Saturday, May 5, 2007

Red Wings vs. Sharks: Game 5 Recap

The Red Wings once again overcame a slow start to beat the Sharks, scoring four unanswered goals after Marcel Goc's first period tally gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead. Detroit now has a 3-2 series lead heading into Monday's game 6 in San Jose. My thoughts on the game:
  • Tomas Holmstrom continues to show just how valuable he is to Detroit's offense since his return from an eye injury suffered in the Calgary series. Homer was on the ice for all four Detroit goals, assisting the first Red Wing goal and scoring one of his own on the power play in the third. Holmstrom created the first goal by keeping the puck alive twice in front of the San Jose net, and eventually knocking the puck over to where Zetterburg could shoot into the open net. His third period goal was classic Homer, as he camped out in front of the net and one-timed a Zetterburg pass from point blank range. On the Samuelsson power play goal, Holmstrom helped to set it up by attracting enough attention in front for Samuelsson to get a wide open shot from the right point. The power play has really come alive with Homer back on the ice.
  • Besides the (really) soft goal allowed in the first, Hasek was nothing short of spectacular. He seemed determined not to let his early mistake cost Detroit the series, and stopped several fantastic scoring chances by the Sharks. Hasek hasn't allowed more than two goals in his last seven games, and has been Detroit's most consistent performer (except maybe Lidstrom) in the playoffs.
  • Datsyuk's goal in the second was a tremendous display of effort and craftiness. As Nabokov came out of the net to play a Detroit clear, Datsyuk charged right at him, gave him a quick shoulder fake to his right, and then blocked Nabokov's clearing attempt to the left. He was then able to put the puck into the abandoned net, giving Detroit a huge momentum boost and swinging the series in the Red Wings' favor. The Datsyuk-Zetterburg-Holmstrom line absolutely dominated the game today, and clearly outshined the heralded first line of San Jose.
  • The defense really stepped up in the absence of Mathieu Schneider, who left the game in the first with a broken wrist and will miss the rest of the playoffs. Lidstrom logged almost 30 minutes of ice time, and was his usual Norris-winning self. Lilja has been very solid in the playoffs, and continued his strong play with a great game this afternoon. The only concern on the back line seems to be AHL call-up Kyle Quincey, who was exposed by Milan Michalek in the third with a deke that undressed Quincey and gave Michalek a wide open lane to the net.
  • Schneider's injury may hurt the Detroit power play for the duration of the playoffs, although Samuelsson scored from Schneider's familiar point spot in the third. Hopefully he can continue his strong play from this game, and Brett Lebda can return from his ankle injury soon (he practiced Friday but was scratched for today's game). Otherwise, Detroit will be dangerously thin on defense.
Overall, a fantastic effort from Detroit today, especially in the final two periods. Game 6 is Monday in San Jose.

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