The Red Wings won last night to go up 2-0 in the series against the Stars. Since one of Dallas' main accomplishments thus far was two quick road wins in enemy territory, being able to stymie them so far this has to give the Wings a pretty good feeling about the series.
Then again the Stars came out much harder last night than Thursday. They controlled the puck better, they looked more dangerous, more alert, even their supposed deadly powerplay connected to give them the one goal (a Stephane Robidas slapshot) they would earn for the evening. Not to mention the Wings were out Johan Franzen, a huge blow given his playoff production so far (the man has 27 goals in 27 games - same as the Eurotwins combined). Defensively, the Wings looked very good, but as Matt noted, "I don’t think the Wings have fully hit their stride in this round." The good news is, they're still playing well enough to win, and we can add "yet" to that sentence and hope for the best.
Unfortunately for Stars, their improved play still wasn't enough. They scored a pp goal, but they went 1/6 on the evening and couldn't put anything together in the second, despite the Wings spending half the period in the box. It was apparent their frustration from the first game carried over into the second.
Tomas Holmstrom was great; he continued getting in their faces despite some abuse from Stars goalie Marty Turco (whose aggressive behavior, including a couple cheap shots on Holmstrom and Val Filppula, finally cost him, as he was called for slashing), and he got the entire team so wrapped up in his antics that oftentimes they let up spectacular scoring opportunities for the Wings, including the Henrik Zetterberg eventual gamewinner. Things like this are why Homer is such a huge asset to this team.
It doesn't help the Stars either that Chris Osgood is playing like a man possessed. At least twice I was absolutely convinced the Stars were going to tie the game, only to see the puck slide back down the ice on the stick of a Wing. So good, in fact, that when Mike Ribeiro slashed him two-handed across the chest from behind the net at the end of the game and he went down writhing in pain (which I will admit, now, was extremely silly looking and unnecessary on his part) every fan in the Joe went dead silent as I can only imagine visions of Dominik Hasek in net passed through their heads. And wouldn't you have?
Speaking of that hit, whether or not Osgood intentionally jabbed at him with the butt end of his stick, and I'm not saying he didn't as he certainly did hit it, that sort of intent to injure slash is never okay, and I hope the league is aware of this when meting out judgment.
But what's even more not okay? Throwing trash on the ice. Yeah, Wings fans, I know, you weren't happy - I wasn't either, but I kept my beer securely in my lap. There's absolutely no reason to be hurling towels, wrappers, hot dogs, half-drank cups of beer (especially this - those people sitting below you really don't deserve to get splattered), on the ice. The team doesn't appreciate it, the officials don't appreciate it, the management doesn't appreciate it, and it just makes you look like a jerk. It's completely unnecessary and totally tacky - way to show pride in our arena. Congratulations you guys, you just negated all that whining you did about Don Cherry calling us rednecks. I know this is a good series and I know it's getting all our emotions up, but that's no excuse. Please, guys, don't help make Detroit and its fans look as bad as people say it is - stay classy, guys.
Game 3 is Monday night in Dallas at 8:00 pm (who else loves our travel schedule these playoffs?) - GO WINGS! And of course, here are some Game 2 photos!