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Report Card for Detroit Red Wings' 1st-Round Playoff Series

PJ SapienzaContributor IIIMay 13, 2013

Report Card for Detroit Red Wings' 1st-Round Playoff Series

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    The Detroit Red Wings were able to take down the higher-seeded Anaheim Ducks in seven games.  They were outscored in the series and had to win two games on the road, but they were able to get the wins that they needed.

    The Red Wings will now move on to play the Chicago Blackhawks in what will be a difficult series.

    The grades are based on a combination of issues.  Obviously performance is a major factor, but the player’s role on the team and expectations are taken into consideration beyond the pure stat line.

The A’s

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    The leaders of the team stepped upped and helped carry the team. 

    In Game 6, Henrik Zetterberg scored two goals, including one in overtime, which helped keep the Red Wing’s season alive.  Despite not scoring in the first five games of the series, he was still very active on the ice.

    He opened the scoring in Game 7 and helped lead the Wings to the second round.

    Pavel Datsyuk received the main focus from the Anaheim Ducks defense.  He was facing two or three players every time he touched the puck.  He had the team lead in points entering Game 7 and was his usual great all-around player over the entire ice.

    Niklas Kronwall is playing over 25 minutes a game and has played very well.  He was been lined up against the Ducks' Corey Perry for much of the series, and the high scoring winger was held scoreless in the series.  

The B’s

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    Damien Brunner has been a hero and a goat in this series.  He has been on the roller coaster of emotions with having one of the worst giveaways of the series when he coughed it up right in front of Jimmy Howard which they easily scored. 

    He turned around and had the game winner in the very next game in overtime.  For the series, he had two goals and three assists.  Like the other rookies, he gained some valuable experience this season and will hopefully improve even more.

    Joakim Andersson entered Game 7 leading the league in rookie faceoff percentage.  He was also third on the team in these areas.  He has greatly improved and has shown a lot of promise.

    Danny Cleary’s best years are behind him, but there is no doubting his heart and effort.  He scored two goals, had three assists and was all hustle on the ice. 

    Johan Franzen is all about the playoffs.  Entering Game 6 he had three goals but was also a minus-five.  The team will need even more goals from him in the next round.

    Patrick Eaves might be the most under-appreciated player on the team.  Over the final week of the season and into the first round, he might have been the hardest working player on the ice.  While he did not have many points to show for it, his all-out effort on every shift helped keep constant pressure on the Ducks.

    Gustav Nyquist scored an overtime game winner and had solid play throughout the series which earns him this grade.  He is making a place for himself on the roster for years to come.

    If not for the two-game suspension that he received for an illegal hit, Justin Abdelkader would have been an A.  Regardless if you agree with the hit, the penalty or the suspension, you just cannot put yourself or your team in a position where the refs or league office can make those types of decisions.

    When on the ice, he played very well.  He was easily the most improved player during the regular season, and it was great to see him continue that effort into the playoffs.

The C’s

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    Valtteri Filppula is meant to score and he just did not do that during the series.  Finally in Game 7, he was able to grab a lucky bounce off of Danny Cleary and score with it.  Hopefully that goal will get him going.  If the team has any chance to beat the Chicago Blackhawks, they will need last season’s version of Filppula to show up.

    He did great on faceoffs in the series but his no-look pass to nobody in Game 6 almost cost the team the series as it allowed the Ducks to climb back into the game.

    Brandon Smith had moments where he played very well, but had others where he made some costly mistakes.  Overall it was a successful effort for the rookie defender and hopefully an experience that he can learn from.

    Jimmy Howard has not played bad, but he also has not played great either.  His .905 save percentage going into Game 7 had him ranked 15th in the playoffs.  Granted there have been three times during the playoffs where his teammates made costly errors at the net which resulted in goals for the Ducks. Even being generous and subtracting those goals, he still does not crack the top ten.

    His Game 7 effort raised his save percentage to .911 and his goals against ended up at 2.78. Both numbers are only good enough to be ranked 14th in the playoffs.

    Now with that said, he has also made some tremendous saves during the series and had times where he was the only reason that the team was able to stay in games.  In the end, he ends up with a C.

    Mikael Samuelsson, Kyle Quincey, Jakub Kindl, Jonathan Ericsson, Todd Bertuzzi, Brian Lashoff and Corey Emmerton are just here.  There was not anything overly good or bad about their games.  Any time they made a good play that brought them attention, it would be followed by a penalty or some mistake on the ice. 

    They certainly were not bad; they just were not great either.  In the end, it is a passing grade, but one that will need to improve if the team is going to pull off another upset in the next round.

Incompletes

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    Danny DeKeyser, Carlo Colaiacovo and Jordin Tootoo did not play enough to fairly judge them. 

    DeKeyser was injured in his second game and was lost for the rest of the playoffs.  It was a huge disappointment for a player who had become such an important part of the defense in such a short time.

    Tootoo became a surprising regular scratch.  He was brought in during the offseason to provide a physical force to the team.  He became an overpriced scratch during the series as he only played in one game.

    Colaiacovo played in Games 6 and 7 in place of Lashoff.  He did well and likely earned a role in the next round.

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