Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Winged Wheel keeps rolling

Western Conference final
(1
) Detroit v. (5) Dallas
Red Wings lead series 3-0
For all of that, the Stars couldn't find the formula to defeat what is turning into an unstoppable Detroit Red Wings juggernaut in these NHL playoffs. The Red Wings won their ninth consecutive playoff game, a 5-2 decision over the Stars and took a 3-0 stranglehold lead on their best-of-seven Western Conference final. The Red Wings can advance to their first Stanley Cup final in six years with a win in the fourth game tomorrow night.
Detroit has steamrolled Colorado and Dallas, outscoring their opposition 37-14 over a 9-0 run that has them one game from the finals. Finishing first in the conference has proven a huge advantage, as the Red Wings have had to beat the eighth, sixth and fifth seeds while coasting into Round 4.

Pretty impressive.

You know, I think the Red Wings could have easily won the Cup last season had injuries not derailed the defence so badly, and without a similar cataclysm, this seems like Detroit's year. It'll be interesting to see if the Flyers can beat up the Penguins and extend their series, or if we'll be into the finals quickly for a true grudge match between the oldest and youngest teams in the running this year.

The Wings have now outshot their opposition 36.9 to 23.5 per game, and Monday night was the first time in these playoffs they'd given up six power-play chances in a game. (They've averaged about 4.1 against, down from about 4.3 during the year.)

It's a combination that's proving very difficult to beat.
"They're causing us to do things we don't want to do," Brad Richards said. "That's what they're good at. … Sometimes, we're just not smart in situations. We tie it up twice and they go down to score and take the lead again. It's tough to do over and over again against a team like that."

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10 Comments:

At 9:53 AM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Hallock said...

Red Wings will have to hope this momentum stays with them.

 
At 10:02 AM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

@"Frequent Reader": And here I thought the name was Boy George, not Girl George. Silly me.

 
At 10:27 AM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Marchantfan said...

James, I was under the impression that the San Jose Sharks were the youngest team in the running, or in the league for that matter.

The nutty thing about Detroit is that they have few free agents of consequence--Drake, Chelios, Lilja, Hasek. It could be "their year" for a few more, too.

 
At 11:17 AM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Chemmy said...

I don't think the Sharks are technically in the running anymore.

 
At 11:30 AM, May 13, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Detroit has to lock up Zetterberg and Franzen after next season, though. And Cleary signed an extension this past year, so he gets a raise. They'll look at locking up a guy like Fipulla as well, I'm sure.

This isn't momentum. The Red Wings are playing a more highly evolved game than the rest of the league. I fully expect the Penguins' only chance is if Fleury steals at least 3 games (if that indeed is the SC matchup). The only way anyone has beat Detroit in recent years is with a goalie posting about a 96% save percentage, and this year, Detroit seems to be clicking better than ever (no one is really underachieving).

 
At 11:40 AM, May 13, 2008, Blogger Hallock said...

Sashkab,

I agree entirely, but if the Wings were able to continue their current pace into and through the Stanley Cup finals it would be unheard of.

I don't think they'll have a problem signing Zetterberg. Last year, he repeatedly stated if he could sign with Detroit for the rest of his career he would. I wouldn't be surprised if they signed him at a bit of a discount given that.

 
At 11:49 AM, May 13, 2008, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

I also enjoyed it that, for the second time in the three games in this series, Brad Winchester watched the end of the game from the penalty box. How appropriate.

 
At 12:21 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Ages of teams in the final eight

San Jose isn't all that young anymore.

 
At 1:25 PM, May 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think they'll have a problem signing Zetterberg. Last year, he repeatedly stated if he could sign with Detroit for the rest of his career he would. I wouldn't be surprised if they signed him at a bit of a discount given that.

Pavel Datsyuk is signed for something like $7.6 million a year, I think. Detroit might be looking as something in a similar range - and it would be well worth it.

 
At 10:39 PM, May 13, 2008, Blogger JoBu said...

Marchantfan said: "The nutty thing about Detroit is that they have few free agents of consequence--Drake, Chelios, Lilja, Hasek. It could be "their year" for a few more, too."

I'm going to go ahead and take all the credit for the Wings run this postseason. I've been emailing Kenny Holland with hate mail for the last 3 years detailing all the reasons why Lilja is one of the worst defenders to ever lace them up. He's like the love child of Uwe Krupp and Derian Hatcher, only dumber and slower. Now that Babcock finally sat him the Wings D has been technically stellar. Even with some of Brad Stuart's gaffes in the 1st round against Nashville the team has been much improved without Lilja in the lineup.

 

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