Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Game 3: @ Edmonton, 10:00 ET

The series heads to Edmonton tonight with it all tied up 1-1. The Wings, apparently, will resort to dump-and-chase hockey when necessary, according to Ansar Khan. Given that they've tried that at times already in this series and have generally been beaten to the pucks, I don't know how exactly Babcock expects it to work out tonight. I'm not sure they have the speed and besides that, it's not their style. They can beat the trap another way, using their puck-possession style but they need to find the motivation. Maybe having Jiri Fischer along on the trip will help with that. Manny Legace suggests the Wings go to the net like the Oilers are and make it harder for Roloson to see the shot. What a novel idea, Manny! Edmonton is going to stick to the "press" (what is this, basketball?), according to the Edmonton Sun. That's about all the preview they need, I guess. Pavel Datsyuk needs to perform tonight. Based on this Edmonton Journal report, I think he will. Mike Babcock told the Journal,
"I was very scared to play him but he said he was ready to go. He made it very clear to me he was going to have a tough first outing and when you haven't played as long as he's been out, you are. We started him but we were careful early with him and he didn't have much pop. He got better as the game went on."
Yes, he did. If that was just first-game-back jitters, he ought to be ready to go tonight. No better place to have a great game than on the best ice in hockey, Pavel. A loss tonight would put the Wings in a very tough position in Game 4, given their apparent inability to beat the trap and Edmonton's determination to use it in order to win. A win tonight is pretty key. Not essential but important. I'll likely post more as they day progresses but I need to go to work now. Update (9:11 AM): Our suggestion that Babcock dress Cory Cross was met with much laughing and mockery over at The Battle of Alberta. I dunno, guys. I kinda trust Ken Holland not to acquire a complete dud, Wendell Clark, Ulf Samuelsson and Uwe Krupp notwithstanding. And Cory did bring us this. Anyway, I doubt he'll be inserted into the lineup since Babcock likes Lebda so much. Update (4:21 PM): NHL.com's Stats Blog has this to say:
The Red Wings have not lost consecutive games since January 23 and 24 (both at home vs. Nashville). Beginning on January 26, they’re perfect in games following a loss.

Red Wings in Games Following Loss – January 26 -- Present

W-L-OTL 8-0-0 Goals 30 (3.75/gm) Goals Allowed 13 (1.63/gm)

These numbers include the Red Wings’ playoff opener, after the team lost its regular-season finale.

I guess this means they don't have to show up to play tonight, right? Wrong!


At 4/25/2006 01:24:00 PM, Anonymous megan said...

Apparently, NHL.com thinks the Wings have been outplayed. I'm not so sure about this. I think it's just because they can't fathom the Wings losing if they had outplayed their opponent. Its just unnatural. But us Wings fans know better, don't we? The Wings are the best in the league, and that includes at losing while outplaying the opponent. Those are the worst losses, too. Like in Anaheim (I know, I don't like to relive that series either, but it is a good example). The difference in this series is that we're not playing a hot goaltender, we're playing the trap. Edmonton can call it what they want (the press??), but it is what it is. It's pre-lockout hockey, and it's boring. And it often prevents the better team from winning. Don't get me wrong, the Wings can beat it. Will they? I still think so. It's going to be hard, but the first round always is. We never expected a cakewalk, remember?

At 4/25/2006 04:33:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Yes, no team is better at underachieving than the Wings. I've always said that. It's their ability to achieve great things that makes their underachieving so painful, as you say.

They can beat the trap but I'm not convinced that dump-and-chase is the way. They could pass a lot better and could be tougher and more creative on offense. I would love to have MacLean in the lineup right about now, as TheRealWags suggested elseware. Ah well.

At 4/26/2006 01:50:00 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

Who knew the first 2 periods would be a penalty kill chanllenge for the Wings. What a bunch of stupid penalties. Someone call Guiness, I think I have a record for highest blood pressure ever. The "no goal" in the 1st OT was happiness followed almost instantly with my jaw on the floor.

Need some help, why are they booing Chelios evertime he touches the puck? It was happening before the monsterous hit on their guy tonight. Is it because he admitted to "embellishing" a play to get a penalty?

2nd OT coming up. Go Wings Go!!!

At 4/26/2006 02:00:00 AM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Yeah, talk about a fluke play. I'm just glad it didn't break the Wings' back.

I think Cheli gets booed everywhere. Pretty lame, considering he's one of the game's greats.

As for the penalties, I'll be writing on those tomorrow, believe me.

Go Wings in 2nd OT!

At 4/26/2006 02:16:00 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

Why did Yzerman only log 14 minutes of ice time? I was baffled by this stat. He seemed to be one of the few that was motivated to win this game.

Also, we won the faceoff challenge tonight 52-44. That can't be right. Almost every faceoff (it seemed) that I saw (in their zone especially), we lost.

Down 1-2. I'm not jumping off the wagon (and I never will), but I'm not happy with tonights game. Not happy at all.

Congrats to the Oilers, I guess.

At 4/26/2006 02:38:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Chelios plays dirty and he was being booed becaused he hit Hemsky from behind, it should have been a major penalty for running him from behind. T

At 4/26/2006 04:44:00 AM, Anonymous jon said...

I think Chelios gets booed because Oiler fans recognize him as what he is, one of the genuine "bag guys" out there in the NHL. Sure, he's a hockey great who's savvy, gritty, and durable, but that can be dissociated entirely from the fact that he's a bit dirty, a lot dramatic, and just an all-round jerk on the ice. Obviously, you can argue that it's part of his role and just makes him a better player, but you can also argue it gives credence to fans who want to boo the shit out of him every time he touches the puck.


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