Classy Champs Not Out of the Woods Yet
Robbed of a critical goal late in the third game of their Western Conference playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks, the Detroit Red Wings weren't about to cut it close this time.
|Depth, class and skill. Wings are a group to be feared.|
Instead, they pounded six goals into the Ducks net on Wednesday night, including five on rookie goalie Jonas Hiller, ripping Anaheim 6-3 in an exhibition of skill and class.
The champs, it's clear, have lots of both.
But they've also got a fair bit of guts. After losing Game 3 on a terrible missed call by referee Brad Watson, the Wings found themselves down 1-0 in the first minute of Game 4.
But with the newly constructed line of Val Filpulla between Johan Franzen and Marian Hossa doing most of the damage, Detroit gradually took over the game and drove Hiller from the net early in the third after piling up a 5-2 lead.
Franzen had two goals, giving him 17 in his last 18 playoff games, while Hossa finally showed signs of life offensively and demonstrated the depth Detroit has up front with Hossa, Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
The Ducks, meanwhile, don't have the firepower to match Detroit, particularly when they're only getting offence out of one line, namely the Ryan Getzlaf-Bobby Ryan-Corey Perry unit. Getzlaf didn't play much in the third last night, and if he's injured, that sucks even more of the life out of the Anaheim attack.
It's pretty obvious that Detroit is the better team, particularly when the Ducks aren't as effective with the physical game as they were in Games 2 and 3. Anaheim now has to bounce back for Game 5 in Motown, and Hiller has to show he can bounce back as well.
Both Western Conference semis are now tied 2-2, with Chicago coming from behind to stun Vancouver in overtime last night in the Windy City.
The lesson of this one? Just hanging on to a one-goal lead is a difficult thing to do in the post-lockout NHL, and the Canucks paid dearly for playing a remarkably passive game from the midway point of the second period on last night.
The Canucks seemed to be in control, but Roberto Luongo was victimized late by Martin Havlat and then in OT by an Andrew Ladd deflection. Mats Sundin, meanwhile, was barely noticeable for Vancouver, which seemed to suck the life out of the youthful Blackhawks for 55 minutes but then made key errors to lose the hockey game, 2-1.