Monday, May 01, 2006

Game 6: @ Edmonton, 8:00 ET

Update (4:23 PM): IwoCPO writes on why the Wings have to win tonight and reminds me of the experience I've had being a Wings fan post-elimination, especially in high school. In 2001 especially, after the Kings took them out ("Hey, hey Shockeytown!"), I had to endure merciless mocking from teammates and people who just didn't understand.'s Stats Blog gives us some hope, though. -- Matt The Oilers have a chance to clinch the series tonight in their home arena, something they have not done in 14 years, apparently. You think Rexall Place is going to be rocking? You think the Oilers are going to amped up to play? I do. On other hand, you have the Wings, who need a win to stay alive, and will face the task not only of matching Edmonton's energy but of exceeding it or at least dampening it. The first goal is (actually, the first couple goals are) essential here. It's also time for Manny Legace to put up or shut up. A loss tonight without anything less than a stellar performance means he'll be run out of town on a rail. As it is, he's almost certainly done in Detroit, barring a sudden infusion of Sawchuk-like ability and the resultant performance. His apparent lack of confidence is worrisome and can't be helping his teammates out at all. Michael Rosenberg is pretty hard on Manny in today's Freep and, in some ways, it's hard to argue. Tonight is crunch time for Legace, a chance for him to restore both his confidence and ours. While a lot of the onus is on Manny tonight, any effort at a win is the responsibility of the team, from the net on out. And fault for a loss would be shared by the team, as well. Pavel Datsyuk has shown jump and flashes of brilliance but his time is running out. Henrik Zetterberg has produced this series but Pavel is heading toward the gallows and doesn't appear to know it. Let's see some points tonight, Datsyuk. Hopefully Shanahan's breakaway goal on Saturday will have reminded him what it's like to score goals and cause him to want to score more. I want to see Babcock put Don MacLean in the lineup tonight. I went to a Griffins game a couple weeks ago and though his teammates were dying from having played a long overtime game the night before, MacLean was one of the best players on the ice and finished as one of the arena stars. He scored in his first game with the Wings this season, April 11th against the Oilers, and would undoubtedly provide a spark, as the Freep says today. It looks like MacLean will only play if Yzerman sits but I say take Mikael Samuelsson out and put Don in. Oh well. If The Captain plays, I have a hard time seeing the Wings lose. If he doesn't, I don't know if they can win. It's a game-time decision and you know that he'll play if he can. The effect of that decision on the team's morale will be huge, I expect, one way or the other. I go into tonight's game as I always do when the Wings are facing elimination: dreading it. I hate watching these games and tonight is going to be as rough as any of the games they've played on the brink. Can the Wings do it? That's a stupid question. Of course they can! Will they? I have no idea. They have to want it enough and play with the passion that accompanies desperation. They can't get out of control but they need to be desperate. Please, guys?


At 5/01/2006 10:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You commented on Manny (as well as several other articles I've read), and I know people are upset at his performance. So far this series, the only bad performance I have seen from him is the 3 goals allowed in 19 shots, as well as a few soft ones. I know those all add up, but I think the problem is more Detroit's lack of offense. It just hasn't showed up. I can't stress how awful I feel to see Detroit's rather sloppy play and inability to score. We went from seeing amazing plays and 4+ goals in the regular season to only like 2 goals a game in the post season, and it's discouraging to watch.

Some of it is that the players not producing like they did during the regular season. More of it is just Edmonton doing a good job shutting them down. Although the "trap" is still uncertain to me (is the "trap" taking away the neutral zone? please let me know because I'm still unsure), it seems to be getting to Detroit, as well as the fans. Several articles talk about this "trap" and how no force of man can beat it and it will soon engulf the world in all of it's power and glory. However, I'm not seeing it. I think Detroit is just not playing up to par and Edmonton is taking a huge advantage of it. They are simply outplaying us.

And good call about Yzerman, I agree 100%. With the captain playing, I feel the Wings will get a huge boast of confidence. Another good call, Samuelsson (I feel) is experiencing rookie playoff jitters of some sort, his production this series is unnoticable. You also mentioned the first couple of goals are crutial. Like we all know, the Wings play well (for the most part) with a 2 goal lead. If they can get the early goals in the first period, they'll win. If not, we just have to hope they win the game in OT.

Hopefully the Wings will win. They are certainly capable of it.


At 5/01/2006 01:06:00 PM, Blogger Alex M said...

This is my first post on here, but I come here all the time for my Red Wings news. Your board is awesome Matt, great job!

Now onto tonight's game. I'm dreading tonight as well. It just seems like the team doesn't care enough to get the win. To me, it seems like they're waiting for the game to come to them, instead of going out and getting it themselves. It's almost as if they expect the Oilers to make mistakes and hand them the game.

I really hope to see everyone show up tonight. As you said Matt, Manny has to be nothing short of stellar. He can't allow a single soft goal tonight, he has to match Roloson. And I would like to see Pavel Datsyuk, Brendan Shanahan, Jason Williams, Nik Lidstrom et all come to life. The team desparately needs them.

And I hope Maclean plays tonight. He could provide that energetic spark the team needs by just going into the corners, going to the front of the net, and hitting the Oilers all over the place. If Yzie can go, it really will be a huge boost to the team. If their 40-year-old Captain can muster up the courage and will to fight for the team's playoff life, the rest of the guys can draw on that. I really don't want to see Yzie go off into the sunset on a first round loss. He deserves to go out with a Cup.

But above all else, we need a complete performance tonight. They have to play hard for a full 60 minutes, not just 20 or 25. If the Wings can have an awesome second period, I think they'll beat the Oilers.

Come on guys, win it for the Captain!

At 5/01/2006 04:09:00 PM, Anonymous WI Wing Nut said...

On Manny...I don't see him on the verge of being run out of Detroit, but I do see him on the verge of being relegated back to back-up status. I don't think his overall performance has been bad, but it has not stood out. He's still made several key saves at key times in this series, it's just been hard to look through the negativity to notice them.

Bottom line, if Legace allows two goals in a game instead of three, the wings still need to SCORE three goals to win. That's not happenening, so you can't place the shoulder of the burden on Manny. He has played well enough for the Red Wings to win the series by now if they had scored even close to their regualar season pace.

I'm sorry to say I don't have a great feeling about tonight. That said, a wounded Stevie is better than no Stevie (as we found out in '02), so I hope he plays.

I'm not ashamed to admit to fellow fans that I am 31 years old and there is a good chance I will shed at least a tear or two "over a stupid hockey game" (as some might say) tonight. I really hope that's not necessary.

At 5/01/2006 04:32:00 PM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

I'm not going to place the blame on Legace. He has not gotten the offensive support he so obviously needs but he is going to have to take his fair share of the blame nonetheless. Sure, he's made some timely saves but he's missed others and his apparent lack of confidence is hard to understand. He's not being asked to work a lot but he IS expected to make saves when necessary, on the reletively rare times the Wings make defensive mistakes.

Obviously the Wings' inability to score has been the main issue but it's a lot easier to address the goaltending problem than revamping the entire forward corps.


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