Thoughts on Game 26 (5-4 sho win over Chicago)
-- Andreas Lilja looked bad on the second Chicago goal that tied the score at 2-2. The interesting part was that when Jonathan Toews came on the ice, Brett Lebda recognized it and darted for the bench with the Wings in Chicago's zone. On came Brad Stuart. Lilja, however, didn't exit. Stuart and Lilja both play the right side despite being left-handed sticks. Lilja was on his off point and moved to the right when Lebda left, despite Stuart being a right point as well. Lilja then pinched in, which created the situation of Toews bearing down on a back-pedaling Dan Cleary. That didn't turn out well.
-- Lilja also looked bad on the third Chicago goal. Detroit is working a strong rotation on the penalty-kill, meaning defensemen will rotate up top if needed. When his partner went high, Lilja didn't rotate from the right to left point despite Pavel Datsyuk being in position to rotate down to the right point. That left Toews wide open to punish Ty Conklin for going down so, so early.
-- Derek Meech didn't get on the ice in the third period. Coach Mike Babcock shortened his bench and shuffled five players on the third and fourth lines.
-- Kris Draper was in the eight-forward rotation in overtime. I'm not sure why. Sure, get him out there for defensive-zone faceoffs, but pull him off right away. Draper was part of the fourth defense pairing with Mikael Samuelsson. Jiri Hudler didn't get on the ice in OT. Neither did Tomas Holmstrom.
-- Pavel Datsyuk had a game-high four hits. The one where he ran over Versteeg in overtime like a freight train was beautiful. The impressive part was Versteeg saw Datsyuk coming and tried a move that didn't come close to derailing Pavel.