Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images
The Detroit Red Wings advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the third straight year after defeating the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 at Joe Louis Arena last night in a close Game 7. Today’s edition of Around the Rink focuses on what went down in Game 7 and a brief look ahead at our next opponent — the Chicago Blackhawks.
WCF Series Schedule
|Sunday, May 17||at Detroit, 3:00 p.m.||NBC, TSN, RDS|
|Tuesday, May 19||at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.||VERSUS, TSN, RDS|
|Friday, May 22||at Chicago, 8:00 p.m.||VERSUS, CBC, RDS|
|Sunday, May 24||at Chicago, 3:00 p.m.||NBC, CBC, RDS|
|* Wednesday, May 27||at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.||VERSUS, CBC, RDS|
|* Saturday, May 30||at Chicago, 8:00 p.m.||VERSUS, CBC, RDS|
|* Monday, June 1||at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.||VERSUS, CBC, RDS|
If you haven’t already, you can purchase tickets to the games at Ticketmaster. The JLA crowd was rocking last night for Game 7 and we hope our great fans keep up the deafening roar into the next series!
Game 7 Redux
Anaheim gave all they had in Game 7 and that’s what made the game so close, but the reason the Wings won was simply their depth according to Brian Compton at NHL.com. The ability to roll four strong lines throughout a game and then a long series really shows its value come Game 7. What makes this win even more impressive is that Detroit’s stars did not score. The Wings didn’t have goals from Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, or Marian Hossa. Last night, it was about their depth and we saw markers from Jiri Hudler, Darren Helm, Mikael Samuelsson, and Dan Cleary.
The Wings’ special teams came up big in last night’s win when Detroit had to kill two 5-on-3 penalties and one 4-on-3. Zetterberg led the charge and limited Anaheim to just one power-play tally. In fact during the first 5-on-3, the Wings only allowed Anaheim to make one shot on goal thanks to the efforts of captain Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart, and Pavel Datsyuk.
“I was more shocked by having two of them in a Game 7 when there hasn’t been one in the playoffs so far,” goalie Chris Osgood said, “but then again, we had them in the finals last year. I think Pav, I mean, he’s snakebit, but he played great defensively and killed penalties awesomely tonight. And Hank must have had five or six blocked shots. They’re all our star players. Those penalty kills really showed our character.”
Before the start of the series, many media pundits predicted that goaltending would determine the outcome of the series. Well, Chris Osgood proved himself again in a great Game 7 performance. He may have only faced 27 shots (compared to Jonas Hiller’s 36 saves), but he had to come up big on a lot of shots and he did just that.
All in all, the rivalry between these two teams has only been strengthened by this series. ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun says that the Anaheim-Detroit series was the most competitive conference semifinal series this season, over the Caps-Pens series featuring Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.
This year’s Western Conference Finals will feature the first Original 6 conference final matchup since the Wings faced the Blackhawks in 1995. While both teams are obviously aware of the threats each opponent has, they will relish the Original 6 series and we could see the renewal of a heated rivalry.
Game 1 of the WCF starts on Sunday at 3 p.m. EDT. Our next Around the Rink will recap the Game 1 action on Monday.