Detroit Red Wings: 10 Best Moments from NHL Playoff Run
The Detroit Red Wings began the postseason as the seventh seed with a daunting road ahead. A lot of fans were disappointed when they surrendered a 3-1 series lead and succumbed to the rival Chicago Blackhawks.
Many more were impressed by their chemistry, work ethic and resolve in nearly eliminating the President's Trophy winners.
The Detroit Red Wings made a strong playoff run. There are plenty of moments to remember, and here are 10 of the best.
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Of the 10 moments that were chosen, unfortunately some had to wind up on the cutting room floor. Here are a couple of moments that didn't quite make the final cut.
Justin Abdelkader's enormous hit on Anaheim Ducks' defenseman Toni Lydman in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal—while it was a huge hit, one that certainly got fans riled up, it resulted in a two-game suspension and was a polarizing play throughout the hockey world.
The Red Wings' 5-4 overtime defeat of the Anaheim Ducks' at the Honda Center in Game 2 was another moment that didn't make the cut. Detroit scored a goal in the first 90 seconds in each of the four periods.
Gustav Nyquist sent a nifty saucer pass right over a sprawling defenseman for an easy tap-in goal for Henrik Zetterberg in Game 7. The goal came just 26 seconds into the third period. Chicago would go on to win 2-1 in overtime.
Now, for the 10 best moments!
10. Jonathan Ericsson Levels Bryan Bickell
Jonathan Ericsson levels Bryan Bickell.
In Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal, Jonathan Ericsson unloaded on Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell.
Detroit would win the game 2-0 and take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Jonathan Ericsson played a significant role on Detroit's top defensive pairing alongside Niklas Kronwall. Although he only registered three assists, he played in all 14 playoff games and finished with a plus-2 rating.
Red Wings fans have been hoping to see physical play out of the 6'4", 221-pound defenseman, and he did not disappoint. He also stayed out of the penalty box, totaling just one two-minute minor in the playoffs.
9. Valtteri Filppula Scores Falling Down
Valtteri Filppula looked to be awakening from his playoff scoring slumber with this beautiful goal in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal.
The goal gave Detroit a 4-1 lead, but it also made a statement for the team. After being blitzed in Game 1 by the same score, Detroit rebounded and handed Chicago its first loss on home ice in the 2013 playoffs.
It was ultimately the goal that put this game out of reach and showed the Blackhawks that the Wings would not go down without a fight.
Unfortunately, it was the last goal Filppula would score this year, and possibly as a Detroit Red Wing. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
8. Niklas Kronwall Wrecks Kyle Palmieri
It just wouldn't be a playoff series for Detroit without someone getting "Kronwalled."
In Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena, Niklas Kronwall caught Kyle Palmieri skating through the neutral zone and delivered a solid shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Detroit trailed in the game 1-0, and as the video clearly shows, it brought the fans to their feet.
Kronwall didn't have the offensive numbers the team has come to expect from him (two assists; minus-one) after 29 points in 48 regular-season games. He played all 14 games and provided great stability on the blue line with partner Jonathan Ericsson.
Brent Seabrook scored Chicago's series-winning overtime goal in Game 7 when his shot glanced off of Kronwall's skate and over Jimmy Howard's glove.
After the series it was reported by Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that Kronwall was suffering from shoulder and hand injuries.
7. Justin Abdelkader's Shorthanded Goal
Justin Abdelkader made his presence felt this postseason in many ways. This was the biggest one.
After knocking down a pass from Francois Beauchemin, Abdelkader turned on the jets and made a slick move to tuck the puck between the pads of Jonas Hiller. The goal gave Detroit a 2-1 lead in a game it would win 3-2.
His second goal of the postseason put Detroit ahead in a pivotal Game 7 in Anaheim. He was a huge piece in the Red Wings' puzzle, playing on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen and seeing extensive ice time on the penalty kill (as shown above).
In 12 postseason games, he led the team in hits, penalty minutes, plus/minus (plus-four with Jakub Kindl), and finished fourth in shots (33).
6. Jimmy Howard Shuts Down Corey Perry
Jimmy Howard was clearly the most valuable player for the Detroit Red Wings this postseason, and his biggest statement came in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In Game 5, with the Ducks trailing 1-0, Corey Perry received a pass from Daniel Winnik all alone in front of Jimmy Howard and was denied by the glove hand. Howard would go on to stop all of Perry's team-leading shots on goal. Perry finished the regular season with 15 goals and 36 points in 44 games.
