Game 1: Now It Begins For Detroit

Michael MrockCorrespondent IApril 17, 2009

DETROIT - APRIL 16:  The face of the octopus outside Joe Louis Arena prior to the Columbus Blue Jackets facing the Detroit Red Wings during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

In winning the first game, the Detroit Red Wings versus the Blue Jackets, left their fans breathing a massive sigh of relief.

The, 4-1, margin of victory proved that the team has not lost its scoring touch and Chris Osgood is stopping shots.

Questions are raised at this time for the Wings, because every year the Wings like to take their time warming up to the concept of the second season.

They play the role of sleeping giant and their opponents can only sneak carefully around them to steal the goose that lays the golden eggs. 

The 2002 Stanley Cup team, for instance, in the first round allowed the Canucks to take a, 2-0, game advantage into Vancouver only for the Wings to wake up with a center ice slap shot by Niklas Lidstrom in game three near the end of the second period to instantly turn the momentum of the series back to the Red Wings favor.

With Osgood holding back, the Blue Jacket onslaught to a one goal mean and had hopefully flipped that switch that seemed to be short-circuiting during the regular season.

A motivation for Osgood, however, is the reality that if he is not getting it done, Ty Conklin will be in net. Osgood did the same to Dominik Hasek, last year, in the first round against Nashville and didn't look back.

The other good sign that the Wings are on task is when the offensive output is not depending soley on Henrick Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa.

Instead, the scorers were Jiri Hudler, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen. A hodge-podge of a third line talented scorer, the call-up who was overdue to be in Detroit, their top hitter and the surprise scorer of last year's Cup run.

When the role players like these are stepping up to be the firing line against Steve Mason, Columbus should be scared.

Steve Mason is the favorite for the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year, however that trophy cannot be placed in net to help block shots.  The Wings are talented enough to shoot around it anyway.

The trifecta of Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Hossa are now less needed to carry the team. They will start scoring soon but if for now, they can decoy the Blue Jackets to focus on them, then that will leave the door open for anyone else in red to get some quality chances to light the lamp. 

Mike Babcock has this team disciplined and humble enough to not get caught up in stats but instead in score.

This was only game one, which means at least three remain to get the Wings to the second round.

Their next game will still be in Detroit, however on Saturday at 6pm.  A strange time as the playoff night games are at 7, however, the Wings will be ready to keep the momentum in their favor.

They do not want Mason and Blue Jackets captain Steve Nash to wake up anytime soon. 

The Wings will have to put the Blue Jackets away early with a sense that even though it is the second game, the Wings are not letting up until the handshake.

They are the defending champs and this is their playoff run to prove why the Cup should remain in Hockeytown.

After game two, the Wings do not have to go cross multiple time zones to play their next game. Columbus is still in the Eastern Time Zone and regardless if they take the jet or a bus—the time to get there amounts to a simple nap in travel time. 

This match-up is designed for the Wings to dominate and it is up to them to do such a task.

A couple days remain until game two and in this duration, the Wings need to stay on task. The next rounds will not be so kind.

Two teams in Western Canada and two in California will be long travel dates. Orignial Six, Chicago is back in the postseason in hopes of renewing their rivalry with Detroit.

St. Louis, after all of their injuries, sneaked in at the last minute however has a slim chance of getting far, however before talk of who will be in round two, the Red Wings will first have to close out the Blue Jackets.

One game at a time for the greatest trophy in sports.

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