4/8 Notes

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

Filed under: Playoffs

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Comments

  1. Justin says:

    1 AM???

  2. Matt Saler says:

    Thanks Justin. Dumb typo… Must have been the thought of having to stay up past 1:00 AM to watch the away games.

  3. Justin says:

    OK I figured it was a typo but for a moment you had me confused there. It brought back memories of my vacation to Hawai'i last year during the playoffs where some games would start at 10 AM Hawai'i time. Which felt really weird when I'm so used to watching games at 7 PM during/after dinner.

    While I'm also wary of playing the Flames in the first round, they HAVE been struggling lately. After winning 6 in a row, they've lost 4 straight. Granted, the Wings haven't been hot lately either and most of the Flames' losses were meaningless games. They were beating the Oilers until the Avs' loss was announced, then it seemed like they stopped caring. Then tonight's game against the Avs was meaningless.

    I'm not quite sure what to make of this match-up. The season series is tied 2 apiece, and all wins have been home wins. I'm not really worried about their defense because with Sutter no longer the head coach, their D hasn't been noticeable this year. The Flames have fallen to 21st in the league in Shots Allowed this year, as opposed to 5th in '04 – the year they beat us in the second round. I'm not too worried about their offense either. I'm fairly confident our top ranked defense can handle their offense. The thing I'm worried about is Kiprusoff. He's the type of goalie who can get hot in the playoffs and seem unbeatable, which has been the Wings' kryptonite.

    We're REALLY going to need our offense to be good in the playoffs to keep the pressure off Hasek and the D. Especially Datsyuk, Lang and Bertuzzi. (Zetterberg's a given; he's a stud.) And hopefully Lidstrom will have another Conn Smythe-worthy performance again.

    I can see the Wings winning in 6 or 7 games. The sooner the better too, considering Hasek's age and frailty.

  4. Matt Saler says:

    Justin,

    Kiprusoff scares me as well, but I think the Wings are in a better position to crack him than they used to be. They have a few guys now who can score in close and get the garbage goals. Of course, we'll have to see, but I think we'll be set for goal scoring.

    Honestly, it's goaltending that I'm a little worried about. Dom hasn't been as impressive lately and I hope all he needs is to get warmed up. The defense should be able to handle the Flames pretty easily, but I think the series largely rests in Dom's hands. If he gives up a bad goal or two because of a mental mistake (like wandering or diving), the skaters would deflate. If he plays stellar hockey, the skaters will take care of the rest.

    This is where we find out whether or not it was a good idea to bring Dom back.

    So much depends on the first two games. If the Wings win both and go into Calgary with momentum, they should be able to win in 5. If they lose one or both of those games, they'll be in trouble going out to Alberta.

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