The Detroit Red Wings got their rest.
This time, they have no one but themselves to blame for an atrocious loss in San Jose and a now near insurmountable 2-0 deficit in their Western Conference Semi-Final series.
I don't want to hear about bad luck; that if Lidstrom's stick doesn't break, the Sharks never score the game-winning goal. It never would have gotten to that had the Wings displayed any semblance of discipline throughout the game.
I don't want to hear any complaints about the officiating.
Yes, they called a very tight ticky-tack game. Somehow, the Sharks managed to not get whistled for ten penalties. Somehow, they adapted to the game being called. The Wings either couldn't or refused to.
I'm sure Wings fans will want to whine about the officiating, but that's a crutch.
A tightly whistled game doesn't excuse running players into your own goal on two separate occasions.
A tightly whistled game doesn't excuse tripping someone or slashing their stick in half when you're already down a man.
A tightly whistled game does not excuse making a lazy change and getting whistled for too many men on the ice in the final minute of the game when you're down a goal.
The Wings simply played their most undisciplined game thus far of these playoffs, and against the team they could least afford such a game against.
Lidstrom's broken stick doesn't mean nearly as much if not for the ten power plays the Red Wings outright gave to one of the best Power Play units in the league.
I don't care how bad the officiating was.
A team doesn't have nearly a full period of power play time simply due to bad calls.
The Sharks have five power play goals in this series. Those five goals are the singular reason they have the 2-0 series lead.
Not bad breaks.
Not poor officiating.
Simply a total failure of discipline on the part of the Detroit Red Wings.
And I wish that I could say that was the end of the Red Wings tribulations.
They have remained putrid and awful on face-offs these playoffs.
While they had a good showing in Game One, in Game Two their dismal fates on the draw returned in full force, winning a scant 38 percent of face-offs.
When both teams are predicated on puck possession, winning those face offs are a critical aspect of the game. 38 percent is not going to cut it against any team, much less the San Jose Sharks.
And while Howard is hardly to blame for either loss; it really has reached a point where I have a hard time excusing the number of rebounds he allows.
He has given both Phoenix and San Jose extra shots on goal due to his inability to corral even the simplest of shots.
It's not a death knell for a team...but it's not helping the cause, either.
And the defensive lapses are also continuing as well. The Sharks had several breakouts in this game due to bad decisions with and without the puck on Wings defenders.
Yeah, I know, this shouldn't really come as a surprise anymore. But I still maintain that a veteran group (like the Red Wings are) should never be excused for these sort of mental and physical errors.
So, despite their effort in Game One, the Wings head back to Detroit down 2-0. I don't want to hang this team and call them dead yet...
...but it's really hard not to when they've done such fine work braiding their own noose.