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Game 4 Post Game Thoughts

I like winning.

Gregory Shamus
  • The Red Wings have a 100% postseason win rate with Bertuzzi in the lineup this season. (I kid... well.. sort of). It's only a 4 game sample size, but still... Having Bertuzzi on the 4th line has made a big difference, on the ice, on the bench and in the dressing room. Last night he kept telling the kids on the bench, "Even if we have to throw 50 at them it's gonna go, it's gonna happen". Having another veteran on the team, who's been here before and can help keep moral us is significant, especially with how mentally fragile the team was early on in the season.
  • We talked before the series started about how the forward lines matched up between the two teams, and the top lines were pretty even. I said in the season preview that how the 3'd and 4th lines matched up was going to be very important in the series. In the first couple games, our bottom lines didn't perform well enough, and the 4th line got dominated. Last night our 4th line became our 3'd and was fantastic. They had energy, created chances, shot the puck, wore the Ducks down, had offensive pressure, and without that line stepping up, I think the outcome of the game would have been much different. That line combined for 10 sog 8 hits (Eaves had 6!) and were all over the ice. I can't say enough about how impressed with them I am.
  • Abdelkader gets to play another game. I'm sure he's feeling relieved, and maybe he'll be able to sleep now.
  • Patrick Eaves... I don't know where to begin. He's been good after coming back from a concussion, but he wasn't as good as he was before. The Patrick Eaves we're seeing in the playoffs is the Eaves we know and love. He was fantastic, last night especially, and.... Just wow. Welcome back Eaves!
  • Damien Brunner is one of my favorite narratives to come out of last night. After an absolutely brutal turnover that cost us a game turning goal in game 3, and playing less ice time in game 4 than anyone else, Brunner nets the OT game winner to earn sweet sweet redemption. The quotes and perspectives from him and his teammates is too good not to share.

After game 3, Brunner felt awful (who wouldn't?)

"I blamed myself so much, I had a terrible night, I couldn't sleep. … Obviously, it was my fault that we didn't have a chance to come back in the game...

That's what you appreciate. It's my first year in the NHL. You make a mistake like that, you blame yourself the most. It doesn't go away. The guys picked it up for me. It was awesome...

I blame myself a lot, it was not the best night of my life, but you know, the guys did a good job, kept me going the next day, kept my head up, they were joking about it, obviously I’m pretty happy that it ended up like that.""

Brendan Smith said he and Datsyuk were both razzing Brunner about the turnover, Smith said "I heard you made the highlights", and one of Brunner's friends back in Switzerland told him he should contact the league to make sure he got an assist on Getzlaf's goal.Some other teammates showed their support and let him know they were still with him and knew how he felt. Brunner said it made him feel needed for the next game.

Brunner didn't have his best game last night either and only played 11:16 last night and had the lowest corsi on the team (-7), it wasn't easy for him, and Babcock said post game:

We used him more sparingly tonight because other guys were heavier on the puck. He’s a guy who just flat out scores, he knows how to score. He’s going to be a good Red Wing in time, he’s going to learn how to play right and he’s going to learn how to play heavy. You don’t have to be heavy to play heavy, but he’ll figure all that stuff out. The other thing about a guy who loves to score, he loves to be out on the ice, and when you look at your minutes and you don’t get the minutes you want, you figure out a way to do something about that if you’re competitive, and he’s that.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending, for us, for the team, and especially for Brunner. Getting the overtime winner in the playoffs is a pretty big deal, especially after game 3...

I’ve had harder goals to score, but it’s a pretty big one. Obviously a huge relief, and after the whole team’s coming onto the ice, that’s a great feeling.

Just watch the goal again and watch the celebration and excitement. Brunner gets absolutely mauled and he loves it. Also, Nyquist's signature goal celebration seems to be leaping into the arms of his teammates, and I absolutely love it. I love seeing players celebrate goals (especially big ones) with passion and enthusiasm. "Goose Leaping" is now a thing.

  • There was praise all around for what Jimmy Howard has meant to the team all year. Brendan Smith said Jimmy has been the backbone for the team all year, and he likes having him back there because "he's saving my behind quite a bit".
  • Jimmy said he had a couple games where he wasn't himself, and felt like he needed to go out there and prove himself all over.
  • Smith, Quincey, Lashoff and Kindl all had rough times last night (some more than others).. But just think, with all the mistakes they made last night, they've learned a lot and will be better tomorrow. *crosses fingers*

If you go through the whole game, our young D had their moments that they weren’t very nice to look at or watch. It was great to see him (Kindl), that’s what he’s gotta do, he’s gotta move the puck, that’s what he is. But we’ve got to be better without it too. When you look at this game and you look at the shots, you think, Jeeze, we dominated the game, and we did. But we gave up glorious chances, absolute glorious chances . Corey Perry, Getzlaf, we gave them the puck and let them walk in… That can’t happen.- Babcock

  • How did Babcock think Samuelsson did?

I like everything about him except the net front presence. He makes good plays, he’s big, he’s strong, he skates. They need someone at the net, they could have had more if they had a guy at the net, so we’ve got to talk about that. That’s not his nature, he’s never been that guy on any line, but if you’re going to play with those guys, you’ve got to be at the net.

  • There was a lot of line shuffling last night, and Babcock's comments about the Eaves-Emmerton-Bertuzzi line sum up the reasoning nicely:

I thought they were the 3’d line and Andy’s line was the 4th line. Just because you start the game in one spot, doesn’t mean you have to stay. As soon as they were better than the other line, they got to play more. I thought Bert was good, I played him with different people throughout the night and I thought he was real effective. Patty Eaves skated as good as he has all year tonight, so that was good, they were a good group for us.

  • The first 10 minutes of the game were scary, and I was getting nervous, but there was a turning point in the game that the Wings fed off. It started with a "Todd Ber-Tuzzi" chant, that segued into a Kronwalling, and led the crowd to instigate a "You Got Kronwalled" chant that still gives me goosebumps. After that, the Wings came to life. The Joe was rocking last night, the crowd was electric and louder than I've heard them in a while. Eaves said

"The crowd was so loud that we couldn't even hear who was going out at times"

  • I'll leave you with these final thoughts from Babcock, because it sums things up nicely.

It’s a best of 3 now, and the longer we can put this off, the better I like our chances. As low as we were the other night, we’re as high tonight, that’s the playoffs.

It’s about will, it’s about determination and mental toughness. We have to go into their barn and we’ve got to steal another game.