Friday, November 14, 2003

Gritty Win

This game definitely lived up to an Original Six matchup. As always, the United Center was filled with Wings fans, and I could hear them over the "home" crowd on several occassions. The Wings played pretty well, but more importantly, they were able to come back and win in OT on a 4 on 3 PP goal by Shanahan, after letting the Hawks back in it in the 3rd. The Wings were up 3-1 early in the third, on goals by Hull (PP), and Maltby (2: SH and even strength). At this point, it seemed as though the Wings were in control of the game with 8 minutes left. Then, the Hawks scored two quick goals as a result of rebounds off Hasek and poor defensive coverage near the net (Wooley, you need to cover the man AND his stick, so he can't shoot!!). The game was 3-3, and it seemed like the Hawks had all the momentum going into the inevitable OT. And then, with 10 seconds left in regulation, Brett McLean was caught for obstruction on Yzerman, a costly penalty for a young player. Sutter will surely be on his butt in tomorrow's practice. But after the game he called it a "borderline dive," and Shanahan and teammates' came to Yzerman's defense, basically saying that Steve Yzerman is not one to dive. This meant the Wings had a 4 on 3 PP in OT, and an important mini-intermission between the end of the 3rd and beginning of OT to make their plans for the game-winner. During the power play, Lidstrom and Shanahan passed the puck back and forth for what seemed like forever. They had a hard time finding openings, as they were pressing in on the net, almost between the circles. Finally, Nick decided to pass over to Datsyuk, who was just waiting in the left corner to make something happen. Luckily, he saw an opportunity to catch the Chicago defense shifting to cover the left side of the net, and quickly passed right to Nick, who tipped it to Shanny, who one timed-it with authority into the Hawk's net. This was a key win for the Wings, because not only did it extend their win-streak to three games, but it showed their guts to come in after giving up their two-goal lead, and get it done and win. Rather than giving up like they have in previous games after giving up the lead, they snapped out of it and executed. Lewis might not be totally pleased about the Wings' play though, but hopefully the Wings' can focus on defensive video in preparation for tomorrow night's game versus the Wild.


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