Where was the “D”
Chicago runs all over the Red Wings, Again!
In a perfect world fans would be treated to their home town team winning and for the most part the Red Wings have provided us with just that all season. Well except for the injury laden month of February when the Red Wings went 4-8-2.
Lastnight the Detroit Red Wings were victims of a cruel joke, someone had broken in and replaced all the Red Wings’ players with impersonators and it appears the Blackhawk’s realized this and took full advantage of the situation. Well not really but that’s what it looked like. Hasek was coming off a brilliant shutout against Nashville and after missing so many games either with injury or sickness wanted to get back into form. The playoff’s start in less than a week so Dom needs all the games he can get in before the second season starts.
Just prior to the game starting you could feel the excitement in the United Center and one could tell the Blackhawk’s were not just going to roll over. Chicago’s hopes and aspiration are to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000 and they had already beaten the Red Wings on four occasions this year. Khabibulin had only recently returned from missing several games with injury and had won his last four games and was looking like a determined player just prior to the start of the game.
Hasek and Osgood leading the league and fewest goals allowed are in line for the Jennings Trophy. Hasek, 43 is looking to get the Red Wings on a roll and head into the playoffs on a high note. Red Wings top line of Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen all having career years have been working very hard getting ready for the playoff according to Wings coach Mike Babcock.
This game started off all one sided and that was in Chicago’s favor. They took play to the Red Wings scoring 3 goals on 6 shots, all within a 2 minute period. Hasek watched two deflections beat him and the third goal allowed would result in him being pulled and Osgood finishing the game. Hasek was to play Lastnight, Osgood one Thursday at the Joe and Hasek finishing the regular season game at home against these very Blackhawk’s.
Where’s the “D”! We fans could look on and say Hasek is finished and he should just call it a career. The question is, where, is the defense during all these goals. Hasek received no help from the guys in front, coverage broke down and the Wings just left Hasek out to dry, that’s what happened to the Dominator. Osgood replaced Hasek in the first period and would finish allowing 3 goals in the next two periods.
The Wings did manage to get something rolling when down by three, Zetterberg would get one back late in the first and make it 3-1. Chicago was just not content allowing Detroit to score. They would have to match goal for goal. Just after the start of the second period Dustin Byfuglien would tally a powerplay goal and give Chicago a 3 goal lead once again. Detroit counted and scored a little less than 3 minutes later on a turnover. Kirk Maltby would take the puck down the right board, cut in on Khabibulin and pick up a rebound and backhand one in making it 4-2. Maltby’s goal was unassisted and his 6th of the season.
Patrick Kane would score just a few minutes later and late in the third Adam Burish would tally his third goal of the season giving the Blackhawk’s a 6-2 lead and the Wings would not recover. Chicago’s hopes of making the playoffs continue on and although they need those above them to lose out, they still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs.
With two games remaining the Red Wings still need that one point to capture the elusive Presidents Trophy and Red Wing fans can only hope that happens tomorrow night at the Joe against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The President Trophy would ensure home ice advantage throughout the playoffs and assure the Wings top seed and allow Coach Babcock to rest some key players for a few games.
One can be assured that tomorrow the Red Wings will be working their tails off, the rest will have to come later and the message will be, be responsible for your guy, defense will need to protect the net and give the Wings goaltenders some help. Keep the opponent to the outside, watch for the stretch play and don’t get caught deep in the offensive zone. Forwards will have to be stronger on the back check and forchecking. Play your man and be ready to pounce on any turnover and put shots on net.
We will see if Detroit can manage to gain that point against Columbus and if the Wings are ready to take control and play power hockey as they have most of the season. I personally don’t think there is a sense of urgency in the locker room, the wings are in the playoffs but you can’t just relax and not keep working towards winning.