Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Game 6: Wings 0, Flames 1

Facing elimination in the Pengrowth Saddledome, the Wings played as hard as they could, but ran out of gas, Martin Gelinas scoring with 47 seconds left in the first overtime. Cujo had 43 saves and kept the Wings in the game. Despite allowing only 2 goals in 2 games, Cujo took his second straight playoff loss. The Wings are now eliminated from playoff action, the Flames winning the best-of-seven series 4-2. They will face either the San Jose Sharks or Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals. First Period The Wings opened the game with a different look to the Grind Line, the front three consisting of Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, and Steve Thomas. The Flames got the first shot of the game 28 seconds in, on a shot from Shean Donovan between the circles. Steve Montador gave Cujo a bump as he gained control of the puck. The Wings got their first shot of the game a minute in. On the play, the Wings won the faceoff and McCarty followed up his initial shot from outside and carried the puck in deep on Miikka Kiprusoff, who made the save. At 4:56, Tomas Holmstrom got off a wrist shot from the right circle, giving the Wings an early 7-3 shot advantage. The Wings won the ensuing faceoff and took possession, Hull centering the puck into the crease, where Kiprusoff was steady with his skate against the post. At 7:25, Jordan Leopold took a long shoot-in on Cujo from center. The puck skipped between the circles and rebounded off Cujo, Craig Conroy cleaning up with a good chance, notably beating Derian Hatcher to the loose puck. At 9:50, Mathieu Dandenault took a Brendan Shanahan skate to the face when he went down to make a shot-block and was stepped on by Shanny. Despite some early Detroit pressure, Calgary owned the pace of the remainder of the period. The Flames were able to carry the puck in at will, whereas the Wings had trouble gaining the Calgary zone. The Wings continued to dump the puck in, not able to use their puck possession style to enter the offensive zone. At 11:42, Kirk Maltby was called for delay of game when he intentionally knocked the net off its moorings. It turned out to be a smart move. Gelinas made a wrap-around pass to Iginla in front, who scored on the displaced net. Cujo bit on the wrap-around, and was way out of position on the Iginla shot. The Wings made a good penalty kill, and Cujo was solid on the Flames' one shot from the point during the power play. At 13:59, the Wings were called for another penalty, Jamie Rivers getting caught slashing Marcus Nilson. With back-to-back power plays, the Flames had more sustained pressure in the first minute of the man advantage. Cujo made a huge save on Iginla on the doorstep, laying his pads out with traffic in front. The Wings were able to clear the zone and keep things calm for the second minute of penalty killing action. At 15:58, Derian Hatcher laid out a viscous elbow on Matthew Lombardi at the Wings' line. Lombardi left the ice dazed, and the crowd booed Hatcher for the rest of the game. If there was a Game 7, Hatcher might've been suspended from it for the dirty elbow to Lombardi's head. With 3 minutes left in the period, the "Two Kids and a Goat" line cycled the puck, but Hull fired a shot over the net with a glorious chance from the point. At 18:40, Jason Woolley passed to Shanahan at the right circle, catching Kiprusoff out of position. But Kiprusoff was able to make the save standing straight up, not able to see the puck. At 18:55, the Wings finally got a chance on the power play when Rhett Warrener was called for holding the stick of Robert Lang. The Wings had a bad power play try, and anemic doesn't do justice to describe the Wings on the man advantage this playoff season. The Flames have gone 11 straight games without a first period goal, and we have another scoreless first period. Second Period The Wings opened the period with 55 seconds left on the power play. Nilson and Lombardi returned from injuries, courtesy of the Rivers slash and Hatcher elbow, respectively. At 3:22, the Flames got the first serious chance of the period when Gelinas took a partial breakaway with Lidstrom on him, shooting point blank on Cujo. On the play, the Wings were caught on a bad line chance, with Brett Hull coasting to the bench in laziness. The ice seemed