Amid the jubilation of Zach Parise’s goal to tie the gold medal game in Vancouver came the startling realization that the most hyped hockey game in a generation could come down to a shootout.
It had happened before, with Peter Forsberg’s ‘postage stamp’ goal to beat the Canadians in Lillehammer. Albeit in a very different sport, the shootout also determines the end of World Cup knockout games, including a pair of recent finals. (1994, 2006)
Most nights, shootouts are a blessing in disguise, not just with the extra point up for grabs, but because fans enjoy seeing an end result to an evening of entertainment. Last night, with the Red Wings battling back from a 4-0 deficit only to lose in the shootout to Pittsburgh, there was more to be desired.
“I think it (the shootout) is good for hockey. I think the fans enjoy it and it is a fun exciting thing at the end of the game,” said Niklas Kronwall. “With saying that, it can kind of go either way.”
Thankfully, unlike at the Olympics, overtime in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is sudden death, no matter how long the game lasts. And while last night wasn’t a playoff game, it surely felt like one to the 20,000+ that packed Joe Louis Arena.
“During those last few minutes of the third period and overtime, it certainly had that playoff feel,” goaltender Joey MacDonald said. “At the end of the night, you’ve got to look at the fact that one guy scored out of six shooters and there were some good shooters shooting. We’ve got to take the positive from it.”
The comeback, which took place without Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler in the lineup was impressive. The reward was a well-earned point in the standings, critical given the current race for playoff positioning.
“Our guys really battled and hung in there, and we found a way to get a good point,” Mike Babcock said. “It would have been nice to get the second one, and we had the opportunity, but didn’t get it done.”
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