Sunday, May 12, 2013

Go Big or Go Home: Wings/Ducks Series Ends Tonight

There have been highlight reel moments, controversies, and everything in between during the six games that have made up the Detroit/Anaheim first round playoff series, but one thing is certain: One team is advancing to the second round after this evening's tilt.

The Red Wings found a way to stave off the Ducks' roaring last stand which was enough to surmount a 2-goal lead late in the 3rd period, but fell short when Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg blasted the puck past Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller to close out Game 6 and push the series to its final game.  It was not the first time Detroit had blown a significant lead in the series, but a win is a win and it is now up to the Wings to learn from their near-fatal mistakes and come out hard if they hope to knock off the resilient Ducks.

Playing hard will indeed be the key, this Wings club has been way too damn soft on the Anaheim skaters.  If Detroit wants to close this out and move on, the Wings need to grind out the Ducks forwards and kill their forecheck.  Far too many times have we allowed the Ducks to move the puck along the boards with little resistance and come out into the middle of the ice for scoring chances.  The less scoring chances we allow, the better.

Despite what some would say, Jimmy Howard has been a beast in this series. Besides the blowout in Game 3, every game of this series has been close, and that is in LARGE part thanks to Howard. He has made critical saves at critical points, and has continually kept the Red Wings in their matches.  Has he let in a softie or two? Sure, but hasn't Hiller?  The fact remains that Jimmy Howard has played lights out when he's had to, and has helped give Detroit this chance to end the series in their favor.

Play hard, but play smart. If the Wings can do that, they are wholly capable of defeating the Ducks in their own barn...or pond, or whatever the hell they wanna call it.  If things go my way, they can call it 'Closed until October.'

This is the one that counts, guys! Let's Go Red Wings!!