slanted, with Calgary owning all the offensive pressure. The Wings couldn't carry the puck in the Calgary zone to save their lives, while the Flames did it every single rush. With Dandenault getting repairs from his skate cut, the Wings were going with only five defenseman in Woolley, Rivers, Schneider, Lidstrom, and Hatcher. At 6:34, Shanahan got a bad angle shot on Kiprusoff, which seemed like it took all of the Wings' efforts to set up. Pretty sad. At 7:23, Cujo cleared the puck across the rink, and a racing Ray Whitney was almost able to corral the puck and get a shot off. At 7:40, CBC noticed that Dandenault had returned to the Wings' bench, a bandage on his left cheek. At 9:27, the boards needed repair, and the Wings were without a goal for 99:25. The highest scoring team in the regular season can't buy a goal. At 9:52, Jarome Iginla hauled down Mathieu Schneider and was called for holding. The Wings had a good power play, and made some good passes. The best of which came when Shanahan, on the left side, passed across to Holmstrom, hugging the backdoor right post. Homer fanned on the puck and missed a wide open net, the puck going off the heel of his stick and behind the net. Utter frustration. At 14:09, Kirk Maltby and Robyn Regehr were called for slashing and crosschecking, respectively. The offsetting minors made for 4-on-4 action, opening the ice up for some chances. Unfortunately, the Wings were unable to capitalize. Third Period Early on, the Wings continued to chase the Flames around the rink. At 1:33, Ray Whitney was caught riding Martin Gelinas through center ice. It was a lazy penalty to take, Ray holding onto Gelinas and taking a ride rather than moving his feet himself. At 2:19, Oleg Saprykin passed across to Andrew Ference from the right point to the left back door, and Cujo made a huge save. The Flames' power play ended when Chris Clark was caught tripping Lidstrom as he attempted to clear the Calgary zone. At 5:06, Whitney passed it to Draper on the right wing, but the play was called offside. It was the difference of Ray controlling the puck on the Calgary blue line to advancing it across. Such a play is a microcosm of the game and series. A game and series of inches. The bulk of the action was in Detroit's end, and the Wings started to ice the puck in desperation. At 7:38, Hatcher crushed Conroy in front of the Wings' bench. At 11:51, the Flames had a good chance when Conroy passed across to Iginla on the right side, but Cujo made a nice blocker save on the wrist shot. On the play, Schneider was caught tired. At 10:51, Nicklas Lidstrom was called for hooking Martin Gelinas. The Flames had a 2-on-1 opportunity, Clark passing across to Saprykin, but Schneider made a game-saving block on the shot. At 13:37, the Wings got their first shot of the period on a bad angle wrister from Brett Hull. At 15:46, the Wings got their best chance of the period when Kiprusoff flubbed a routine Draper shot and the puck slid just inches from the right post. At 17:42, Hull got another bad angle shot from the right side. Shots were 11-3 Flames with 1:55 left in regulation. Cujo was steady in the final two minutes, and single-handedly sent the game to overtime. First Overtime The sudden-death, extra period opened with the Flames continuing their offensive pressure. At 4:05, Hatcher threw the puck at the net, and Homer almost got a garbage goal "Johnny on the spot" as Kiprusoff had trouble with a bouncing puck. At 7:05, a Hatcher turnover led to a Lombardi chance, which beaned off the bottom of Cujo's mask. At 9:32, the Wings got their best chance of overtime when McCarty passed across to Shanahan on the right backdoor, but Kiprusoff was big and made the save. After that missed opportunity, which I thought might be the Wings' last of the game, things just went downhill. At 9:44, the Flames rushed down the ice and Cujo took another shot off his mask courtesy of a Clark shot. The Wings began to ice the puck and looked very tired. And, on a Leopold dump-in, the Flames won the series. Iginla took a shot from the left circle, Conroy picked up the rebound off Cujo and sent it across to Gelinas, who shot it into a wide open net. Hatcher was covering Conroy, and unable to take the pass away. Cujo had no chance on the play, and, just like that, the series was over. 1-0 Flames. Quote of the Game
"We gotta pull a game out, like we did in Game 5."
