Update (6:30 PM): Via Alanah at Kukla’s, it looks like the Wings and Flames will kick off the postseason on Friday as Game 2 will be at 1:00 PM on Sunday on NBC. – Matt
Happy Easter, everyone. Just a few things before heading off to chu
… The Wings won their last game of the season last night, 7-2 over the Blackhawks. It was basically the dominating performance I’ve been hoping to see in these last games, as they skated circles around the Hawks until the third period, when they backed off a bit. As much as they controlled play, the Wings probably still wouldn’t have put up so many goals had Patrick Lalime allowed a bunch of stinkers. He had a bad game, and I think the fact that the Wings didn’t score in the third had as much to do with Nikolai Khabibulin coming in as their apparent decision to back off.
… Probably the best thing to come out of the game yesterday was the fact that both Mikael Samuelsson and Kyle Calder scored twice. For the Wings to succeed in the playoffs, they’re going to need guys like Sammy and Calder contributing, so hopefully their confidence and touch has returned. It was also good to see Tomas Holmstrom net his 30th.
… Kyle Quincey, in because Chris Chelios had the day off, continues to impress. I don’t remember seeing him make a bad defensive decision and he possesses the strength to handle most situations without much trouble. It looks like he has a good shot, too, as his first NHL goal was a boomer from the point. If he’s ranked behind Derek Meech and Jonathan Ericsson and still looks this solid, I’d say our defensive future is bright.
… The Wings’ playoff match up was decided last night when the Avs lost to Nashville. The first round opponent will be Calgary, a team the Wings tied in the season series 2-2.
I can’t say I’m thrilled about this matchup any more. A couple weeks ago, the Flames looked like they were floundering and seemed like a desirable team to play. Now, they’re scary, as Helene St. James outlines. As both Detroit wins came at JLA, the Wings’ home ice advantage could be key. It’ll be a tough series, that’s for sure, but maybe that’s what the Wings need. I do have a different feeling about this team, and I know they’re more capable of fighting for their lives than previous complacent Wings teams. They’re saying the right things, at least.
… Other Western Conference matchups:
Anaheim vs. Minnesota
Vancouver vs. Dallas
Nashville vs. San Jose