Detroit Globetrotters

Tomas Holmstrom #96 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates with teammates Pavel Datsyuk #13, Nicklas Lidstrom #5 and Todd Bertuzzi #44 after Holmstrom scored a second period goal against the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on January 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.

A game where a team dominates from the outset normally goes one of two ways; either the team continues to dominate and steamrolls their  opposition, or the dominated team catches a lucky break which turns the tide in their favour. What is very rare is to see a team catch a lucky break and then continue to get absolutely dominated. That was the story of tonight’s game 7 between Detroit and Phoenix.

I must admit I was worried coming  into the game. Phoenix’s game 6 win wasn’t a big deal because momentum wasn’t even in the vocabulary of this series, but just the way they had overcome everthing thrown at them this season, it just felt like destiny was on their side.

The beginnings of game 6 and 7 were almost identical in that they were all Detroit. The difference tonight was that Phoenix didn’t score a shorthanded goal to pull the plug on the Wings’ onslaught. They outshot Phoenix 17-6 in the 1st tonight, but Bryzgalov simply stood on his head. I was nervous as hell going into the second frame because I knew his play was a confidence builder for him, and all the Coyotes needed was one little bounce to go their way, and all over Detroit’s chances would be for nothing.

Thankfully, the Wings came out flying again and scored on a powerplay and followed that up with this beauty goal by Pavel Datsyuk just 1:41 later:

Things were looking good at 2-0, until Vernon Fiddler scored off the friggin faceoff, putting an extremely weak one by Howard. Remember the whole ‘dominated team catching a lucky break’ schpiel, well I thought it was on its’ way.

But within minutes of that goal, it was like nothing had even happened. Sure the building was loud but Detroit was still carrying the play and completely outworking Phoenix. While people will point to the 5 on 3 kill later in the game, the dagger in the heart may have actually been Holmstrom somehow getting Aucoin to take a penalty on him. This was definitely not a penalty, but it really turned the tide for good.

The Wings PP on the Aucoin penalty was a clinic in puck management, cycling and hard work. I need to find a replay of that so I can count how many passes they made, but it was truly something to see. Phoenix definitely looked like the Washington Generals for these two minutes.

I’m not going to touch on the rest here but just a great showing by the veteran Wings as they proved once again that they are not ‘washed up’. 39 shots in the first two periods and really just outplayed Phoenix in every aspect. Great season for Phoenix that they will definitely be able to build on next year with the likely additions of Turris and Boedker.

Bring on the Sharks

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