--Darren McCarty, talking to CBC during the second intermission. I know he meant Game 4, but it seems kind of ironic now. Game 5 was a 1-0 Calgary win. Series Analysis It turned out that the "Turn on the Red Light" playoff slogan for the Wings was their kiss of death. As happened last playoffs in the loss to the Mighty Ducks, the Wings were unable to convert offensive chances into goals. It was a good game for Lidstrom, Schneider, and Hatcher, but it came down to big names not showing up in the goal column of the series' boxscores. Pavel Datsyuk still is without a playoff goal in his 22nd game. In Game 6, Datsyuk and Zetterberg tried their best, but ended up on their backs when they tried to make something happen. I'm sure Pavel got a good look at the rafters of the Saddledome one of the hundred times he ended up on his back. Coach Dave Lewis made some good changes pregame to try to get the Wings going. He put Jamie Rivers in (who also played in Game 3), and benched Jiri Fischer, who was sloppy all series and lacked confidence. In addition, Steve Thomas and Jason Williams got the go, and Boyd Devereaux took a seat. It will be a big summer for GM Ken Holland and the rest of the Wings management. They should not follow what Ottawa did and make decisions quickly with emotions running high. They fired Jacques Martin knee-jerk after losing to the Maple Leafs. That said, the Wings will have to look at all areas of their roster and coaching staff, and make all necessary changes. Gone? Done? Possible Departures: Jiri Fischer (restricted free agent) Brendan Shanahan (club option) Dave Lewis (contract up, with Quenneville and Martin available) Steve Yzerman (unrestricted free agent, may retire) Chris Chelios (unrestricted free agent, may retire) Brett Hull (club option) Steve Thomas (unrestricted free agent, may retire) Ray Whitney (possible offseason trade) Kris Draper (unrestricted free agent) Boyd Devereaux (restricted free agent) Jamie Rivers (unrestricted free agent) Mathieu Dandenault (restricted free agent) Injuries Fully Revealed Robert Lang, broken left hand Brett Hull, broken toe Chris Chelios, partially torn rotator cuff Next Major Event NHL Awards June 10 in Toronto Kris Draper up for Selke Notables: The Wings were 1-4 in 1 goal games this playoff season....Just in case you didn't hear it 1000 times this series, the Flames haven't won a Cup since 1989 with Vernon....Wings were 0-2 in playoff overtimes....Vancouver's Brian Burke was not resigned as organization President and GM....Calgary is 6-2 in Game 6's when leading the series 3-2....Datsyuk is part of a not-so-elite group that has 30+ regular season goals, but none in the playoffs....maybe Kiprussov is looking for a modeling contract the way he takes off his mask and models for the camera each stoppage....The Saddledome had a figure skating event between Games 4 and 6, so the ice was good for last night's game....Kris Draper wore the third 'A' in the absence of Captain Steve Yzerman....The Wings went 0-for-3 on the power play, finishing 3-for-23 on the series. Although this marks the end of the Wings' season, Matt and I will still cover the playoffs, Wings player transactions, as well as any news on the CBA and NHL in general. (Editor: Here are the lines, courtesy GWB) Maltby-Draper-Thomas Maltby-Lang-McCarty Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Hull Shanahan-Williams-Holmstrom Whitney-Lang-McCarty Shanahan-Draper-Thomas Maltby-Draper-Whitney Shanahan-Williams-Hull Thomas-Datsyuk-Hull Whitney-Datsyuk-Hull Lidstrom-Schneider Hatcher-Dandenault Rivers-Woolley Lidstrom-Rivers Hatcher-Woolley Rivers-Schneider 4 on 4- Zetterberg-Datsyuk Shanahan-Lang Lidstrom-Schneider Hatcher-Woolley Schneider-Woolley PP- Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Hull Shanahan-Lang-Holmstrom Lidstrom-Schneider Lidstrom-Woolley PK- Shanahan-Draper Lang-Zetterberg Maltby-Draper Shanahan-Zetterberg Lidstrom-Hatcher Lidstrom-Schneider Hatcher-Schneider Woolley-Dandenault Schneider-Dandenault O.T.- Maltby-Draper-Whitney Shanahan-Lang-Holmstrom Zetterberg-Datsyuk-McCarty Thomas-Williams-Hull Maltby-Draper-McCarty Thomas-Draper-Williams Zetterberg-Lang-Holmstrom Lidstrom-Schneider Hatcher-Woolley Hatcher-Dandenault Rivers-Dandenault Hatcher-Schneider Net- Curtis Joseph


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