Sunday, April 15, 2007

Red Wings vs. Flames: Game 2 Recap

Another dominant performance by the Red Wings in game 2 today, as they beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 while outshooting them 51-15. Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Lidstrom and Valtteri Filppula all scored their second goal in as many games and Dominik Hasek turned in another solid performance in leading the Wings to a 2-0 series lead. A few thoughts:
  • Miikka Kiprusoff is the only reason Calgary hasn't completely collapsed in this series, saving a number of point-blank chances by the Red Wings and turning in his second consecutive outstanding performance. Unfortunately, when you face 97 shots in two games, those outstanding performances usually come in a losing effort. The only weakness I can see in Kiprusoff's game is his puckhandling, as he turned the puck over a few times in his own zone while trying to move the puck forward. The Wings weren't able to capitalize on his mistakes, but look for them to take advantage of one of his turnovers in the upcoming games.
  • Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary are wreaking havoc on the forecheck. Both have been incredibly aggressive, throwing their bodies around and pressuring the Flames into turning the puck over in their own end. The Wings have been able to play dump-and-chase hockey while protecting their leads in large part because they've been so successful at stealing the puck back behind the Flames' net.
  • Filppula looks like he's cemented his spot in the lineup when Todd Bertuzzi returns from a concussion. His third period goal was the result of out-hustling a Flames defender down the ice and knocking a loose puck past Kiprusoff. His ability to play on both ends of the ice should get him the nod over Jiri Hudler, who notched another assist on Filppula's goal.
  • Kris Draper should get a lot of credit for shutting down Jarome Iginla, who recorded his first two shots on goal for the series but was a non-factor for most of the game. Mike Babcock has successfully matched the Draper-Maltby-Cleary line with Iginla's line, as well as making sure Lidstrom is on the ice for his shifts. It will be interesting to see how the Wings match up with Iginla as the series moves to Calgary and the Flames get the luxury of the last line change.
The series could not have started any better for Detroit, but the going may not be so easy in Calgary, where the Flames posted a 30-9-2 record on the season.

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