The Red Wings proved last night that while they make mistakes, they can still come out on top. I mean, come on: How many more times are we going to fail to clear the puck out of our zone? If any of those turnovers had gone in, it would have been an entirely different game.
But they didn't. And we won. I would add "barely," but we definitely had Phoenix on their heels in the third. I have yet to read any of the articles at my usual hockey sites since I worked this morning [and managed to function on very little sleep], so I don't know what any of the players are saying about anything.
Some things I noticed during last night's game:
-Abdelkader is fitting right in. He's being a physical force and drawing attention to himself in front of the net and that's helping us get a few goals.
-Jimmy Howard is playing solid hockey and having fun with it, too. He doesn't seem tense at all and it looks as though his nerves are gone. His mentality reminds me a lot of Osgood and whether you like Ozzie's play as a goalie or not, you have to admit that he has the perfect mentality for a goaltender. Howard made a brilliant save and then another on Hanzel's breakaway early in the third and that was the turning point. Possibly of the series.
-Players finally noticed to go high on Bryzgalov. Mickey Redmond pointed out on one of the Wings goals how much room there was above Bryz's glove.
-Players also noticed that if you skate down the wing and quickly deke to the middle and take a shot, Bryzgalov is usually unprepared to make the save. Datsyuk did this a few times and got some good chances.
-Filppula is playing out of his mind. He might not have a ton of goals to show for it, but he's mimicking Zetterberg's moves and what could be better than two Zetterbergs on the ice at the same time? Maybe if you tossed in Pavel...
Am I going to get cocky for Sunday's game? I did last Sunday and look how well that turned out, so I'm going to say no. Phoenix isn't dead yet and the Red Wings aren't playing perfectly. The Wings are playing with patience, which is what they need to do. Phoenix is a young team that jumps at every opportunity, but the Wings are just sitting back and waiting to pounce on that perfect opportunity. And that's paying off.
Will Shane Doan return if it looks as though his Yotes need him? It's possible if he thinks his team needs him. But then the Wings should just do what the Yotes players are doing: blatantly going after an injured player [just look at all the runs on Rafi yesterday]. It won't be a cakewalk through the rest of the series, but if The Key [aka Howard] stays solid, you never know what might happen.
PS - Top Rated Shuffle: #223/1496: Cheap Shot - John Mellencamp