They did it. Our flawed and aggravating team of a few months ago has very slowly molded into one of the four best teams in the loaded Western Conference. It's probably the coaching and the good players and junk. I love those guys.
The Wings played with a sharpness, confidence and focus tonight that quite frankly I wasn't expecting. Hoping for, obviously. But not expecting. Not after looking shaky with leads, or looking pushed back on their heals against Anaheim's fearsome forecheck. Aside from a scare at the end (holy god, let's skip that part), this was as good a job I could have imagined this group pulling off in a road Game 7.
Here's a few bullets. You should be drinking or something instead so don't read this.
- A little bit of a surprise to the start as Datsyuk and Zetterberg were split up. Surprise! Game 7 surprises are fun.
- The Wings had the early juice and Zetterberg's line, which included Filppula and Cleary on either side of him, was excellent. Z scored the first of the game after picking up a rebound from Fil while Cleary was running traffic at the net. Filppula and Cleary helped the Red Wings score a goal. I said Filppula and Cleary helped the Red Wings score a goal. I said Fi
- During Detroit's dominant start to the game, Dan Cleary was driving the net each shift like his infant child was dangling from a cliff behind Jonas Hiller. Cleary is an interesting topic among our fanbase in that it has become trendy to dog the absolute shit out the guy-- (literally in the middle of this sentence Cleary boarded a guy stupidly and I don't feel like finishing this thought.)
- Ken Daniels' voice was really put to the test during this series. A bunch of overtime games will do that to a guy. He started the series sounding like Ken Daniels and he ended it sounding like the lady from those terrible anti-smoking ads.
- After the first five minutes or so, the Ducks sort of reclaimed control of the game. And then Justin Abdelkader scored a shorthanded goal to retake the lead. Graham said it best: Abby is now a legitimately important member of the Detroit Red Wings and that is weird. So are we, like, supposed to submit a group apology? What do we do here? Literally every last one of us -- the dumb ones, the smart ones, the troll ones, the bandwagon ones .... everyone bitched about Babcock refusing to take Abdelkader off of the scoring lines during the regular season. It did not appear to be working. But Babcock steadfastly and stubbornly kept him glued up there with the big guns come hell or high water. "Hell" might not have changed things, actually. "Satan plays a heavy game but he can lick my ass," Babcock once famously said. So I don't know man, I really don't know how to process Justin Abdelkader. Babs can either read the future, is clinically insane, or actually knows what he's doing most of the time.
- Z, Cleary and Fil teamed up for another to give the Wings a two goal lead. Just a silly backhand set up by Hank. And get this: Valtteri Filppula scored the goal. Valtteri Filppula scored the goal. I SAID
- This could've been the final time that Teemu Selanne ever has to face the Red Wings. With his team down by two in the 2nd period, Teemu's veteran leadership and savvy took him right into the crease where he laid his stick on Howard (who propelled himself backward as if he took a shotgun to the chest) and then tomahawked Patrick Eaves' head, taking a penalty. No more games vs. the Wings might be good for him because dude was about one more of these away from throwing a trident at the Detroit bench.
- Thanks for letting our fans be heard loud and clear, Duck faithful. The Anaheim portion of the crowd sounded like they were attending a funeral for most of the game. Oh wait--
- Who was the series MVP? Toss up between Howard and Zetterberg for me. Maybe Howard since Z tried to kill us at the end there with the delay of game Or maybe Babcock. I don't know dude I just love this team, god dammit this was awesome.
2nd round, who'da thunk it.