now that some of the emotional euphoria has died away, a few thoughts about the game in general last night...
...that first powerplay goal was a true thing of beauty. it looked downright red-wing pp like. first we entered the zone easily, got set up early, and made crisp passes and got them to moving.. and when a penalty kill box is chasing the puck, things often open up.
...radulov with real good patience, waiting for hamhuis to sneak down the backdoor slot. meanwhile legwand drives the slot and draws the defenseman to him at the near post who is responsible for covering in front and preventing that backdoor cut from the d-man. those two things have to happen at exactly the same time, leggy driving in and drawing the d-man, and the split second the defense turns their heads to make sure he's picked up for hamhuis to break in unseen. also a very nice shot from hamhuis, shooting back behind hasek as he slides from left to right trying to get to the far post. (at least that's where i think the shot went). a perfect pp backdoor, the type the wings simply rarely allow because of their smart defensemen.
...then of course the second of the "our goals come in pairs against hasak" goals from weber on the point. really good read and pass from peverley to get the puck on weber's stick. this was a relatively weak one from hasak, no real screen. hordy near hasak, but off to the side. funny to watch how surprised hordichuk looked when he saw the puck hit the back of the net, almost like "wow, we actually scored with me on ice" type look. have to think this goal was totally a result of hasak losing focus after allowing the first one, something he's now done 3 times in this series.
...man was ellis good early. we could easily have been down 4 to 2 after the first period. the first three shots detroit had were all great scoring chances, all in the first two minutes of the game. many were afraid detroit would come out hard early, and they did. the only saving thing was ellis making those three very early good stops. saved our bacon to be honest.
...i get horribly mad at erat many times for hogging the puck and not giviing it up when he should. last night was no different. but, what a move he made on that wraparound that almost made this thing 3-0 early and ended the game right there. a beautiful little fake to his left driving the net to draw hasek hard to the near post, and then a super quick dart back right and around. an unbelievable save there, as hasak blindly threw out the leg and it just happened to exactly touch the far post and prevent the goal. look at some of the pictures of this stop, and you'll see how close the puck was to going in anyway as it almost got over the pad and in anyway.
.. if that goal would have gone in that quickly to give us a three goal lead with only about 6 minutes gone after we had just scored two others, the arena might well have spontaneously combusted.
..maybe it's just me. but it feels every time detroit gets a powerplay that they're probably going to score. and what's worse, every time we go on the powerplay i feel detroit has a great chance of getting a short-handed goal as well.
..about the only time i feel halfway confident of us playing pretty well is 5 on 5, where i still feel we're better than they are (for whatever strange reason).
..you have to back off the offensive zone once you get a lead against these guys because their two forwards out front are constantly cheating up ice trying to get counters going. which basically means you cann't send three forwards in deep ever or risk giving up an odd man rush the other way. the problem is that without sending three men deep, you cann't effectively cycle the puck down low against these good defensemen. which in turn means they're going to have the puck basically all the time since a team has to play them this way. frustrating and nervewrecking to watch detroit totally own the puck once you're ahead of them, but there's simply no other way for us to realistically play from ahead.
..on the other hand, detroit's forwards being so active and taking so many gambles to pinch back in and try to double our forwards in deep to steal the puck is what happened to burn them last night on both the weber and the devries goal.. their forwards lost then both being overaggressive trying to collapse down deep. teams normally don't play a collapsing type defense against us, because of the very reason we have many offensive minded type defensemen out front that are dangerous if you leave them.
.. normally teams don't do this against us, because our forwards can normally be played well one on one by their defensemen without needing help from their forwards. but what happened here and why detroit did this was directly the result of game three, where our forwards were all of a sudden so effective against them. so they come out and go from an tight point type defense (which they normally play), and make changes to a collapsing defense scheme.. and we proceed to score three defensemen goals.
..one thing effects the other. one caused the other in fact. detroit and babock out-thought themselves with this defensive change. expect them to come out tomorrow and go back to a tight point type defense to take away those open point shots.
..therefore you would expect our forwards to have more room again tomorrow, and therefore we need them to carry us again since they'll be seeing far more one-on-one coverage and have to worry less about being doubleteamed.
move, countermove... strategically, hockey is one big chess game.
couple of funny, off topic, lighter things from last night..
..nichole kidman all snuggled up to keith urban right next to us in box 1 all night.. couple of guys yelled "hey you guys get a room".. they were really good sports about it all, and laughed back at us.. reminded me of a couple of high school kids the way they were acting.
...she didn't pay that much attention to the game early... but when it got so tense, she started asking our people about what everyone was saying after we scored a goal.. and started giggling like a schoolgirl when told "you suck".. after the devries goal she was standing and yelling you suck right along with the rest of us, all the while laughing and covering her mouth when she said it.. was actually pretty funny.. made me decide i liked her better, now that she's a pred fan. they were all pumped about the game and asked us what time sunday's game was and planned to come back.
..of course, everytime i looked at her i kept seeing her in "eyes wide shut" buck naked.. was most distracting lol.
..after the first period, we had a guy who was pretty drunk in the box standing up in the back close to the beer (he was just some guest of one of my buddies who i had never even seen before).. this guy comes in the box and asks him (because he's the first one he sees when he walks in) "hey you guys mind if i sit up here with you?".. the drunk guy says who the hell are you?.. and the guy says i'm rob baronas (the titans placekicker).. the drunk guy who doesn't know it really is rob baronas says "yeah right, well i'm tomas vokoun, now get out of my box" and chases him off before any of us that know it really is rob baronas even know what's happening.. have to admit i got a chuckle out of it, baronas is actually a client of ours, had to call him and apologize.