Jimmy Howard finished the playoffs with a record of 7-7 while posting a 2.44 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and one shutout.
5. Jakub Kindl Breaks Chicago's Perfect Penalty Kill
Jakub Kindl had his first full playoff experience this season and was effective, registering one goal, four assists and a team-leading plus-four.
Kindl received the pass from Carlo Colaiacovo and fired the puck off the inside of the goal post, behind Corey Crawford.
This goal was particularly important on two levels.
It was a power-play goal, the first for Detroit in the series, but the first given up by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 playoffs. They had killed all 17 opportunities that the Minnesota Wild had in the opening round, as well as the first 13 they faced against Detroit.
It was also significant because it stood as the game-winning goal in Detroit's 2-0 shutout victory over Chicago in Game 4.
This moment breaks into the top five because it's the first of five crucial moments that could have drastically effected the outcome of Detroit's postseason.
4. Jimmy Howard Robs Dave Bolland
Jimmy Howard silenced many critics this postseason—with this save particularly.
At the 9:25 mark of the third period in Game 4, Dave Bolland of the Chicago Blackhawks received a pass from Michael Frolik and was robbed by the right pad of Jimmy Howard. The save preserved a 1-0 lead en route to a 2-0 win and Jimmy Howard's first shutout of the playoffs.
This monumental win for the Wings game them a 3-1 lead in series, but it also handed Chicago its first three-game losing streak and first shutout loss of the season.
3. Detroit Red Wings' 3 Thrilling OT Wins
The Red Wings were certainly the cardiac kids in the first round, dispatching the Ducks in seven games. Four of the seven required overtime, three of which Detroit won.
1. Gustav Nyquist scored the game-winning goal of Game 2 in Anaheim at the 1:21 mark of overtime. His first career NHL playoff goal won the game 5-4, evened the series 1-1, and shifted home-ice advantage in Detroit's favor.
2. Damien Brunner showed tremendous hockey IQ by going to the net and following up on a play.
Joakim Andersson sent a stretch pass to Gustav Nyquist, who had it poked off his stick by Jonas Hiller. Brunner followed up on the play after the puck bounced off defenseman Bryan Allen and Hiller and deposited it into the back of net. The goal came at the 15:10 mark of overtime, winning the game 3-2 and tying the series at two apiece.
3. Henrik Zetterberg's goal shown above was the biggest of the three. At the 2:03 mark of the video, Pavel Datsyuk wins a faceoff back to Niklas Kronwall. Kronwall taps the puck over to Zetterberg, who blasts one through Abdelkader's screen and behind Jonas Hiller.
This goal surpasses the others because of Henrik Zetterberg's clutch play in this Game 6. After blowing another third-period lead, Detroit was forced to regroup for overtime in order to save its season.
2. Pavel Datsyuk's Identical Clutch Goals
Pavel Datsyuk is a magician with the puck. Although he only scored three goals this postseason, the last two were as pivotal as they were beautiful.
1. In Game 4 of the first-round series with Anaheim, David Steckel scored the go-ahead goal for Anaheim at the 10:40 mark of the third period. Just 2:47 later—trailing 2-1—Pavel Datsyuk released a shot that caught Jonas Hiller completely by surprise, tying the game at 2-2. If the Ducks had won this game, they would have taken a 3-1 series lead back to Anaheim.
2. In the video shown above, Datsyuk does it again. He catches a pass from Johan Franzen inside the blue line and fires it quickly over the stick of a handcuffed Corey Crawford.
Datsyuk would finish third on the team this postseason with nine points and a plus-two.
1. Kyle Quincey's Game 7 Penalty
At the 18:11 mark of third period and the game tied 1-1, Detroit's Kyle Quincey and Chicago's Brandon Saad got in a scrum against the Detroit bench. In the process, the puck was turned over at the Red Wing blue line, and Andrew Shaw dropped a pass for Niklas Hjalmarsson, who fired the puck over Jimmy Howard's glove to take a 2-1 lead.
Unfortunately for Chicago, referee Stephen Walkom had blown his whistle to kill the play just moments before the puck had crossed the line. Subsequently, Quincey and Saad were each assessed roughing minors, and the goal was disallowed.
Kyle Quincey's excessive physicality against Brandon Saad appeared to save Detroit's entire season and for a moment put Chicago's back in peril. While controversial, it is clear that Walkom had blown the play dead and Chicago's goal would not be permitted.
Lucky for Chicago, the hockey gods were just and the Blackhawks would win in overtime. Unfortunately for Detroit, its season would end sooner than they hoped.