Saturday, April 24, 2004

Game 2: Wings 5, Flames 2

The Wings made the statement they needed to make today in beating the Flames 5-2 in a dominating performance. They once again outplayed Calgary but this time they complimented that with some goals. What a concept: winning games by scoring goals. Hmm, seems like it works, guys. Curtis Joseph played well and didn't give up any weak goals. He was left out to dry on the two he did give up and couldn't do much about them. He only faced 16 shots in the whole game and no more than seven in a period (3rd). He only had to make three saves in the first, a number which was doubled in the second. The Flames obviously weren't generating a ton of offense. To give you an idea, their big, bad captain and scoring leader Jarome Iginla had zero shots today, though Martin Gelinas had three. The Wings had some good jump on offense, though they weren't clicking as much as they could have. Even so, they had a number of good chances but were continually stoned by Miikka Kiprusoff. This went on throughout the first period and into the second. The Flames would follow up a Wings chance and miraculous Kiprusoff save by promtly icing the puck. It quite frankly got annoying and I was happy to see it end at 3:02 of the second period when Tomas Holmstrom scored on the power play to make it 1-0 Wings. He tipped in a shot from Nick Lidstrom and it blew past a screened Kiprusoff. Marcus Nilson had just broken his stick and that put the Flames at a disadvantage. The fact that Hull was likely distracting Kiprusoff by floating around the right side of the net didn't help their cause either. The crowd woke up after that and so did the Flames, for a few minutes anyway. They came on a bit harder but eventually reverted back to constantly icing the puck. The Flames got a power play at 8:06 when Mathieu Schneider fell on Stephane Yelle and generated some good pressure on it. In the beginning, though, there was a delayed offsides about to be called and Derian Hatcher just stopped playing. He stood there with the puck and let the Flames player touch it when he easily could have cleared it out of the zone. Total lack of effort. Anyway, it didn't matter since the Wings killed of the penalty using a tiny kill-box technique. The Wings had the puck in the last few seconds of the power play and Mathieu Dandenault took it into the Flames zone. He went behind the net and centered it to an open Steve Yzerman who one-timed it past a helpless Kiprusoff just as the penalty expired (10:06). Great goal. A little over two minutes later, The Captain did it again, this time setting himself up along the boards and then taking a pass from Kirk Maltby out front where he roofed it over Kiprusoff. Another great goal by Stevie. The Flames answered back a little more than a minute later on a 4-on-4 situation when Shean Donovan scored to make it 3-1 Wings. The goal was scored because Dave Lewis saw fit to put three of the Wings' slowest players on the ice at the same time: Chris Chelios, Derian Hatcher and Brendan Shanahan. This was especially stupid because 4-on-4 means more open ice which means the faster players have more ice to work with. The Flames took full advantage of this and promtly scored a goal when Donovan beat Hatcher up the middle and tipped in the Nilson pass through Joseph. Nice coaching job there, Dave. Play was fairly even in the third period but the Flames eventually lost it and the Wings started to run away with it. It all started at 13:54 when Shean Donovan took a dumb retaliation penalty after being knocked down by Jiri Fischer. Less than a minute later and during the ensuing power play, Mike Commodore took an idiotic penalty when he continually slashed and cross-checked Tomas Holmstrom in front of the net. The Wings took the opportunity to go up 4-1 and scored six seconds later off a blast from Brett Hull. Kiprusoff looked slow on the goal and I hope we'll see more of that from him. The Wings were still on the power play after that but the Flames still saw fit to slash and cross-check Wings players. This time it was Robyn Regehr who made it 5-on-3 by cross-checking Steve Yzerman at 15:25. The Wings once again took advantage of this and Nick Lidstrom scored off a blast from the point after he and