The Preds are out, but Detroit has not heard the fat lady sing.

Everyone was expecting the Wings to come out strong tonight, but I sure as hell didn't expect this lopsided of a match. Niemi was forced to make 43 saves on the night and almost kept the Wings to goose eggs until late in the 3rd. On the flip side of the rink, Howard only needed 24 saves to help his team fight back from the 3-0 deficit in the series and force a game 7. 

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Detroit stormed out of the gate and played their game as smoothly as I have seen in a while, but hey, Im a Hawk's fan so I really don't watch that much Detroit hockey. I kept waiting for SJ to get their game together, but that ship never sailed, Detroit had a choke-hold on their offense tonight. Two games in a row with the other team dominant in each one, but is the Wings who are singing sweet victory in both. Winning the one they should have and the one they shouldn't have. Things are clicking for them.
When SJ found the back of the net first in the 3rd period I thought that maybe the tide had turned on Detroit for getting away with a victory the other night, but the Wings stayed the path and played their game which eventually caused 2 unanswered goals and finally an empty netter to make it 3-1. For the second time this playoffs, a team has battled back from a 3-0 deficit to force game 7, A fact that no reader is not aware of on this blog. There really is not much to say due to the lack of energy displayed by the Sharks who I think were still upset about game 5's loss. Detroit dominated and presented support upon support. It was as if they played the entire game on the power-play.
Game 7 is sure to be fun.
And in other news, the President Trophy winners are going to the Conference finals. I had a thing or two to say, but I really can't do it any better than Vegas and Fourfeather did in the comments from last post, so incase you missed it, here it is:
Vegas:

LIke I said before, I go back and forth on the idea that you can ass kick your way through a trap team. My doubts tend to come from the thinking that if a team is committed to a trap system, the D is going to get used to getting hit and they are probably going to have more resolve to outlast it then a team is going to have keeping it up for a full game. Part of where I think the Hawks keep failing is in the willingness to play a tight choking game for sixty minutes and have the patience to wait for the trappers to make a mistake.

Watching the game tonight where the Nucks finally put the Preds away, I came away with this outlook: Vancouver is a trap team at heart. When they have a lead, even just one goal, they are content to chip out over and over and have the patience to play choke and wait for an opportunity to strike. This is of course when they aren't being arrogant assholes who believe they should just advance to the finals because they won the President's trophy. In the last few games, I believe Vancouver scored most of their goals on the Preds mistakes. Whether it was Rinne staying square to the puck while being oblivious to drifting out of his crease of whether it was a matter of blow defensive coverage that left a guy wide open in front with tons of room to shoot, the Nucks stayed patient and were there to cash in.

For Nashville, a good a trap team is there is, they seem to struggle when other teams turn the table and press the forecheck on them just as hard. Traps make up for skill it seems, but only if the skilled team does not want to work and play the game that is being presented to them. The Nucks, despite being total bitches, understand and can play the trap as can Detroit when they are having a night when they feel young. I might be off base on this, but I think this is one big thing, amongst several, that the Hawks need to change next year. They need to be a lot more patient when the game is a grind.


Fourfeather:

How ironic that the GWG is scored on the PP for diving. Ironic because the canucks are the worst offenders yet they escaped this series unscathed and one might argue that they won two games in Nashville on penalties that should have gone the other way.

Vegas, your points are bang on, and I have nothing to add to them. The canucks were a sure fire cure for insomnia just three years ago because of their trapping style of play, and I think Vigneault got orders from the new ownership and management team to open it up a bit, or take a flyer.

As for the 'hawks, I still remember the four game winning streak before Christmas when Kane and Hoss were out of the line-up, how they buckled down and played good defensive hockey. I think they can do it, but it is not in the mindset of the players--and after watching this series who can blame them--to dedicate themselves to that style of play. Q is not inclined to coach a trap either. You're right Vegas, run and gun does not breed patience. I hate to see exciting players being smothered in this style of play and I think the Caps paid a price for that this year. I hope the 'hawks continue to play the way they play.


