Western Conference Semifinal Game Two: Tri-OT Ties Up Ducks and Red Wings
This game doesn't reflect anything significant to the Red Wings, as not many predictions of this series had it not being a sweep in the Red Wings favor.
These teams are not designed for an onslaught of red lamps in this series.
Even though the Red Wings have a more talented scoring lineup, the Ducks play such a brand of defense that the Wings are taken out of their comfort zone that they had versus Columbus.
Conversely, the Ducks do have an intimidating presence, however; the Red Wings have enough grit to hold their own unlike what the Ducks had in their series versus San Jose.
Therefore this clash of Titans on Sunday was not too surprising.
Goals in regulation by Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Pronger, and Ryan Carter for Anaheim as well as goals by Brad Stuart, Mikeal Samuelsson, and Johan Franzen for Detroit reflected this "not giving an inch" format for both teams.
The Stuart goal did require a review, but it is not a surprising goal for the playoffs.
The puck going off Stuart's skate, then off James Wisniewski's skate, and into the net gives coaches fits as it is not a coached maneuver nor is it really possible to defend.
Regardless, it is still a goal.
The term of "standing on his head" can be demonstrated both by Jonas Hiller and Chris Osgood as they kept their teams in contention in regulation and in the overtime.
For the game, Hiller would stop 59 shots and Osgood would stop 42 shots.
The hitting by both teams can either be dignified by replays of Kronwall closing in on a Duck who needs to be reminded that he is healthy this time around, or the hits can be measured by the abuse teams inflict on each other whenever there is a close play at the net.
The "Mike Brown on Jiri Hudler" hit has become ancient history as both teams are not willing to not only lose a player for a game, but also risk a suspension.
The overtime was one typical of playoff overtimes in that it sucks for both sets of fans.
The teams are so obsessed with not making mistakes that the fans are tortured by close calls and no commercials during the periods to relieve the strain.
There were only two penalties called, which were both on Scott Neidermayer.
However—even though there is a man-advantage, there is no true advantage as both teams do not want to make mistakes.
The Ducks didn't want to give up the power play goal, and the Wings didn't want to mess up their formation to lead to a shorthanded goal either.
The overtime goal is not ever expected, especially when it has reached two or more extra periods. Instead, every play can lead to a goal. Sometimes the goal can be scored early in an OT period or late in an OT period. Not always is the goal scored because of a mistake on defense or a display of stick-handling artistry.
The goal just happens.
The winning goal by Todd Marchant was not exciting; he just threw it at the net with Rob Neidermayer's stick somewhat in the way in the first minutes of the third OT. The replay, however, does show that Neidermayer might have been offside when he skated ahead of the puck which was controlled by Marchant.
However, it is in the past for both teams.
Game Three will determine who will be in the lead for the series until Game Four.
The Anaheim fans are ready to shake the Honda Center. They are also ready for a healthy dose of the "Osgood" chant to return the favor of the "Hiller" chant that Detroit fans have used in the first two games.
The crowd will be on the side of the Ducks, however in the playoffs, the Wings are the best on the road. They closed every series on the road last season on way to their 11th Stanley Cup, and they closed out the Blue Jackets in Columbus in the first round this playoff season.
The Red Wings will still be without Brian Rafalski for Game Three. His presence on defense paired with Niklas Lidstrom and his offensive talents make him a well missed piece.
Chris Chelios, in relief of Rafalski, was only used for six minutes of the entire triple OT Game Two. Such a small amount seems pointless for one of the game's greats.
Jonathan Ericsson paired with Lidstrom on defense has been a great move, but it is still Ericsson's first playoffs.
Game Three cannot come soon enough for Wings fans who will rest up prior to the late start of 10:30 PM. Either in homes or eating establishments opened late, the fans will keep the Red Wing Nation alive with the hopeful cheers of a successful Red Wings performance.
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