Monday, April 26, 2010

Bad Habits Bite Detroit, Coyotes Force Game 7

"They won the special teams battle. That sucked the life out of our team." - Coach Mike Babcock

Unfortunately Mike, Phoenix won more than the special teams battles. Phoenix came into Detroit knowing they faced elimination and did what they needed to do to survive: outplay the Red Wings. Of course, the Wings didn't necessarily make that a difficult task. Detroit amassed 33 shots on goal in yesterday's 5-2 loss, and a lot of those shots were pretty good ones, quality scoring chances. Here's the problem: you need to SCORE on scoring chances for them to count for something. The Red Wings, in what is becoming a frighteningly typical fashion, blew a lot of opportunities given up by Phoenix that would have allowed Detroit to blow this game wide open. Greatest of these has to be the almost half-a-period powerplay Detroit was awarded early in the 1st period. Phoenix garnered 6 minutes of penalty time within the first 4:42 of the game, the later stages of which was a 5 on 3. What did Detroit get out of it? A 1-0 deficit by giving up a short-handed goal!!

It was from this point on I knew it was going to be a rough game. If the Wings couldn't even tie the game after the shortie went in and before the man-advantage was over, we were basically relying on lucky bounces to get pucks past Ilya Bryzgalov. Lucky bounces didn't cut it. Even when we scored to make it 5-2, the play was reviewed and ruled initially as no goal. As I stated before, the Hockey Gods do not bandwagon one team all the time, and they surely swapped jerseys from Detroit to Phoenix for the game yesterday afternoon. This is just more proof that Detroit is not giving its all in these games and that is a big BIG concern, because tomorrow is the big one, either the Red Wings win and advance, or they're done, a first round exit for the first time in years after going to the Cup Finals two years in a row.

I don't want that to happen, obviously, but the Wings have to share that sentiment and act on it!! They can't just wish their way into Round 2, damnit!! Detroit needs to bury those chances instead of shooting wide and hitting posts!! Stop wasting time cycling the damn puck for 80% of a powerplay and get guys to the net for rebounds!! Stop peeling off at the blueline and take that puck deep into the offensive zone, make guys chase you and pull them out of position!!!

You may have noticed I'm avoiding the Winning Formula in this report. The reason for this is simple: You can have the greatest, most unbeatable strategy in the world. But at the end of the day, if you can't put the puck in the net when the chance shows itself, you are not going to win hockey games. The Formula for yesterday was made irrelevant because Detroit just could not cash in when given the chance. Phoenix did, and Phoenix won. There's a simple formula if I ever saw one.

Well Wingnuts, brace yourselves for Game 7. Back in Arizona, Arena will be the loudest it's ever been, Shane Doan will likely be back in the lineup, and the Wings are going to get more battered than they've ever been in this series. If they don't come to play for reals, there's gonna be a desert funeral with Detroit's name on it.

Keep the faith Wingnuts, one more game to decide it all for this Round!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!