Sunday, April 18, 2004

4/18 Comments

I'm glad that's over! It was good to see the Wings team I know and love in those final two games but it disturbs me that they really only earned a win in two of those six games. They will have to build on those two wins, though, and play even better in the coming series. They can't count on being able to make a comeback in the final 20 minutes of games or on lucky fluke bounces either in the coming weeks because the teams will only get better. I think it was a good thing that the Wings got Nashville in the first round because the series hopefully served as a wake-up call to the team. Dave Lewis thinks so: "I loved this series. It's what we needed. They hung around and won the two games here and put big pressure on us. Our players really rose to the occasion." I wouldn't go so far as to say I loved the series but I think it served a good purpose in getting the Wings going and preparing them for the coming rounds. The Preds presented a surprising challenge for the Wings, to be sure, and that is something the Wings' future opponents will not likely appreciate a whole lot. It was better than playing the Blues, the Wings' historical playoff pushover. Congratulations to the Nashville Predators on a fine season. That team has a bright future and will only get better. Stay faithful, Nashville fans! How big was that hit by Kirk Maltby on Marek Zidlicky in Game 1? Zidlicky left the game after that and never came back in the series. He was an enormous part of the Preds' power play and had he been able to play, the series likely would have had a much different outcome. To give you an idea, the Preds went 1-for-29 on the power play without their blueline quarterback. The Wings will have to work on controlling themselves and adjusting their style of play to fit the refs' whistles in Round 2 because they can't rely on their penalty killing to save them again. The Vancouver Canucks stayed alive in their series with the Calgary Flames last night, forcing a Game 7 after winning 5-4 in triple overtime (the blew a 4-0 lead in the process). If the Flames win on Monday night, they will be the lowest remaining seed and will face the Wings in Round 2. If the Canucks win, the Avs will be the lowest remaining seed and they will face the Wings while the Sharks will face Vancouver. Neither of those two series is appealing to me but if I had to choose, I'd probably say Calgary. I'd rather have the Wings face a worn down Sharks/Avs team in the Conference Finals than an Avs team that pretty much ran over the Stars in the Quarterfinals. The Flames would be more worn out from their long series with the Canucks and even with Miikka Kiprusoff in net, I'd rather the Wings played them. Either way, it will be a very tough series for the Wings and they'd better bring their "A" game along with them.


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