It's been a frustrating week for Detroit fans, losing both game three and four over in Nashville - in fact, I didn't even make a game post for Wednesday's game because about all I could have mustered up after watching it would have been the google image search results for "margarita". And the frustration doesn't let up. While the Wings won 2-1 yesterday in overtime, moving them back up to 3-2 in the series, the game made you swear far more than cheer.
At the beginning of the series, one of the big questions was whether or not the inexperienced netminder Dan Ellis would be able to steal some games for Nashville - and last night he very nearly did. Ellis stopped 53 shots over the course of the evening, some of them absolutely painful for Wings fans to watch. Dan Cleary has at least two brilliant opportunities quashed by the kid. The Predators didn't look amazing but, with an effort like that at their back end, they looked good enough. Even with Chris Osgood, who got the nod tonight, playing well, the whole rest of the game after Valterri Filppula's first period goal had every Wings fan sitting on the edge of their seat just waiting for Nashville to seize on one tiny opportunity and tie it up - and they did, at 19:16 in the third period.
The disappointment was evident everywhere - Ken Daniels' voice as he made the call, Henrik Zetterberg's third intermission interview, my whiny IMs to Elly - but the Wings didn't let up. It would have been easy to let that devastation affect their play negatively, heading into overtime, but instead the team play hard (for the whole minute and some that OT lasted). Valtteri Filppula, who had an extremely strong game, broke up a Nashville play that resulted in the puck being coughed up to Niklas Kronwall, who in term passed it forward to Johan Franzen, the Wings Mr. Clutch, who scored on the breakaway to end the game.
The Detroit Free Press ran an article that included quotes from Kronwall on the goal:
Personally, I can say that Kronwall wasn't alone in thinking "please, please, please," as Franzen swept the puck up - by that point it felt like every Red Wing and every fan was thinking the same exact thing. The team celebrated after that goal like they'd just won the series - and I can see why. 54 shots on net, at home, and with the Predators missing both Jason Arnott and David Legwand, and we lose? That would be a huge blow to recover from, and everyone knew it. Luckily we won't have to - but we will have to play this next game tough, get more pucks in the net, and figure out a way to solve Dan Ellis. The frustration refuses to let up - how sick are we all of watching this Nashville team? Here's to hoping it only lasts for one more game.
“Dumont tried to put it out to their D-man and it ended up right on my blade, almost,” Kronwall said. “I just saw Mule in the corner of my eye and tried to give it to him. It wasn’t really a good pass, he was just able to handle it really well and he came in and scored.
“I was just like, please, please, please. We deserved to win. We played really well and just stuck with our game plan the whole time. There was never a time when we sat back and relaxed. We kept plugging away.”
No more Octopi?
Meanwhile, in yet another frustrating move for Wings fans, the NHL as decided to ban the twirling of octopi before games - by Al Sobotka or anyone else, for that matter. From now on, because matter "flies off the octopus and gets on the ice," it will now cost the team a $10,000 fee if anyone but the linesmen dispose of the octopi. Personally I really hope this gets completely disregarded and the tradition continues regardless of the extra fees - it's a huge shame to see something steeped in as much history (Al Sobotka has been twirling octopi throughout 17 years with the Wings, but the actual tradition goes back 56) put down for such a silly reason. Chris Osgood doesn't approve either:
“Certain teams and certain traditions, they should just leave them alone,” the Wings’ Chris Osgood said. “It’s a shame. It’s great for the atmosphere, and the fans love it. The league should ask the fans first before they do anything. That’s who pays to get into the rink and see the game.”Christy Hammond has collected varying blogger opinions on the matter here, and everyone seems to agree that it's stupid, a shame, an outrage, what have you - me too.