Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Well, We Won 7 in a Row Earlier This Year...
I've calmed down a little bit. I narrowly avoided doing something hasty regarding my face and a razor. I smoked a few cigarettes. I punched a few walls. I entertained the idea of drinking straight through to game 4.
And I came up with a few conclusions.
I'm not losing all hope. Momentum, she is a fickle mistress. Remember Lidstrom's red line shot in 2002 that turned the series around and eventually led us to a Cup? Things happen in sports. Things no one can foresee. To use the old cliche, that's why they play the games. And there's still a game here on Thursday left to be played. One lucky bounce or, as we saw in game 2, broken stick, and this thing could turn around quick, fast, and in a hurry.
Game 3 is really the only game that the Red Wings were truly beaten. Game 1 was close enough to be a comfortable loss. Game 2 was that horrendous PK fest.
So why should we assume that the Wings CAN'T pull off the improbable comeback?
The general idea going into this series was that the Wings could pull it off in 5 games. Well, that's where we're at now. 5 games. One already in the books. 4 to go.
We've seen this Wings club playing at their top level, and we know that they're completely capable of looking unbeatable. We know that when the game is left to the 6 guys in with sticks in their hands, they can be the best team in the league. (That may or may not have been my obligatory "the officiating sucks" statement.) What remains to be seen is if they can rattle off a string of 2 or 3 of those games and put the Sharks back on their heels.
If that happens, we can probably count on the Sharks' penchant for choking to take over.
But what needs to happen for that to come to fruition?
Jimmy needs to play like he's still earning his place on this team. Because who's to say that he's not? Will the front office give him a get-out-of-jail-free card if he plays like he did tonight? Or will they look for another veteran goaltender to help him on his way to being a bona fide starter? Hell, Nabokov's becoming a free agent this summer...
Our goal scorers need to score. Score goals. This means you, Franzen (I don't have to validate that, do I?), Filppula (no goals since game 3 against Phoenix), Cleary (just 2 points, but they're both goals), and everyone's favorite washing machine impersonator, Bertuzzi (2 goals in game seven, but only one hit the stat sheet). Get it, washing machine... spin cycle... spin-o-rama... Hey, don't fault me for trying to lighten the mood in Red Wings nation when we clearly need it. Anyway, the point is that 46% of our goals have been scored by 3 forwards. Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Holmstrom.
And they need to score with their sticks. I got into the habit today of not celebrating a goal until the puck had dropped to begin play again. Because you never know what's going to be reviewed and called back these days. I can't remember seeing as many video reviews in my LIFE as I've seen this year alone. We need good, solid, clean, legal, sure goals. Don't leave anything in the hands of an outsider.
We've seen the way this team bounced back from game 6 against Phoenix. So far, they're undefeated this year in elimination games. So, I guess statistics are on our side. Let's keep that up. Let's come out Thursday with something to prove and nothing to lose. If they do, and pull out the W, they can rebuild a little of the faith that was lost today. And just keep rolling.