Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shock and Awe

Somebody pinch me, poke me or do anything that would tell me this is real. The Red Wings, who've lost 16 of 23 playoff overtime games this decade (thanks TTD), won in overtime?! On a goal by Mikael Samuelsson?!?! I'd never believe it if somebody told me, but I saw it with my own eyes. It happened, and it. Was. Awesome.

Sammy is such a schizophrenic player. In a single game, I move from hair-pulling and cursing to fist pumping and loving entirely at his expense. This game was no exception. His lazy turnaround soft toss to Brian Campbell at the point in the first period that led to the 'Hawks first goal was awful. I hated him. His finishing touch on a bouncing puck on the Wings' 3-on-1 break that ended the game was beautiful. I loved him.

At the start of these playoffs, I was preparing my goodbyes to Sammy because I was sure he'd be leaving at the end of the postseason as one of Detroit's many unrestricted free agents. Now, I'm not so sure. He has five goals, three assists and sports a nice +5 rating. Obviously the magnificent Hossa is the top priority, but has Samuelsson now become more important than Hudler? I'm not prepared to answer that right now. Crazy how things turn in 13 games.

Overall, that game was more stressful than the first. Some of the ridiculous confidence I exuded after game one has died down, but it would have been completely depleted had the Wings just lost another game two OT thriller. Clearly, Honest Abe Toews and his baby sidekick Kane stepped up their play. But then again, so did Osgood.

Ozzie was amazing. He shouldn't have to make 35 saves in regulation because the Wings will usually bail him out with more goals, but he was great. I don't know where the Wings would be if they listened to me and threw Conklin in there from day one. Ozzie has proved everyone wrong, especially me, and been everything and more that the Wings need him to be. I'm impressed.

I'm going a little insane with Datsyuk still scoreless, especially since he is playing well in every other aspect, but he'll get one sooner or later. As long as he's winning faceoffs, forcing turnovers, dishing out hits, and making plays, I'm happy. Cleary was great again and the secondary scoring continues. I keep waiting for Dats, Hoss and Z to dominate a game with goals of their own but it hasn't happened. It will soon.

A couple last things before I move on: what the hell penalty killers?! Can we please go a single freaking game without allowing a powerplay goal? It's been 11 straight games; I'm tired of it. Game three prognostication: no powerplay goals for Chicago. Please. And lastly...I finally heard Samuelsson speak tonight in his postgame interview with Whosie Whatsit from Versus. He sounds kind of like how the Triple Deke makes him sound. I wish I could find the post where TTDSammy mistakenly mixes up Stevie Y and Paul Ysebaert. Hilarious. His real-life voice might have sounded a bit less intelligent tonight because he was yelling a bit, but I'm warming up to him. He could talk like this guy for all I care, and I'd still love him after tonight's heroics.

As for game three, I know the 'Hawks will come out strong and fast in front of their home fans. My hope is that the Wings can get a quick goal past the still-struggling Khabibulin and steal the game. If they do that, they might not even need a return trip to Detroit. If they let up an early one though, we could be going back to the D tied up at two just that fast. Let's pray to Yzerman that doesn't happen.

I always hate two days in between games, but only because I want to watch the Wings play every night. I'm sure both teams could use the rest, but I'll be waiting. One dominating performance in Chicago and this series could be over. See ya Friday. Go Wings.

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