Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wings Sting Stanley Cup Champs in Shootout

The first portion of the game was terrible.  The finish was fantastic.

Detroit came into last night's match a heavy underdog, but how could they not?  Heavily under-manned and facing the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the most prolific offensive teams in the league this year, the analysts had this one wrote off before it even began.  Surely it seemed they would be correct after the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the 1st, but then when it all looked like the same old song, something magical happened.

The Red Wings played like the Red Wings.

Detroit managed to tie the game at 2 with goals from Tomas Tatar and Patrick Eaves before the end of the 1st.  Then, after giving Chicago the lead again in the 2nd, the Wings not only tied the game back up but actually took their first lead of the game with another pair of goals from Kyle Quincey and Gustav Nyquist.  It was lucky for us that the Wings found all this offense at one time, because the lead did not carry long into the 3rd period, as Jonas Gustavsson, who had fought the puck all night, gave up another goal to tie the game at 4 apiece.

The scoring would stop there for regulation time, and overtime drew no solution.  Alas, back to the dreaded shootout we went.  But wait...all of a sudden, we're scoring goals in the shootout, and Monster is somehow making stops at the most critical junctures, even making two saves on Patrick Kane's attempt!  Eaves and Bertuzzi banged home a pair to keep us in the game as the shootout went to extra rounds, marking save after save, until finally it was Darren Helm's turn, and he did not disappoint.  A quick snap of the stick and the puck was past Corey Crawford.  With a clutch save by Gustavsson on Andrew Shaw just previous, Helm locked up the win for the Wings over their hated enemies, as well as 2 precious points to tie them for the final wildcard spot in the East.

This game was as refreshing as it was entertaining.  We finally got a game where injuries were no excuse, the guys on the ice just worked their asses off and got the job done.  It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but it sure was satisfying.