Hull played catch with the puck. The puck may have gone in off Shanahan but as far as I know it was Lidstrom. Either way, it made it 5-1. The Wings were still on the power play but that ended when Chris Chelios took a weak slashing penalty at 16:42. The Flames scored once more at 18:50 after Joseph made a save on a wraparound chance by Chuck Kobasew. Martin Gelinas slammed in the lose puck after outmanning Chris Chelios and made it 5-2. It was good to see the Wings get rewarded for outplaying the Flames by actually winning. They played one of their most complete games, I think, and dominated for long stretches of all three periods. I still am not impressed by Calgary, with the exception of Miikka Kiprusoff. They aren't as fast as Nashville and don't seem to be as physical. They do not capitalize on chances as much as the Preds did either (thankfully). The Hatcher-Chelios pairing wasn't quite so bad today, though they still should not be partners. Both Steve Yzerman goals were in the same end of the rink that I was in for Game 1. Too bad they couldn't happen then.... Chris Chelios took a hit along the boards towards the end of the second period and immediately went for the bench favoring his arm. He returned in the 3rd period though and finished the game. Rhett Warrener had to leave the game when he took Steve Yzerman's stick to the face in the corner. It was completely accidental and was the result of Stephane Yelle taking The Captain into the boards. Warrener immediately got up and went to the bench holding his face. It had all the earmarks of an eye injury and scared the heck out of me. He went to the hospital and eventually came back with just a large cut on his nose. Thank God for that! I liked seeing the Wings power play finally get going today, with three goals. The Flames may have handed the Wings those last two but they still count and we'll hopefully see more of that in the coming games. The Wings are not dominating on the faceoffs nearly as much this round, with just 38 wins today compared to 37 for the Flames. Given the Flames apparent strategy of icing the puck, winning more faceoffs would be very helpful. Something more like their 40-of-68 record in Game 1 would be nice. Jason Woolley did not play afterall tonight but Jason Williams did again. The Captain played with Maltby and Draper on a new Grind Line and all three had a great night. Those two goals were just Yzerman's first and second in his last ten home playoff games. As much as I get on his back, Derian Hatcher must be doing something right. At 5:00 of the third period, he had been on the ice for 34 of Iginla's 46 shifts in the series to that point. Iginla had no shots today and has no points so far either, which is something I'm sure led to his fight with Hatchter at the end of the game. I was disappointed to see Derian's poor performance in the fight but that probably had somehting to do with the fact that Iginla wasn't man enough to take his helmet and face shield off. It was knocked off eventually but it looked like Hatcher may have hurt his hand in the process of getting his butt kicked and taken down by a guy four inches and 20+ lbs lighter than himself. Since my dislike for Gary Thorne and Co. far outweighed any worries I might have had about a pro-Flames bias, I watched the game on CBC instead of ABC. I didn't regret it for a second. Any chance you get to watch HNIC, take it. Here is the boxscore. Oh yeah, the Avs lost today and are now down 2-0 in that series with the Sharks. Pretty cool, eh? Lines- (courtesy GWB) Maltby-Draper-Yzerman Zetterberg-Datysuk-Hull Whitney-Lang-Shanahan Holmstrom-Williams-McCarty Lang-Datsyuk-Yzerman Lidstrom-Schneider Hatcher-Chelios Fischer-Dandenault Hatcher-Dandenault 4 on 4- Shanahan-Lang Datsyuk-Hull Zetterberg-Datsyuk Hatcher-Chelios Lidstrom-Schneider Hatcher-Lidstrom PP- Lang-Yzerman-Holmstrom Shanahan-Datsyuk-Hull Lidstrom-Schneider Whitney-Chelios 5 on 3PP- Shanahan-Lang-Hull Lang-Datsyuk-Shanahan Lidstrom-Schneider Hull-Chelios PK- Shanahan-Draper Zetterberg-Draper Whitney-Lang Maltby-Draper Shanahan-Yzerman Lidstrom-Chelios Hatcher-Schneider Hatcher-Chelios Lidstrom-Dandenault 5 on 3PK- Draper Schneider-Dandenault Net- Curtis Joseph


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