How "Swede" It Is!
Well ESPN predicted that the Wings-Avalanche series would go to six maybe seven games. Anyone can tell you right now that for Johan Franzen and the Detroit Red Wings, it wasn't the case, as the Wings swept the Avalance. Now this didn't really come as a shock to me because of the season series. Detroit outscored the Avalanche 11-2 and won all four games against them. No disrespect to the Avs and their fans but they really had no chance. The injuries really cost them. Paul Stastny, Peter Forsberg and Ryan Smyth were their main injuries coming into Round 2. Scott Parker and Wojtek Wolski were also injured and contributed to Round 1 win vs. Minnesota. Coach Joel Quennville has to be given some credit in Game 4 in Denver. He had a very short bench to work with. Going with Jose Theodore for Game 4 again after being pulled in Games 1 & 2 wasn't too smart, but I guess they believe in him.
The Red Wings were on fire in Game 1. Johan Franzen especially scoring once in the 1st period and once in the 2nd. After going up 3-1 at the end of the first period the Wings didn't look back. The Avalanche did come close near the end but goaltender Chris Osgood kept them in the game. Game 2 was no different as Franzen achieved his first of two hat tricks of his career and playoffs. Again the Red Wings dominated and didn't look back after the 2nd period, going up 4-0 after 40 minutes of play. Darren McCarty made his presence known fighting Colorado enforcer Cody McLeod. I have to say it was a great sight to see McCarty back in a Wings uniform fighting again, especially because he fought someone from Colorado. Everyone knows that McCarty fought Claude Lemieux during the brawl of '97.
Game 3 went to Denver with the Avalanche trying to re coop and take a win and move within a win of tying the series. Unfortunately for Colorado the Wings yet again took it to them. Pavel Datsyuk had 2 goals and Mikael Samulesson stepped up his game contributing 2 assists. Game 4 had all of Denver worrying. Only 2 teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 series hole. Each team were 33 years apart. Colorado was going to try and repeat history 33 years later. With a short bench Coach Joel Quennville had to improvise, and Jose Theodore had to be terrific. Colorado jumped out to an early 1-0 lead but a fluke goal by Mikael Samuelsson started the Red Wings rout of Colorado. Nearing the end of the period the Avs thought they would get through 20 minutes with a tie. Holmstrom and Franzen scored 1:27 apart late in the first period to go up 3-1 heading to the locker room. Peter Budaj ended up starting the second period and finishing the game for the Avalanche after Theodore's poor performance. Henrik Zetterberg contributed 2 goals and 2 assists and Johan Franzen had a hat trick. The Red Wings flew past Colorado into the Conference Finals were they will face either Dallas or San Jose. Dallas leads the series 3-1 and can close it out tonight at American Airlines Arena.
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