Monday, May 21, 2007

Red Wings Facing Elimination

I am too indescribably frustrated to really provide a proper recap of this game. Detroit completely dominated Anaheim for the better part of three periods, as well as controlling much of the overtime period. Detroit missed several chances to expand their 1-0 lead before the final minute of the game (Holmstrom's rebound chance that slid completely through the crease and Lidstrom's hit post come to mind). Instead of having a decent cushion before Anaheim's final desperate attempt to tie the game, any strange bounce of the puck could have tied the game. Unfortunately, that strange bounce occurred. Scott Niedermayer's shot from the slot, which looked initially harmless, hit Niklas Lidstrom's outstretched stick and fluttered over the glove of Dominik Hasek, tying the game with 47.3 seconds left in regulation.

Andreas Lilja, who had scored Detroit's only goal in the second period, went from potential hero to goat 11:57 into the overtime period. While controlling the puck behind the Red Wing net, Lilja skated with it out in front of the goal while being hounded by Teemu Selanne. Duck forward Andy McDonald, who had just come off the bench, stepped up and forced Lilja to try to play the puck out of the zone. Lilja tried to pass the puck back across his body, and completely fanned on the attempt. Selanne took the puck, deked Hasek to the ground, and wristed the winner into the top shelf.

This was an awful game to lose, and obviously puts a lot of pressure on Detroit, who is now down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series going into Game 6 in Anaheim. However, if there is anything to take out of the game, it is that Detroit completely dominated and should have won. While most television analysts and sports columnists are drooling over the tremendous play of Duck goalie J.S. Giguere, I feel Detroit had a decent amount of chances around the net that easily could have been goals. Giguere played great, but Detroit had a few chances to beat him that they didn't capitalize on. Hopefully, with elimination looming, Detroit will bury those chances in Game 6 (and hopefully Game 7 as well).

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