Sunday, February 15, 2004

Avs 5, Wings 2

In what was billed as a high-intensity match between two superpowers turned out to be a lackadaisical effort by the Wings, being outplayed for the second straight game against the Avs, losing 5-2. Manny got the start. The Wings, despite winning 3-2 in Overtime, were outplayed and outhustled in the February 5th game in Denver. The entire third period was the Avs attacking and the Wings back on their heels, dumping the puck. It took two high stick calls on the Avs for the Wings to win the game. And they wouldn't have won without them. The win in Denver was not very representative of play, because the Avs deserved to win that game after the Wings gave up a 2-0 lead and the Avs cooked us the second half of the game. I hate to say it, but that was a very lucky situation to have in Overtime, taking a 5-on-3 for 4 minutes against the Avs, even though Yzerman's chicklets had to meet Adam Foote's stick to make it possible. In the Saturday afternoon game in the Joe, it seemed like the fans were more than ready to go, but the Wings just looked mediocre compared to the Avs. In the first period, Steve Yzerman got a power play goal at 18:44, assisted by Brendan Shanahan and Nicklas Lidstrom. This was probably the best offensive play of the game for the Wings. Lidstrom fed Shanny, who was straddling the blue line to stay onside. He then had the patience to wait for his teammates to get in position, faked a shot on David Aebischer, and made a shot-pass to Yzerman, who was left wide open on the far side of the net. Yzerman took the puck and stuffed it in the wide-open net to make it 1-0 Wings. The powerplay came off of a bad obstruction penalty by Worrell, also known as the boxer on skates. Looking at the box score, one could conclude that Detroit had a great first period, having a 1-0 lead and 14-9 shot advantage. But such was not the case. The Avs really peppered Manny with shots. The Wings defense looked really bad, leaving guys like Milan Hejduk and Alex Tanguay with wide-open ice. It really took a solid period of goaltending from Manny Legace to keep the Wings in it. At 18:30, McCarty was hit in the head by a point shot from Lidstrom. It was a scary moment, as Mac fell to the ice and looked pretty dazed. But instant replay showed the puck bouncing off the brow of his helmet, just inches above skin. After seeing what happened to JR in Philly, this was definitely a close call for the Wings. Another scary play was Cheli getting hit in the side of his ankle by the puck. He limped off the ice, but returned later on. Hopefully he didn't suffer a hairline fracture like Rob Blake did, because he played on it for a couple games before noticing it. In the second period, Teemu Selanne got a power play goal assisted by Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg at 12:54. The play came off a Joe Sakic wrist shot, and Schneider desperately tried to keep the puck out of the net as he swiped at it with his stick, but it was too late. 1-1 tie. Then Jiri Fischer got a goal, assisted by Ray Whitney and Pavel Datsyuk at 17:04. It was a bang-bang play, with Datsyuk bringing the puck into the zone, leaving it along the boards for a trailing Whitney, who found Fischer in between the circles. Jiri got off a screened wrist shot, and beat Aebischer to make it 2-1 Wings. And the downfall of the Wings began. With less than 30 seconds left in the period, the Wings fell asleep and allowed a late goal by Karlis Skrastins, assisted by Steve Konowalchuk, at 19:32. This really left a bad taste in the Wings mouth as they walked into the dressing room. With such little time left in a period, you just clear the puck and get out. The Wings definitely lost their heads on that play. 2-2 tie. Shots in the period were 7-7. In the third period, the Avalanche arrived. Three unanswered Colorado goals put a stamp on this game and sealed it. At 2:42, Alex Tanguay scored, assisted by John-Michael Liles and Peter Forsberg. 3-2 Avs. At 10:04, Joe Sakic got a power play goal, assisted by Paul Kariya and Steve Konowalchuk. 4-2 Avs. At 19:23, Peter Forsberg got an empty netter, assisted by Alex Tanguay and Milan Hejduk. 5-2 Avs. As you can tell, I wasn't very into the game at this point. After two periods of watching the Wings play without emotion and chasing the dominating Avs around, I was pretty fed up. I took to my computer and turned my head for the few Wings scoring chances. One came with Brett Hull shooting the puck at a wide-open net. It was around the 8 minute mark, and I thought the Wings still had a chance. But then I saw David Aebischer, the "weakness" of the Avs, leap across the crease and knock the puck out of the air with his stick. It was pretty reminiscent of Hullie's slump, seeing him with gimmee goals and somehow coming away with the red light untriggered. I gave up after seeing Schneider get called at 16:11 for slashing, because it meant that the Wings would only have 1 minute 49 seconds to score two goals, and things were definitely not on the upswing for the men in the Winged-Wheel. Shots in the period were 14-9 Avs. Notables: The Wings hadn't lost since Jan. 24 at Phoenix. David Aebischer was previously 0-3 versus the Wings. Thomas returned to the ice after a 4 game absence with his rib injury. It was Jiri Fischer's first goal since opening night versus the LA Kings, in which Dominik Hasek had the start and the Wings won 3-2 with Steve Yzerman scoring at 19:58!!! It sure took Jiri long enough to get number two, 56 games later. It was the 300th consecutive sellout at the Joe. Joe Louis Arena fans booed Foote periodically during the game when he touched the puck, but the Wings didn't exact any retribution. There were no fights in the game.


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