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Blackhawks Blog: Second City Hockey
Icing on the cake.
They shouldn't even be here.
What are "Things Jeff Has Said To Himself The Last 24 Hours!"
Two weeks ago, I would have been thrilled beyond belief if someone told me the Red Wings would be in a Game 7 against the Blackhawks. I thought Chicago was going to have this thing wrapped up in 5 games. Then, of course, that 3-1 series lead happened. Expectations creeped in and began to settle down and make a home in my mind. I went from just happy to be here to thinking of the future. The last two games have slapped me back to reality though. Silly of me to think the Blackhawks couldn't come back. They won 76 games-in-a-row during the regular season. Surely they could win 3 straight.
I won't rehash what happened in Games 5 and 6. It doesn't matter at this point. It no longer matters how the Wings got here to Game 7. It just matters that the Wings are here in Game 7.
It's back to being happy to be here. It's back to just enjoying the ride.
All that noise about all the pressure being on the Red Wings and the Hawks have all the momentum, well, it's all a bunch of crap. Momentum is only as good as your next day's starting pitcher. And since Justin Verlander probably doesn't know how to skate and throwing a puck at 100+ mph would be illegal in hockey, we'll have to settle for James Tiberius Howard III as our 'starting pitcher.' He's been good this postseason. Real solid. I'd even venture to say that he's been very good. But if he wants to be great… if he wants to be the best... he needs to close the door tonight. Tell the boys to get on your back, kick momentum in the ass and carry this team to victory.
Regardless the outcome, though, if tonight is the end, it's been one hell of a ride. J.J. told me that win or lose tonight he's proud of this Red Wings team. Really hard to disagree with him there. The future didn't always look so bright this season. The team appeared to be a lot farther away than we all wanted. But here we are with the best team in hockey in a winner take all. If Chicago loses, their season is a major failure. For Detroit, win or lose, their season has already been a success thanks to this run. The Red Wings have defied the odds so far during the playoffs. Maybe they have one more trick up their sleeves to defy the odds once again.
Give 'em hell, boys.
The Expected Lineup
Jimmy Howard (starting)
|RED WINGS||PLAYOFF MATCH-UP||BLACKHAWKS|
|2.46 (8th in NHL)||Goals Per Game||2.82 (6th in NHL)|
|2.69 (10th)||Goals Against Per Game||1.91 (2nd)|
|14.9% (12th)||Power Play %||18.2% (10th)|
|75.6% (13th)||Penalty Kill %||97.4% (1st)|
|Damien Brunner (5 goals)||Goal Leader||Patrick Sharp (6 goals)|
|Henrik Zetterberg (11 points)||Points Leader||2 tied 10 points|
- The Red Wings are 38-42 (W-L) all-time against the Chicago Blackhawks in the postseason. Chicago has won 8 of the 15 series between these clubs.
- Last time these two teams met in a Game 7 in the postseason was April 15, 1965. The Black Hawks topped the Red Wings 4-2. Sid Abel was Detroit's coach and there were only 6 teams in the league back then. The internet doesn't have boxscores going back that far, so let's just pretend Gordie Howe and Norm Ullman scored for the Wings. Chicago would go on to lose to the Canadiens in the Cup Final.
- Howard is 2-1 with a 2.02 GAA and .938 SV% in Game 7's. All three games were played on the road.
- Here's how tonight's Wings lineup has done in Game 7's: