Thoughts on Game 2 vs. Chicago
That said, let's give equal praise to the play by Mikael Samuelsson. Jiri Hudler had dropped down low. Samuelsson's job was to guard the other point, but he left that station to pressure Campbell. That's a very unusual move, but a clever one. Samuelsson was counting on a defensive rotation picking up his point should Campbell get a pass through. What I liked about Samuelsson's safe gamble was that he forced Campbell into dumping the puck down low, where Hudler was and the Wings had better numbers. If Campbell opted to go where the Hawks had better numbers (the other point), it was a high-risk pass. Campbell took that option and lost.
And here's what I really like about that play. It highlights why I don't like golfing or bowling. I don't like sports that count every shot. Hockey, basketball, baseball, football ... you can make a mistake, then hit the winning shot and you're a hero. Samuelsson made a mistake early in the game (not clearing the zone) that led to a Chicago power play goal. But that was outweighed by his winning play.
Golf counts every stroke the same. I don't like a sport that doesn't forgive.
-- I pointed this out earlier, but Babcock said that Kirk Maltby will be in the lineup for Game 3. A good guess is that Justin Abdelkader will be scratched.
-- Babcock was obviously not happy with the defense played on Patrick Kane in Game 2. After the game, Babcock said that Kane was "having way too much fun out there." In the second period, Babcock switched his defensive assignments on Kane, putting the Zetterberg line, Lidstrom and Rafalski against him, taking them off the Toews line.
Zetterberg's line has been the shut-down forward line all season. But Datsyuk's line always was a 1b option. Now it seems like Babcock has much more confidence in the Zetterberg line defensively. One part of that is that Cleary and Franzen are outstanding defensive wingers. One part is that Datsyuk's left wing has been rotating and when it's Holmstrom, he's not great defensively. And perhaps the biggest part is Zetterberg himself. I'll have to remember this for next season's Selke voting.
-- Darren Helm is invaluable. He's also valuable. Odd how invaluable and valuable aren't opposites.
-- Chris Osgood has been remarkable. Again he's the better goalie in the series. He's just so confident this post-season. I just wish he wouldn't be so confident handling the puck and leave it for his teammates. He and Brett Lebda were still talking about one miscommunication in the lockerroom after the game. There you go. Miscommunication and communication are opposites.
-- I was wrong in my post saying that I was more afraid of Chicago than Anaheim. Either the Hawks' youth is a bigger factor than anyone thought or this is a good style matchup for the Wings, or both.