Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images
The Wings take a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals over the Chicago Blackhawks with a 5-2 win yesterday evening at Joe Louis Arena.
Game 1 Redux
Until Dan Cleary scored 8:23 into the first period, the Hawks were generating chances and controlling play. Chicago even scored an unassisted goal from Adam Burish at 5:25. But Cleary’s goal (with the help of a Brent Seabrook turnover) changed things and as the Wings got going, the Blackhawks mistakes started to increase. According to Rick Morrissey, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Detroit made the Hawks pay for their mistakes, describing it as a “seminar on how to pounce on unforced errors.”
With the game tied up at two goals apiece, Mikael Samuelsson scored on a quick shot from the right faceoff circle, which would ultimately stand as the game-winner. Brett Lebda grew up just outside Chicago and earned an assist on Sammy’s marker. Johan Franzen told Dave Dye of The Detroit News that Samuelsson could probably hit the spot where he scored (upper right corner) with his eyes closed.
Detroit’s defense also played a key role in the victory. Chicago forward Patrick Kane did not even register a single shot on goal. The Wings played their line of Henrik Zetterberg, Dan Cleary, and Johan Franzen along with Nick Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski against Chicago’s dangerous duo of Kane and Jonathan Toews. But to Wings’ fans, there defensive success is not too surprising. Their defense limited the role of Ryan Getzlaf last series against Anaheim at even strength.
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press writes that Detroit took Chicago to school and taught them some key lessons. Another Free Press columnist Mitch Albom talks about the Wings teaching some new tricks to the Chicago kids. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com says that the Wings were teaching Puck Possession 101 yesterday at Joe Louis Arena.
Dan Cleary shines
After scoring the game-winner against Anaheim in Game 7 and then registering two goals in yesterday’s game, it’s no surprise the talk of the media is on this hockey player from Newfoundland. Marian Hossa tells Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that Cleary has “the hot stick right now.” Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News talks about Cleary’s style of play and how he’s scoring these big goals. Ross McKeon of Yahoo! Sports named Cleary the top star of the evening. In his three questions feature, Michael Caples of DRW.com points out that Cleary “played for 15:40, primarily with Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg. He finished plus-three, recording three shots and one hit.”
Kalamazoo Gazette’s Graham Couch points out how nice it is for Cleary to score against the team that drafted and then dumped him. NHL.com’s Brian Compton looks at how Cleary got to where he is today with the Wings in the game recap.
Original Six Series
Once this series was announced, there was plenty of anticipation from fans and media alike about this battle between two Original 6 franchises. Brian Compton of NHL.com discusses how this classic rivalry has found the big stage. Grand Rapids Press’ Michael Zuidema writes that the NHL and fans need a Wings-Hawks rivalry. At DRW.com, you can see how the Wings-Blackhawks teams compare from when they last played each other in the postseason (1994-95) to today’s teams. After Game 1, Jason Kay at The Hockey News thinks this series could top the Sid vs. Ovie series in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Next Up: Game 2 will be Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena. You can catch the game on either Versus (U.S.) or TSN (Canada).