Red Wings 6-7 Penguins (OT)
Last time Pittsburgh was in town, the night ended with that distinct, incomparable sound of away fans and bench players hollering with joy, with Mike Emerick's piercing voice echoing throughout my head, and with the feeling that the better team just couldn't finish.
First off, credit the Pens for not packing it in after facing a three goal deficit on the road in the third period. The team is talented, yes, but their quick-strike ability makes them dangerous as hell. When you're as deep down the middle as they are, this kind of shit can happen and you need to put the proverbial boot to their throat when the opportunity arises. The Wings' soft D didn't come close to doing that.
I said before the game that it's just a regular season game, that it's only November 11th. What a crock of shit. That loss felt fucking awful. I watched it with three friends -- after recording it and not being able to start watching until after 1 AM -- and afterward we didn't even want to look at one another. The Wings are so far removed from where they were in the playoffs that it's remarkable they've come away with at least a point in 12 out of 14 games. If it weren't for the power play things would be looking a lot different right now. So with pretty much the same exact roster -- except for the upgrade defensively of Marian Hossa over Dallas Drake -- you'd think that the assistant coaching shakeup from the summer might be the root cause. Something is different. I'm hardly an expert so until somebody points out some specific shit that is being done differently in our own end I'm going to continue to close my eyes and point fingers. I sure as hell haven't spotted it yet, but I'd like to know. Can the McClellan - McCrimmon switch be THIS big of a deal?
Game thoughts ...
- Rafalski looked weak on the back end. I don't want to start a movement piling on the guy or anything, but for all of his offensive ability he is liable to a fair number of blunders. He gets pushed off the puck far too many times in my opinion.
- Overall I thought that there was a noticeable lack of physicality from the Wings, namely in front of their own goal. Brad Stuart was whatever is worse than a complete non-factor on Pittsburgh's second goal, letting his man push him balls deep into Osgood.
- Jordan Staal had an insane game for the Pens. I can't imagine that he's had a better game than the one he played last night. And aside from, oh, getting a fucking hat trick against the vaunted Wings defense (did I say vaunted? I meant unwatchably horrendous) he completely punked Datsyuk on the overtime goal and set up Fedotenko perfectly to win the game.
- Speaking of Datsyuk, he didn't have his best outing. It was cool how he hoodwinked Crosby to get in position for that wicked slapshot goal. But how he got THAT lazy for Staal to rob him like he was a 90 year old woman walking down a dark alley is ridiculous.
- Jiri Hudler was the Wings best player, finished with a goal and two assists. He looked like he was seeing the ice really well. The fact that Jiri Hudler was the Wings best player probably isn't a good sign, however.
- People abound are trashing Hossa because he didn't score 17 goals and cure AIDS last night. Ok maybe those people are just The Pensblog and their commenters. That's cool. I didn't think he was in top form but his two assists and five shots prevent me from throwing out the "he didn't show up" tag.
- Plus/minus ... minus 2 = Zetterberg, Rafalski, Franzen, Hossa and Lidstrom; and a minus 3 for Datsyuk
- Chris Osgood isn't stealing any games for us. If the bad defense continues to fuck it up in front of him, hang onto your asses, Red Wing fans.