I literally can't believe how much bullshit the Wings had to put up with in this game and still almost tied it to force overtime. First, they start strong and outplay San Jose for the game's initial eight minutes. Then, the referees call a very weak slashing call on Filppula (he didn't even break the damn guy's stick!) and thus began the Sharks' scoring barrage. One, two, three and it was 3-0 San Jose just that fast. The first was a good shot on the powerplay by the suddenly surface-of-the-sun hot Joe Pavelski (who everyone is having such a good time calling "The Big Pavelski" -- We get it. The Big Lebowski except with Pavelski. Hilarious. Go snip your brainstem.) and then the Wings blow coverage in front of the net on Heatley's goal and then Setoguchi has a puck bounce right to him and he dumps it in the open net. Amazing series of events that all started with a crappy call that a referee shouldn't make in the playoffs. How in the world can a guy of Filppula's soft hands and moisturized hair slash someone hard enough for a penalty? I just don't see it.
Anyway, Cleary comes back with an easy one. Then the Wings outplay the Sharks for the next 20 minutes and Franzen snipes a beauty. But then the Mule gets slashed in the face, necessitating more than a few stitches and much bloodshed, and the man gets called for a tripping penalty. WAIT, wait wait. I'm sorry. I was wrong. I did some research, and apparently the NHL has changed the definition of a tripping penalty.
Straight from Lil' Gary's Book o' Rules:
- "Tripping: When a player trips another player with his stick or when a player aggressively lodges his face into another player's stick and forces
the pansyhim to fall down due to the strength of his fantastic skin."
I hated it, I was frustrated for the game entirety, and I'm not going to be able to sleep for a while tonight. But I have to agree with what Mr. Triple Deke tweeted after this one wrapped up: "Not worried either. Still love this matchup."
He's right. The Wings outplayed the Sharks for almost the entire game (not vastly outplayed, but outplayed nonetheless) on the road, less than two days after the end of a tough seven-game series, and still only lost by one thanks to some bullshit from the refs. I have to think that's a good sign somehow about this matchup. The Sharks aren't playoff tested. The Wings are. They're both really talented, but the Wings have the drive. I still like the Wings a lot in this one. Let's do it again in game two.
Oh, and the best part about game two on Sunday? Not on NBC, not in the afternoon. Night game in the Shark Tank. Let's tie it up boys. Go Wings.