Saturday, April 21, 2007

Flame Out in Detroit

I caught the first two periods before taking advantage of this wonderful almost summer-like day before. From what I saw, I thought the Flames had a pretty solid opening period and very easily could've been ahead if not for some big stops by the Dominator.

In the second stanza, they were unable to carry that momentum forward and self destructed literally on special teams to hand the Wings the game. Any time you allow two shorthanded goals including a nifty backhand deke by Daniel Cleary on a penalty shot which got Detroit on the board, you aren't going to win at this time of year. Hell. It's hard to win like that in any game.

I thought the Flames were careless with the puck and also didn't continue to get shots on Hasek. While that was taking place, the Wings continued to test Kipper and eventually got to him even though his goaltending was spectacular in that period despite giving up three. It could've been much worse and reminded me of how Calgary imploded in the first two games at Hockey Town.

The Chelios shorty was nice. Not bad for a 45 year-old 22-year vet. That guy is remarkable. And Lidstrom as predicted had a much better game than the last two. That pass he made to Zetterberg was something for that PP tally which made it 2-0. And no Pierre McGuire. Holmstrom didn't hit Stuart from behind. Try watching more closely mad scientist. It was from the side and just a good takeout by the game's grittiest player in front of the net.

It makes one wonder if the home ice is that intimidating in this series. When you see how these teams have played at home so far, it sure seems that way.

Obviously, tomorrow night in Alberta, the pressure shifts to the Flames. It's a quick turnaround. So they're going to have forget this debacle.

In terms of what happened at the end, I can't really comment much other than to say that's just frustration. You will see that in these playoffs. They're trying to send a message that they're not done. You saw it the other night with the Lightning and Tortorella. Hell. Even the Thrashers down two games sent the same message with some of that chippy play.

When it comes to the playoffs, teams who are almost on the brink aren't going to back down. And sometimes that does lead to borderline dirty play and confrontations. But the team who prevails has to understand why. They want to get payback. Do it by taking care of business on the scoreboard next game and eliminating their opponent(s).

I think that's what makes the NHL postseason so amazing. These guys battle so hard in these series. And sometimes it gets really intense. But at the end of those same series, you see these guys shake hands and show respect after it's all over.

The Canucks have some pressure on them at the top of the hour because they don't want to go to a Game Seven. Even if it's at home, anything can happen. The Stars are playing with house money. You know this game will be close. They all have been.

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