We all saw that coming, right?
I mean, I know we all wanted the Wings to win, but the Blackhawks had the type of regular season that shows that they're, you know, kind of good. And tonight, for the first time all season, they had to play with the kind of desperation that the Wings have experienced for a month but the Hawks had been able to avoid.
At home, facing elimination, against their biggest rival and the lowest remaining seed in the playoffs, the Hawks came out with the kind of effort we all expected. But what we didn't expect was the Wings to pretty much just roll over about halfway through the game and start prepping for Game 6 so early.
Clark said it best:
Backs against the wall, playing at home... If the Hawks hadn't played like this they'd have been the jokes we wish they were— Clark Rasmussen (@detroithockey96) May 26, 2013
I know the narratives are coming, but tonight was about the Wings not matching the Hawks' desperation and looking like they were skating in quicksand all night. It was very reminiscent of Game 1, only without the Jimmy Howard heroics (although he did make 41 saves). Everything that the Wings did right in the last 3 games they did horribly wrong tonight, including failing to make life difficult for Corey Crawford.
- Coming in to the game, the big worry was whether the Wings could handle the Hawks over the first 10 minutes of the game. While the Wings were on their heels for most of the first period, they were able to escape without giving up too many quality chances. It was the start we all expected, but the Wings looked a step behind through most of the first period.
- We've said a lot of good things about a lot of players on the Wings this series, but I haven't been super impressed with Johan Franzen. He hasn't been bad at all (his goal in Game 2 was a beauty) but I'm waiting for him to do.......something. In a series that has been this contentious and physical, Mule should be a force because it's the playoffs and he likes that stuff. Yet outside of the one goal he's just kind of been "there" and he could be the difference in Game 6.
- You know who has been having a good series? Dan Cleary. Goals in consecutive games have him tied with Pavel Datsyuk in points in the playoffs with 8, which is only 7 less than he had all season. How's that for a scary stat?
- I have never seen a team struggle to clear the puck out of their own zone on the PK like the 2013 Red Wings. Twice the Wings had open opportunities to get the puck down the ice and both times it led to Blackhawk power play goals. It's not like this is a new thing, either. this year's slogan could be "Detroit Red Wings hockey: GET IT OUT MOTHER FUCKERS!!!"
- Oh Justin Abdelkader. This was not a game to remember for him. He negated a Wings' PP when the Wings were only down 1 early in the second period, then took a terrible cross-checking penalty that led to the Hawks' third goal. Abby's been effective at getting in the face of the Hawks, but tonight showed that sometimes he can cross the line and play stupid.
- Get ready for the narratives, because they're coming, and they're not going to be pretty. Jonathan Toews scored a goal, so the pressure is off him and he's going to light the Wings up. The Hawks finally got a PP goal so it's going to be amazing in Game 6. The Hawks have all the momentum and have "re-discovered" how to beat the Red Wings. The Wings are in serious trouble and they might as well just forfeit the next couple of games because the Hawks are too good and powerful and will steamroll the Wings in Games 6 and 7.
- Here's the thing: the next game is in Detroit, and Quenneville isn't smart enough to figure out how to keep Toews away from Zetterberg. The Blackhawks were better tonight, no question, but it was because they played with a desperation that hadn't been required in any game up to this point. And to my eye, Chicago looked as good tonight as they did in Game 1, and we all remember how the Wings responded to that loss. As we said after Game 1 and as every Hawk fan said after Games 2, 3, and 4, it's all about the next one, and the Wings are still in a good position. Honestly, what would you have done had it been possible to get the Wings up 3-2 after 5 games? Who won Game 5 isn't important, it's about who is up in the series, and the Wings are still there.