We can all agree that blaming officiating is a cop-out. We can all agree that the men in stripes will make mistakes here and there. We can all agree that bad calls are a part of the game.
That's why we're not going to talk about how horrendously inconsistent the referees were in today's game.
In the last ever game recap of the 2013-14 season, we're going to talk about how despite all odds, despite the extreme youth, and despite losing the captain for two full months, the Red Wings did the impossible and made the playoffs for the 23rd straight year in a row.
Unfortunately, Red Wings fans didn't even get time to savor the appearance as the Bruins won four straight against the Winged Wheel.
Read this, recite this, and burn it into your brain: The Red Wings defeated themselves.
Sure, the series was inexperienced kids and two injured workhorses against a big, bad, and good Bruins teams, but for all the hyping up everyone was doing in terms of talking about the Red Wings having as good of a chance as anyone to defeat Boston, they fell flat.
Boston played a physical game that deterred the Red Wings from sticking with the speed game that worked down the stretch. A few dirty plays later, the Red Wings did everything wrong from inopportune turnovers to bad penalties.
Detroit wasn't good.
Call it a lack of confidence, call it inexperience, call it #*Y$@(%#%, but here's how game five served as a microcosm of the Wings' underwhelming play in the series:
- Here's the box score, which shows two powerplay goals for Boston and the ugly truth for the Red Wings.
- The Red Wings took far too many penalties for their own good, and the Boston Bruins scored two powerplay goals out of four total in the series. Taking a penalty for too many men with less than three minutes left in the game is not all that constructive, either. Six Penalties by Detroit on the day. Six.
- Xavier Ouellet could have been a little better with the puck, but he was largely sheltered and on the ice for a goal against. I don't fault him at all as it was his first career NHL Playoff game. He did a lot better and saved most of the fanbase from yelling about Jakub Kindl's ineptitude.
- I've plugged Johan Franzen quite a bit this season, especially during the time where Z and Datsyuk were both out with injuries. However, he was flat-out awful in this game and even worse in the rest of the series. Johan Franzen tried to clear the zone after a remarkable save by Jonas Gustavsson on Carl Soderberg, but instead of sending it up the boards or lifting it, he threw an average-height cross-ice wrister right at Torey Krug, who skated in and put a perfect pass onto the stick of Milan Lucic, left in front all alone by none other than Brian Lashoff to make it 3-1 Boston. This would turn out to be the game winner.
- Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are two amazing hockey players. One is playing on a broken back, another is playing on one leg a la Steve Yzerman. Not only that, they scored both of Detroit's goals today. I'm glad I got to see Zetterberg lace them up one last time this season as he's just such a pleasure to watch.
- Jonas Gustavsson, despite giving up three goals, made some absolutely wonderful saves under pressure and proved that the Red Wings' goaltending situation is going to have to seriously be evaluated this summer.
- Brad Marchand is living and breathing proof that it's possible to make millions of dollars annually while having an IQ of 20.
- The Bruins shut down Gustav Nyquist in this series. Gustav Nyquist didn't forget how to play hockey. Hell, the Bruins shut down the entire roster and allowed six goals in the entire series.
- Torey Krug was a steal for the Bruins. I wish the Wings signed him. Then again, he's tiny and the Wings need to get bigger.
- Luke Glendening is a beast on the puck, and a pest off of it. That contract extension makes me very happy because it's going to look really good over the next couple of years.
- The officiating was highly inconsistent, regardless of what is said by a particular NBC commentator who may have played with the Blackhawks and still does color commentary for CSN Chicago. Three penalties in the first 34 minutes of the game followed by a never-ending slurry of calls at the end of the second period was flat out dumb. Not only that, Pavel Datsyuk was obstructed on the faceoff by Patrice Bergeron which led directly to the Zdeno Chara goal with under four seconds to go in the second period. Yes, it was obstruction; Pavel Datsyuk fell right into the linesman with no call.
- Mike Babcock still is and always will be my hero and one of the best coaches in the world. It's seriously not fair to the rest of the league that the Red Wings have had both Scotty Bowman and Babs within the span of two decades. Babcock managed to coach a ton of kids into the playoffs and understood them every step of the way.
- The Fenwick Chart actually wasn't all that terrible all things considered:
- Do you want to talk about hits? Hahahaha.
- Jarome Iginla wasted half of his career in Calgary. What a shame. He's also become a prototypical diving Boston Bruin. What an even bigger shame. He fittingly iced the game into the open net to seal a Bruins-Habs second round matchup.
In all seriousness, the Red Wings were heroic in the regular season. Unfortunately, a lot of the postseason magic we remember from Detroit didn't happen this year. The Detroit Red Wings have one hell of a bright future and I can't wait for the journey that lies ahead.
Stick with us for CSSI analysis and offseason posts, as well as the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Thanks to everyone for making this place great. For one final time this year: LGRW.