Thoughts on Game 2 vs. Anaheim
Hossa said after the game that the Ducks were doing a good job of taking away their speed. Good analysis. Still, even with neutral-zone speed gone, the Datsyuk line should be able to outplay the Marchant line in the offensive zone. That end has to pick up significantly.
With the Zetterberg line drawing the assignment of containing the Getzlaf line, Datsyuk's line has to outplay its line.
-- Franzen is obviously a big playoff performer, but his clutch ability keeps amazing me. I thought his goal yesterday was going to turn the game to the Wings.
-- Playing with five defensemen wasn't a big deal for the Red Wings in a triple overtime game. They have much more depth than the Ducks and sacrificing a little by sitting Chelios still left Detroit deeper. Lidstrom didn't play as many minutes as Pronger did.
-- Who would have guessed that Jonathan Ericsson would be logging top-three defenseman ice time in the playoffs and shine.
-- The Red Wings have the better goalie in this series which bodes well.
-- I was very impressed with one early battle behind the Anaheim net early between Pronger and Helm. Pronger couldn't move Helm. I'm sure he bruised him, but Helm won the position battle. Add to that Helm's attack style in his limited minutes and he's made a wonderful transition from top-line minor-leaguer to fourth-line NHLer.
-- Kronwall still doesn't look right. He's adding a big hit or two, but he's doing things like letting the puck through his feet for a big scoring chance and not making the same quick puck movement that he did last playoffs. On the other hand, Stuart looks better than he ever has in a Red Wings jersey. He looks like a former first-round draft pick. He's filling in nicely on the PP.
-- Total hits for Detroit, 63. Cleary had 9, Helm 8, Ericsson 7.
-- The defensive play of the Detroit forwards has been remarkable. This is why I like a player like Samuelsson. He is well above an average defensive forward, dropping back to cover the point when the D rush, jumping on a Duck when he's in front of the net. Sammy, Franzen, Cleary, Hossa ... they are where they need to be without hesitation. They (along with the obvious ones, Datsyuk and Zetterberg) are why opponents don't get many odd-man rushes.
-- That said, Datsyuk looked bad on the winning goal. He waved at Marchant just inside the blue line. The Wings actually had a 4-on-3 man advantage inside their own blue line, but Datsyuk letting Marchant go forced Stuart to react and leave his assignment. That switch gave Marchant the top of the circle. A nice drive by Rob Niedermayer, who Stuart had to leave, created a goal. Had Datsyuk skated with Marchant and allowed Stuart to tie up Niedermayer, there likely wouldn't have been a goal.