Some notes on the game:
… I thought the Wings looked shaky from the start. The Swedes had a so-so first shift, but didn’t get much done and more time was spent in the Detroit end. It took less than two minutes for the Wings to go on the penalty kill and the Ducks looked good until they took a penalty themselves. With the team skating four a side, the Ducks again mostly controlled play, though the Wings had a couple chances.
… The Ducks’ first goal came soon after the Wings went on the power play. Pavel Datsyuk lost a faceoff to Sammy Pahlsson and Chris Pronger sent a blast that went in off Rob Niedermeyer out front. No chance for Hasek, but it was the last thing the Wings needed.
… An interesting thing happenednot long after the goal: Kris Draper tripped up Scott Niedermeyer as he headed into the Wings’ zone on a rush and the official raised his arm to call a penalty. The play stopped almost immediately and the officials conferred. No penalty was assessed because it was ruled that Niedemeyer had been off-sides when he was tripped up. Nice to see them get the call right.
… Around this time, Penner, Perry, and Getzlaf began to really present a problem for the Wings, especially since Carlyle was able to put them out against Lang, Bertuzzi and Cleary, easily the Wings’ least defensively responsible line (Cleary excepted). They were able to cycle the puck almost at will and were very rough about it. It was all the Wings could do to clear it when those guys were out there.
… Brad May took a run at Tomas Kopecky in the Detroit end, but Tomas just shook it off and popped right back up.
… Gradually, over the course of the period, the Wings began to get on their feet and the game began to settle down. The Ducks still controlled the majority of the play, but the Wings’ defensive stands weren’t Chinese fire drills any more.
… The first stage of the Wings’ first full power play was pretty solid, but then the Ducks cleared it and Detroit couldn’t set up again.
… Joe Motzko, coming out of the box, had a nice chance on Hasek, who was forced to make two strong saves.
… Early in the second period, the Wings had another power play and came very close to scoring, but Beauchemin saved a goal on a Zetterberg shot. The rest of the power play was passable.
… The Ducks iced the puck at 3:36 with their fourth line out. So, Babcock sent out Datsyuk, Holmstrom and Zetterberg. After Pavel won the faceoff, Hank sent the puck off the post. So close.
… Hasek made a great save on Perry off a fast Ducks break at 5:09. After that, play was back and forth, but I’d say the Ducks had the better chances, including one where Huskins deked in and forced Hasek to make a save off a backhand shot.
… Just as the Wings were starting to fall back on their heels again, Holmstrom drew a penalty. A great chance to tie it up, right? Yes. But they couldn’t get past the Ducks’ penalty killers and barely got set up at all in the whole two minutes.
… The Ducks scored their second goal at 9:52 of the second period. Perry was able to knock it in over a prone Hasek after a Beauchemin shot. The initial save was a good one, but Hasek was playing so aggressively that he was about a mile out of the crease and when he didn’t control the rebound, it was easy for Perry to score. Good to see Dom being proactive, but the results there weren’t so hot.
… Kyle Quincey nearly scored on a tip-in off a Samuelsson pass not long after the Ducks goal. He had a great game.
… After some strong Detroit pressure, the Ducks cleared the puck out of the rink, but the officials ruled it a deflection. Danny Markov tried to argue the call and was denied. A Ducks fan gave him some flak about it so Danny punched the glass in front of the fan. He was fortunate he wasn’t penalized, but I was glad to see him show some anger. He looked great for the remainder of the game, playing with an edge.
… The Ducks shot the puck off the crossbar late in the period and there was some question as to whether or not it had actually gone in the net. Very close.
… Right after that, the Wings took a stupid bench minor penalty. And the Ducks scored. Very quickly. There was a shot, a flurry, and a goalie doing snow angels. And an easy goal for Getzlaf. 3-0.
… After that, the period wound down. The fans were all over Hasek.
… The third period was a completely different ballgame. The Ducks iced the puck three times in the first few minutes, twice with the same unit on the ice. The Wings took advantage of this and put up some strong pressure. The Ducks got a break when Todd Marchant took a stick to the face and got to go off after an icing. A fresh Pahlsson came out and won the faceoff, alleviating the pressure.
… Just after Mikael Samuelsson sent the puck wide, the Wings scored their first goal (finally!). The puck came around to the point, and Chris Chelios threw it out front. Henrik Zetterberg redirected it past Giguere. Hope returned.
… Play was end-to-end for a while. And then the Ducks scored again. Pavel Datsyuk tried going 1-on-3, turned the puck over and the Ducks took it the other way. Moen took the initial shot, Niedermeyer missed the rebound, and Pahlsson put it in the net. Hasek was, again, on his back. Hope was dampened.
… The Ducks took a penalty at 9:44 and at 10:08 the Wings put the puck in the net again. Lidstrom took the shot and Datsyuk tipped it in. Hope was back.
… Right after the goal, Hasek turned the puck over behind the net and the Ducks nearly scored again.
… Giguere made a great save on Franzen on what should have been a goal.
… Just as the Wings were really putting the screws to the Ducks, Getzlaf took a penalty. And the Wings scored again. It was a beautiful setup, Zetterberg to Datsyuk: slam dunk. 4-3. 3:04 left.
… Right after the goal, the Ducks took another penalty. Datsyuk and Holmstrom both nearly scored, but even with Hasek on the bench and a sixth man out there, the Wings couldn’t find the back of the net. The game wound down and the Wings’ season ended.
… It was a pretty evenly matched series, but one I thought the Wings should have won. They let a couple games get away from them and then, when they really needed a win, they weren’t able to muster the required effort until it was too late. I think travel and fatigue played an enormous role in the end, so it’s not something to be surprised about, I guess. Losing two of their top defensemen to injury did not help, either. There’s much more to say about this, obviously, but this isn’t the place for it. Maybe sometime this later this week.
The Wings had a great, great season. They went farther than most people outside of Hockeytown, and some in it, thought they would and that is something to be excited about. This is a good team we have here, folks, and I think they’ll be right back there next year. I’m looking forward to it.
It’s going to be a shorter summer. I can’t wait for October.
… Lastly, I just want to thank all of you who read this blog and provide feedback. You guys are awesome and made running this site a lot of fun. Thanks for your support!