Congrats to the Russian. He did something Monday night that he had never accomplished before in his career: He scored a hat-trick.
Pavel Datsyuk, of the Detroit Red Wings, stepped up his game one more notch and recorded his first career three-goal game, scoring two in the first period and one in the third.
"His lowest level is really high," Henrik Zetterberg said. "He plays real good for us night-in and night-out. You know you can really trust him because he will play good offense and good defense for us every time he is out there."
“Pavel was awesome tonight,” said goalie Chris Osgood, who improved to 9-0 in the playoffs. “We don’t like to rely on him every game, we like to give him a break sometimes. But he was outstanding and he was our best player. He’s great at both ends of the rink.”
So what are you saying?
Datsyuk and his line, consisting of Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom, have delivered in these playoff series' considerably. This is very different from what Detroit has done over the past few years.
Having played amazing regular seasons in the past and even winning the President's trophy a few times since 2002, Detroit would then choke during the playoffs and exit during the first or second round. This time is different.
All four Red Wing lines are producing. Seven players for the Wings are in double digits when it comes to points.
The only two without a point are Kirk Maltby, who has only played in three playoff games, and Chris Chelios. But that's what happens to the team thumpers. Last night, Chelios had some solid checks that made the Dallas players see "stars".
So how did Detroit manage to win last night? Well, either click on the link above and watch, or read on, my friend.
Detroit opened the scoring in the first period, courtesy of guess who? (No, not Johan Franzen).
Datsyuk scored his first of three during a four-on-four while Matt Niskanen and Jiri Hudler sat in their respective penalty boxes. A perfect feed from Zetterberg, and Datsyuk backhanded the puck past net-minder Marty Turco.
The Stars then came back. Nicklas Grossman beat Osgood on the left side to tie the game at one. Taking a cross-ice pass from Mike Modano, Grossman put a wrister past Ozzie. The American Airlines Center almost blew its top. The fans and towels were having a heyday.
That lasted for less than a minute, as Datsyuk scored his second goal 37 seconds later. This time he managed to scooch it through Turco's five-hole, silencing the crowd. After the period break, things turned in the Star's favor.
At almost four minutes into the second period, Dallas tied the score. Brad Richards centering pass bounced off a Red Wing skate past Osgood. Once again, the fans and towels went crazy...until...
Hudler caught the Stars by surprise and beat Turco on a breakaway. Detroit then never looked back.
In the third period, Zetterberg added salt to the wound by scoring a short-handed goal and Datsyuk added his third tally of the night off a feed from his partner, Zetterberg, and that was that. Game three in the can.
More Heroes than Zeros.......
There are several Red Wings who are looking at numbers.
5—The number of victories left for Detroit to reclaim the Stanley Cup.
11—The record for consecutive playoff wins by a single goaltender in a single playoff season. Osgood has nine consecutive wins, starting back in round one against the Nashville Predators.
11—The record for consecutive wins by a team during a single playoff season. Detroit is at nine.
3—The most short-handed goals by an individual player during a single playoff season. Franzen has two.
8—The most power-play goals by a individual player during a single playoff season. Franzen, again, is at five.
7—The most game-winning goals by an individual player during a single playoff season. Franzen has five, so far.
Detroit's numbers are looking pretty good.
A Final Word From Our Sponsor....
Detroit is up three games to zero. With the night off, they could possibly catch the Pittsburgh Penguin/Philadelphia Flyer game at 7:30pm EDT (6:30pm CDT). The Penguins are up two games to none and are looking to make it 3-0. However, they are playing at the Wachovia Complex in Philadelphia, and the Flyers will probably be out for blood.
Wednesday night is Game 4 for the Wings and the Stars at the AA Center in Dallas. Game time is 8:00pm EDT (7:00pm CDT). Hey, that's not too far from Okieland. Maybe some of us southern Red Wing fans could take in a game before the season ends.
Nah, with the price of gas these days, it would probably cost too much. Wait, Hockeytown fans not go to a game because of gas prices? That would be a first.
Writer's Note: It's nice to be back with all of you. I thank you for being patient with me during this time in my life. I still have certain things to take care of but I'm working on them. Thanks again...BAK