Monday, May 14, 2007

Anaheim Ducks Defeat the Detroit Red Wings in Game Two

Just as I was saying that it seemed like the Anaheim Ducks had kept the puck in the Detroit Red Wings zone for pretty much all of overtime, the game was over, the Ducks had scored, won Game Two of the Western Conference Finals 4-3, tying the series at one game each as the series shifts to Anaheim. It's a weird feeling actually, the Red Wings played better in Game Two then they did in Game One, but they lost instead of won. They just never seemed to get anything going in overtime, and despite a few scoring chances, the Ducks had more, and they took advantage of their opportunities and won. Some Wings fans may be upset with the officiating, especially after the controversial third Duck goal, but the Ducks won the game, and based on how they played in the two goals total, they were the better team for the majority of both of those games. And that has to be a scary thought with the next two games in Anaheim.

[And now back to your regularly scheduled game recap, written before overtime began] Despite winning Game One, the Detroit Red Wings were outplayed by the Anaheim Ducks for most of the first game of the series, and were the beneficiaries of a few lucky bounces for both of their goals, including the game winner. But, you know what they say, those who work hard make their own luck and often seem to have the breaks go their way, an it certainly did for the Red Wings in the first game. In the first period of Game Two, it seemed like a repeat of Game One. The Ducks were the more physical, alive team, and the Red Wings were being outplayed. If not for Dominik Hasek, the Wings would have been down 2, 3 goals at the end of the first period, at least.

As it was, the Wings were down 1-0 as the first period closed, and for the first dew minutes of the second period, the Wings still lacked a jump in their step, and it looked as if it were only a matter of time before Anaheim scored again. Then, like they flipped a switch, the Detroit Red Wings woke up the second half of the second period. First, Kirk Maltby scored on a short-handed goal, and after that, it seemed like the Wings had the momentum back on their side.

The Ducks, though, would not go away quietly, and later scored, taking back the 2-1 lead, on a wicked shot by Andy McDonald, his fifth goal of the year. It was not even clear the puck had gone in the net, but after a review, and a look at a bouncing water bottle on top of the net, it was clear the Ducks had scored, and retaken the lead.

But, as I said, the Red Wings had awoken in the middle part of the second period, and they seemed to be a different team after Maltby scored their first goal of the game. They had a spring in their step which was missing in the first four and a half periods of the series, and even though the Wings were leading the series 1-0, I spent much of the game worried about the series. But when Nick Lidstrom scored with just under four minutes to play in the second period to retie the game, it calmed my nerves a bit.

The Wings started the third period with a 5-3 advantage after two Duck penalties to end the second period, and they took advantage as the third period began, with Pavel Datsuyk scoring his sixth goal of the playoffs. Datsuyk, who came into the post-season with a target on his back after struggling in the post-season early in his career and signing a big contract extension before the playoffs begin, has been worth every penny for the Red Wings, and his goal to give the Wings 3-2 lead was a thing of beauty.

The Ducks though,on another reviewed goal, once again tied the game, and it was a controversial goal. The puck was caught in Hasek's pads and it wasn't clear when the whistle blew (perhaps before the puck crossed the goal-line) and whether Hasek was pushed into the net or not. The review though called it a goal and the last 10 minutes or so the of third period was very much like an overtime game. Both teams were being very careful, and while the Ducks had a few chances to take the lead, Hasek came up big again as he has all playoffs long. Then overtime started, and we know the rest. Sadly.

And with the Tigers getting blown out by Minnesota and the Pistons losing as well, it was not a good Mothers Day in Michigan in 2007. Which of course, reminds me, to wish a very happy Mothers day to my mom, Grandmother, and Great Grandmothers and to everyone else out there in the blogosphere celebrating Mothers Day today.

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