Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
After dropping Games 2 and 3 to the Anaheim Ducks, the Detroit Red Wings responded Thursday night with a 6-3 win at the Honda Center in Game 4. The series is now tied up at 2-2 heading into Game 5 this Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.
The Line Change
Anaheim’s Corey Perry scored a goal less than a minute into the game and eight minutes later Wings’ head coach Mike Babcock mixed up his lines and create the line of Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, and Marian Hossa. The change sparked a momentum shift in the game with Franzen and Hossa registering two goals apiece en route to a victory.
Sam McCaig blogged for The Hockey News about the dominance of Mr. Clutch aka the Mule in the postseason:
Franzen, quite simply, was a force all night and a major factor on Detroit’s first four goals. He scored the first two, in the first period, including in the final minute to give the Wings a 2-1 lead heading into intermission. Then, he set up Hossa’s first goal, at 16:02 of the second to give Detroit a 3-2 edge (Perry scored his second of the game at 11:03). Then, he planted his mule-esque frame in front of Hiller so Hossa could wrist another one in at 19:04. Franzen, who had 13 goals in 16 playoff games last season, has six in eight games this post-season, and Hiller – or Giguere, but probably Hiller – should be very, very afraid. Franzen seems to come alive at playoff time and surely Babcock will keep the unit together for Game 5 in Detroit.
In Game 3, an apparent Hossa tally was disallowed after the play was blown dead, keeping Hossa off the scoreboard for a fourth straight game. That all changed last night when Hossa posted two markers.
Some in the media and blogosphere had been pushing for Babcock to re-unite Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom. He did that last night, but the success of the Franzen-Fil-Hossa line outshined them in Game 4. However, putting the Eurotwins and Homer back together gave them an extra jump according to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press.
“It gave us something to feed off,” Henrik Zetterberg said after being united the Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom. “It’s a little different for them, too, matching wise, a little different for them to adjust to.”
The Ducks couldn’t figure out a matchup to nullify these new lines, but you’ll know they’ll be trying to solve the line changes before Game 5 on Sunday.
After allowing five goals, Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle pulled Swiss netminder Jonas Hiller in favor for J.S. Giguere. While Wings’ fans are used to seeing Giguere in goal, he actually hasn’t seen action since March 27th. I think I can safely it was the first time that Giguere was a welcome sight in goal for Detroit fans only because it meant the Wings had actually scored enough goals to cause a change in net. Hiller allowed five goals on 33 shots in the Anaheim loss, looking human for the first time this series.
In other news…
Andreas Lilja hosted a pre-game chat on WingsLIVE yesterday afternoon. You can check out the transcript by visiting the DRW.com website.
Much has been said about Red Wings’ fans dislike for Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger in articles about the series. Lynn Henning of The Detroit News writes about how Pronger actually loves to be hated by the opposition’s fans.
The Wayne County Commission voted to eliminate the $25,000 fee to dress the Spirit of Detroit statue in a Detroit team’s jersey on Thursday.
Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press talks about how GM Ken Holland is enjoying the fruits of his labor.
If you are still trying to come up with a gift for Mother’s Day and want to see the Wings take on the Ducks in Game 5 on Sunday, take advantage of the Wings’ suite deal for Mother’s Day. For only $89, enjoy an all-inclusive food package (alcoholic beverages not included) in a Red Wings suite at Joe Louis Arena, then watch the Wings take on Anaheim from sections 201 or 228 of the arena – a value of $139. To take advantage of the offer, you must call 313-396-7440 before 5 p.m. EDT today.