. Who was Kronwall paired with before?

k.m.stiles said...

Your boys had me worried, but thank goodness they prevailed!!

Steph said...

Well, Babcock announced today that they're going with Osgood in round 2 - I'm sort of surprised we haven't heard more out of Hasek too, but he actually sounded like he was admitting he played badly the other day. Perhaps he's mellowing with age?

I'm not positive on who Kronwall was paired with most before, but I believe it was generally Lilja - Lidstrom and Rafalski have been the top pair all season long, and Lebda used to play with Chelios most of the time, so they would be the two guys left.

Kms2, I was scared too! Thank god!

Kirsten said...

I forgot about Lilja...he's pretty hot, but I've noticed that he tends to make a lot of stupid mistakes.

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Don't hug spam. Spam is for consumption.

Kirsten said...

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CKim said...

That's HILARIOUS. Do they have statues made out of spam?

Kirsten said...

No, they don't, but every year there are butter sculptures at the State Fair. Yay Midwest!

Steph said...

Connie and I agree that butter sculptures...sound really disgusting.

Kirsten said...

It's a State Fair tradition, and no one argues with the Great Minnesota Get Together.