Monday, May 14, 2007

Red Wings Return Game 1 Gifts, Lose 4-3 in OT

First of all, I will not say Detroit clearly deserved to win this game. Detroit was outshot (33-27), outhit (43-33), and Anaheim controlled much of the play in their 4-3 overtime victory. However, Detroit put themselves in position to take command of the series, going up 3-2 on Pavel Datsyuk's power play goal 1:03 into the third period. Anaheim's answer was one of the stranger goals I've seen in my twelve years (shut up, I'm nineteen) of watching hockey. After Samuel Pahlsson won a faceoff in the Detroit zone, Travis Moen fired a quick wrister that Hasek appeared to stop. Unfortunately, the puck got caught in Hasek's left leg pad, and video review revealed his momentum carried his leg, and the puck, across the goal line. Moen's goal knotted the game at 3 and eventually forced overtime, where Scott Niedermayer won the game with a wrist shot that beat Hasek from the right circle. Niedermayer certainly benefited from an unlucky break for the Wings when Daniel Cleary, who was marking Niedermayer, lost an edge and fell into the boards. Scott's brother Rob found the elder Niedermayer wide open, and his screened shot found the short side.

The Detroit power play once again looked strong, going 2-7 on the day. The Wings showed great puck movement on both Niklas Lidstrom's second period goal and Pavel Datsyuk's go-ahead marker in the third. Detroit has had the clear advantage on special teams so far this series, but have an uncharacteristic 1-5 disadvantage on even-strength goals. The Red Wing penalty kill wasn't quite as solid as the boxscore would tell you, as they gave up goals just after two early penalties expired, but they came up big after Mikael Samuelsson took a delay of game penalty in overtime. Kirk Maltby also scored a stellar shorthanded goal, batting his own rebound out of the air and past Giguere to pull the Wings into a 1-1 tie in the second.

Hasek didn't look as spectacular as he had the last few games of the playoffs, but he still came up with a few magnificent saves, most notably robbing Ryan Getzlaf on a shorthanded breakaway early in the first. I'm sure he wants the game-tying goal back, but a goalie doesn't usually expect a puck to get caught in their pads the way that one did. Hasek should be able to shake off this game and play like he has the rest of the playoffs.

This loss was tough to take, just because Detroit looked to be on the verge of taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. Despite both goals that were video reviewed being clearly the right call, it always hurts a little more to know that both were oh-so-close to not being goals at all. The way this series it going, it looks like it could come down a couple bounces going one way or the other. Hopefully Hasek will rebound from this game and Detroit get some of those bounces going in their favor again.

Game 3 is tomorrow at 9.

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