Last but not least, Tampa and Boston are set to square off on Saturday for game 1. This has the makings of another intense series. Most people in my region of friendship are picking Tampa, but I have a feeling that Boston is too much to handle for them. Your thoughts:

Comments

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  • I think Boston has enough skill AND patience to beat TB. After blowing it last year in the most epic of fails, I think they learned the lesson Vancouver and San Jose are learning this year. (and frankly that the Hawks learned the year before from Detroit). I tend to expect Boston to look rusty in the first game, and possibly lose it. There is no doubt TB is good at what they do, but at the risk of sounding stupid, I think they have a bit of "lightening in a bottle" syndrome. Bad pun intended I guess.

    As for Detroit, you simply cannot knock the skill and experience of the veterans on that team. They know what it takes to win and they are never more dangerous then the third period. They dont trap, but they play so good defensively that they shut you down and simply wait for mistakes to happen. And they always do happen. And at the risk of again sounding stupid, I still believe the way you beat them is by establishing a track meet. Make Franzen and the other crease opportunists keep dragging their big asses up and down the ice. Finish your checks, not punishing Kornhole hits, just keep finishing them and force guys to have to skate hard to get back up ice.

    Detroit is, in my opinion, the best team in the league at setting picks and disrupting defensive zone coverage and at some point, you simply have to be better at switching assignments they they are at picking but it's not impossible and actually I think the Sharks have gotten good at it against the Wings. Still, if you let the Wings control the pace, they control you. I still think the Sharks pull this out. That's my .02

  • It was only a few years ago that he Wings used to finesse the puck in the offensive zone making the defending team stand still and watch their speed and puck movement, last night the Wings ragged the puck with deceptive slowness in the offensive zone making the Sharks run around like a "Chinese fire drill."

    Although the Sharks were out of whack, the Wings 1st 2 lines looked sluggish and indecisive. The most telling moment for me was when Cleary clanked it off the post instead of finishing on his breakaway. Just not enough wherewithal for the playoffs.

    The Wings need to infuse some yoot and the Sharks need to play with confidence and not rely on Jumbo. In my opinion Thornton is another over rated player that is finally playing to his potential but after his prime. Once again, my opinion. Clearly not the hockey media's.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    I completely agree Jerry, and I share your views on Thornton as well.
    I should have specified when I said "outplayed," or "dominated." The Wings won almost every puck battle and controlled the vast majority of puck possession as a result, but did have issues finishing or even making the right passes. Niemi was big, but Detroit helped that to a point. Much like we have seen with the Hawks, inability to finish and control plays that are gaining momentum almost spelled disaster for the Wings. I saw more issues with SJ than I saw victories for the guys in red.

    My mind is boggled by how badly the Sharks performed and equally so on how Cleary missed that goal.
    Datsuyk had some boss plays though, and Z-berg had a few great shifts too.

    BTW, I love your new avatar!

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Well, guys, after some not-so-careful thought, I think I favor Boston to come out of the EC. The Bolts are deadly on the PP and the Bruins are just plain bad with the man advantage. If Boston can survive their PKs they should prevail 5 on 5. I look for a bruising series. I dunno, Vegas, the Bolts are a patient team as well. We could see several multi-overtime games in this series.

    I was so disappointed in the Sharks last night and Sunday for that matter. What's with that team. Up until the last two games I thought they would present the toughest challenge to the Canucks. Now, I'm thinking Detroit might be better. In fairness thought, the loss of Clowe is huge for the Sharks and McLellan was forced to juggle his lines. Still they were flat as the Saskatchewan prairies last night. You wonder if they have learned their lessons well. I can only imagine the fall-out if they lose tomorrow. Doug Wilson has had so many kicks at the can.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Although I still see Sharp's OT shot hitting Lou and not finding the upper twine in my nightmares, it has been fun watching playoff hockey without pacing in front of the TV and taking extra BP medicine. Should be a fun game tonight, I think the Sharks will find a way, much like the Nucks did, but it may go extra time. I would love to see Niemi get the best of Lou and the bitches again. Sharks/Bolts final? NBC/Versus would love that!

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    The fat lady has sung; Wings join Hawks on the golf course. I didn't get to see the whole game yet, but the Sharks were looking real good in the first. Edzo telestrated early how the Sharks constantly had a guy in front of the net and if they do this to Vancouver, I believe they will win that series.

    What fascinates me about the WCF this year is that one team will walk away STILL being considered the team that chokes in the playoffs. Sharks have been here before and I do think their experience is going to help. Sharks in six.

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