Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images
24 Hockeytown Blog readers picked the Wings to take the series in four games before the start of the postseason. With a 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, the Detroit Red Wings did just that — sweep.
Wings sweep CBJ in opening round
Detroit advanced to the Western Conference semifinals thanks to a game-winning goal from Johan Franzen with just 46.6 seconds left to break a 5-5 tie. The Wings never lost their cool, playing with the same composure they had all series. Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News wrote in his column that the Wings simply wore Columbus out.
According to Dave Dye of The Detroit News, the Wings became the 15th team in NHL history to never trail their opponent in any game of a playoff series. With the win, Detroit also became the first defending Stanley Cup champion to advance to the conference semifinals since 2003.
LIVE chat during the game
Last night, the Wings had a few special visitors during their LIVE chat. Chris Chelios, Derek Meech, Kris Draper and Andreas Lilja stopped by the chat room to answer a few questions from fans.
Just before 8 p.m., the chat had 1,362 participants, which the Wings said was the largest live chat on the Internet at the time. It drew chatters from as far away as Australia.
You can read a transcript of what they had to say at DRW.com.
Lidstrom named a Norris finalist
Michael Caples of DRW.com notes the statistical benchmarks Nicklas Lidstrom has reached season after season during his illustrious career with the Wings.
While [Mike] Green enjoyed a breakout campaign, Lidstrom still managed to top the 50-point plateau for the 14th time in his celebrated career, and he finished with a plus-31 rating, which was his sixth plus-30, or better, season.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Lidstrom has now been selected a finalist for the Norris Trophy for the 10th time in the last 11 years.
Ericsson making an impression
Rookie defenseman Jonathan Ericsson may not be a finalist for the Calder, but he certainly has made an impression with the Wings and the Blue Jackets in this round. Head coach Mike Babcock wanted Ericsson in Detroit for three years now, but GM Ken Holland knew that they had to wait before he could make serious contributions to the team. That time seems to have finally come for the 25-year-old Swede.
Holland jokingly refers to their practice as “red-shirting.” He says “coaches always want a new toy,” but he feels strongly that patience is crucial to a player’s development. “Prospects are ready when they are ready,” is how Holland puts it.
At 17, Ericsson was drafted as the last overall player in the 2002 draft with the 291st pick. The Wings came across him by accident writes Helene St. James at her blog for the Detroit Free Press.