Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Red Wings vs. Sharks: Game 3 Recap

Detroit dropped game 3 to San Jose last night 2-1, falling behind the Sharks 2-1 in the Western Conference Semifinal. The Wings took a 1-0 lead on a Niklas Lidstrom power play goal, and dominated the first period for the first time in the series. However, the second and third periods were a different story, as San Jose controlled the puck throughout and finally took the lead on a Jonathan Cheechoo PP goal with 6:41 left in the game. Some thoughts:
  • Hasek was outstanding this game, making quite a few snow angels in an effort to keep the puck out of the net. He was more in control playing the puck outside the net as well. He wasn't at fault on either goal, and put Detroit in a position to win the game late. Unfortunately, the offense could not come through for him.
  • Bertuzzi was just awful. He clearly isn't 100% physically, has no jump in his step on offense, isn't throwing his weight around, and is getting beat on the defensive end. On top of all that, he took two stupid penalties in the last half of the game that pretty much killed any momentum the Wings had. His elbow to the head of Ryan Clowe (in the offensive zone no less) late in the second was a dirty play and an obvious penalty that ended possibly Detroit's best chance to retake the lead after Clowe scored the equalizer just minutes earlier. Then, with under 3 minutes to play in the third, he kicked Joe Thornton's foot out from under him while going towards the San Jose net. Some would argue it was a dive by Thornton, but you can't put yourself in a position to get called for a penalty, especially when you're Todd Bertuzzi and you know the referees are looking for an excuse to put you in the box.
  • There were way too many attempts by Zetterburg and Datsyuk to charge into three or four defenders alone during the latter two periods. Yes, both are incredible puckhandlers, but 95 times out of 100 that play is going to end in an offensive zone turnover. Detroit looks to those two to spark the offense, and neither did a good job of providing any spark after the first period.
  • Joe Thornton absolutely controlled the game for San Jose. He logged 23 minutes of ice time, the most of any forward for either team, and had an impact on both the offensive and defensive end. He was the big reason the Sharks were able to control the puck so much through the latter part of the game, and also made a big defensive play on Datsyuk in the final minutes that ended a good scoring chance.
Game 4 is tomorrow night in San Jose, and is about as close to a must-win and you can get in a non-elimination game. It is tough to see Detroit stealing 3 in a row, including game 6 in the Shark Tank, if they drop the game tomorrow. Luckily, Tomas Holmstrom has been cleared and will play tomorrow. Hopefully he will do a better job pouncing on the rebounds left by Nabokov than Detroit has done thus far.

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