There isn't going to be a minute-by-minute analysis on this game since I'm too disgusted to dedicate that kind of time and effort. I could just give this post 20 minutes for composition because that's about how long the Wings' effort lasted yesterday, but I suspect it will take me longer than that to write it.
So. The first period was everything I was expecting of the team: they showed good energy, they skated hard and created chances. Their power play was solid (though they couldn't put it in the net) and their penaly killing was strong. They had the Oilers back on their heels for much of the period but even then you could see flashes where Edmonton was ready to take over.
For example, take Ales Hemsky's little chance while on the power play only 6 or 7 minutes into the game. He carried it in all by himself through the defense and froze Legace outside of the crease as he headed down the right wing. His shot should have gone in but it hit the outside of the post at ice level and somehow stayed out. Not encouraging.
Dwayne Roloson kept the Oilers in it in the first and ought to get major credit for this win. When the Wings were skating hard and actually gettin chances, he was making saves and it paid off later for his team.
The Wings had maybe 3 or 4 good minutes at the start of the second period before Edmonton started pressuring four minutes in. Then, they scored, at 5:16, on what seemed like a fairly harmless play. Chris Pronger took an ice-level shot at the net and it was tipped out front by Fernando Pisani and suddenly came up to armpit level, sneaking between Legace's arm and body before trickling into the net.
Edmonton looked good after that and then the Wings got into some penalty trouble. Shanahan went off for hooking at 7:41 and at 8:34, the Oilers scored again. It was another deflection, coming off Smyth this time, and beat Legace 5-hole.
The Wings put a little pressure on after that but the bounces were going the other way. It was very frustrating to watch. Edmonton was so keyed up on blocking shots that three skaters would fall at exactly the same time to block the same shot, but the Wings weren't interested in taking advantage of the three Oilers having taken themselves out of the play.
MacTavish is establishing himself as a great coach in this series. Case in point: the Oilers iced the puck at 10:00 and weren't able to change. So, he used his timeout. First, it showed a lot of confidence in his players because he didn't foresee a time later on that he would need. Second, it gave his players a rest and enabled them to disrupt the Wings' admittedly weak comeback attempt with a strong pressure shift after their defensive zone faceoff.
Shanahan took another penalty at 11:30 but 28 seconds later, Chris Chelios drew a cheap tripping penalty and the teams went to four a side. 34 seconds after that, the Oilers scored again. Legace had just made a big save on Shawn Horcroff but the rebound came right back to the Oilers forward and it ended up being knocked in, I think, by Nik Kronwall as he attempted to tie Horcoff up.
Hemsky again had a nice rush just after that, busting out some moves and coming in on Legace, only just running out of real estate. Andreas Lilja whiffed on the puck at the blueline and Raffi Torres pounced on it, breaking in on Legace and getting a nice scoring chance but he couldn't score.
Shanahan finally put the Wings on the board at 18:39. He got a breakaway and beat Roloson with a quick shot. Just before the goal, however, Draper had badly tripped Peca and had not been called for a penalty, even though both players expected it. Pretty sad that the Wings' first goal came off such a badly blown call.
The Wings looked pretty disinterested in the third. It seemed as though they thought they only needed one goal and were waiting for the right time to score it. They were not physical at all and looked tired. They were making bad passes (even Lidstrom) and could get very little going. The Oilers were workmanlike and pressured the Wings into making poor decisions, reminding us that though they had settled into a defensive posture, they could break open the game at any time. The Wings were never there for rebounds and were hardly able to gain the zone. The Oilers played very carefully, not willing to give the Wings the power play that might have sparked them.
At 15:54, Staios finally took a penalty and the Wings got one last power play. They couldn't do anything with it, though, getting one flurry and a blocked shot for their efforts.
Babcock pulled Legace with 1:48 left. They didn't get much and Edmonton was content to sit back and didn't try too hard to score on the empty net.
Henrik Zetterberg scored at 19:38. It was unexpected. A nice goal but too little, too late. Babcock called his time out after the goal and it actually nearly paid off. They won the faceoff and carried it in. Lang fanned on the puck just in front of the net and the game ended up on Nick Lidstrom's stick on the right point. Shawn Horcoff dove face first into the shot and stopped it with his shoulder. That pretty much sums up the Oilers of Game 5.
As far as big games go, I don't remember a more uninspired performance by the Wings. I don't understand why they couldn't get up to play a full game in front of their fans (I suppose the tomb-like atmosphere at the Joe has something to do with that) and when they had a chance to take the lead in the series. The Oilers played great and maybe still would have won, but if the Wings had even played to half of their ability, I wouldn't feel so ripped off by this game. They put up a performance like this and I'm supposed to get all excited about Game 6? I'm supposed to have hope that they'll actually show up to play in Edmonton? Why couldn't they do it yesterday?
They've been down 3-2 in a series before but that was in 2002 and it was a completely different team. That team knew how to win big games. This team seems to have forgotten. Sure, the series technically isn't over but they are going to have to play out of their minds Monday night if they even want a chance at winning. I know Edmonton will "bring it" but will the Wings?
I'm not ready for another early exit. I waited two years for this? I'm tired of getting my hopes up only to have the Wings fall flat on their faces.
Tell me, Brendan Shanahan, Mikael Samuelsson, Jason Williams, and the rest of you in the Winged Wheel. Is it worth it for me to tune in on Monday night? I have three finals on Tuesday. Should I take those three hours and study or should I watch? You know what? I'm going to watch because I'm a fan and dedicated to the team. Maybe you guys could think about giving me a return on my investment.