Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

These Red Wings are little more than Chicago-lite. A smooth skating puck possession team that succumbs under the physical pressure imposed by teams like our Ducks. Noteworthy, these same Wings went 6-4-1 against the NHL’s big  bad three, composed of our Ducks, St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Kings.

It isn’t just our Ducks that these Red Wings give fits. Frankly, I’m baffled.

Kyle Palmieri says, “They are relentless in their pursuit. (of the puck)” is that it? You can’t hit what you can’t catch? In Wednesday’s game our guys got on top of these Wings often enough to deliver 20 hits in the 20 minutes of the first period. Following the first they caught the Wings with just 12 hits in the second, third and overtime periods combined.

The media is fond to point to Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. The papers are full of stories about how Corey Perry is being kept off the score sheet. Big whoop. For as good as Howard has been, he’s only held our Ducks to less than three goals once in this series. Ducks GF is 16 goals in five games for a 3.20 GFA.

As good as our Ducks offense has been, they haven’t solved Jimmy Howard. He’s just no different from every goalie who’s ever played the game. Get him moving, screen him, force him to give up rebounds and get bodies into the low slot and Howard proves himself to be quite human after all.

Maybe it’s as czhokej shared last night, “Detroit is a very dangerous hockey team.” They have a lot of snipers, one of whom, Henrik Zetterburg has been held off the score sheet as well. Let them hang around and they’ll find a way with their relentless pursuit to make us pay. It isn’t just our Ducks but they’ve beaten our play-a-like teams as well.

Another 4-0 win would be sweet but something tells me these Wings will remain relentless to the final buzzer. Ducks fans don’t care how our guys close these Wings out. We care that they do and the sooner the better.

Note: If our Ducks and the Kings win their respective series, they will meet in the second round of the playoffs.

Special teams continue to be the story as our Ducks scored one shorthanded and two power play goals while dismantling the Red Wings during a 4-0 road win Saturday night.

The Wings went 0 for 7 on the PP including a 5 on 3 for fifty seconds.

Even the beneficiary of the officials largess was unappreciative. Following the game Coach Babcock talked about how the calls disrupt the game. He mentioned that his top players had all played over eight minutes in the first period.

If ever there is a signal to the NHL that the quality of the officiating must improve it is when the team apparently benefiting is the one complaining.

Our Ducks have earned a decided lead in special teams play. In their two losses the Wings are 1 for 11 with the man advantage. Our Ducks PP efficiency is 33.3%.

At the outset of the playoffs the Red Wings were said to be better in net and were the hot team going in. Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard is 1-2 with a SP of just .885 and a GAA of 3.33. Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller has a GAA of 1.99, SP of .922 and a shutout.

Of concern to Coach Babcock is that our Ducks have scored 4 times even strength. Four of the Wings six goals in this have come with the man advantage. Ducks are beating the Wings in all phases of the game.

Down 2 games to 1 in a 7 game series, Detroit find themselves in a must win situation. Their only win coming as a result of one-sided officiating.

Babcock said the game (and perhaps this series) turned on Ryan Getzlaf‘s shorthanded goal. Wings fans began to abandoned their team midway through the third when Emerson Etem put our Ducks by 3. The Joe virtually emptied out five minutes later when Matt Beleskey put us up 4-zip.

Abandoned by their fans. Unable to benefit from one-sided officiating. Our Ducks are clearly inside the mind of their goalie. These Wings are clearly on the ropes. They now represent a challenge our ducks have risen to infrequently through this season.

Do they have the killer instinct? Finding it now will elevate our Ducks to another level.

Followers of this blog know what happened last night. We told you. Wings shifted to a short gap, short passing game or what Gabby calls shares, Howard was spectacular when needed and they got some very fortuitous calls by the officials.

What I didn’t think would happen is that we didn’t have an answer. Our guys nearly came back but in a nutshell, we were unable to overcome bad and biased officiating and shut down the Detroit power play.

We’ll look at all five goals with video links.

Ducks opened strong. Our guys got the puck in deep. As the play moved back into the neutral zone Ducks went for a line change. Getz, Ryan and Fowler got off leaving Beauchemin and Perry out there. Perry picked up the puck along the boards and sensing backside pressure, he flipped the biscuit back up ice into the pressure. In this situation Pears needed to eat the puck rather than try a no look back hand chip during a line change. In Perry’s defense he did chip the puck into a safe area,. The mistake was doing it during a line change. You have to know when to eat the puck.
Pavel Datsyuk jumped on the loose puck. Pushed it to Abdelkader flying through the neutral zone. The Wing forward used Beauchemin for a screen and from about 30 feet out, ripped a seeing eye shot high blocker side past Hiller.

Hiller could have played it differently but I don’t fault him on the play. The turnover is on Perry. Hiller had backed off from the top of the crease when Abdelkader shifted to his left. I don’t think Hillsy saw the release point of the shot though. While Hiller does have line of sight the puck on the last nan0-second prior to the release; Hillsy had moved with the shooter, Abdelkader fired against the flow of the goalie’s movement.

The mistake on the play was made by Perry. Nobody else was at fault. You don’t blame goalies for “seeing-eye” shots.

About 3 minutes later, Detroit capitalized on another Ducks turnover, this time by Teemu Selanne. Flash picked up the loose biscuit and attempted a share with Fowler who was moving up with speed. Just at the moment of the truth, it looked like Quincy pressured from the point, got his stick into the passing seam and tipped the puck over to Brunner. Brunner untouched in the primary shooting area beat Hiller top shelf, glove side.

I won’t get back to this post until tonight. Ducks turnovers and short Detroit passes led to the first two goals. Exactly what we talked about in the pre-game.

 

Ducks checking line is as improbable as the players who comprise u it. Two small skill guys and a journeyman grinder. When the line is most effective, Andrew Cogliano uses warp speed to provide the pressure up ice. Saku Koivu patrols the center lane from slot to slot. Journeyman Daniel Winnick is a travelin’ man delivering punishing checks and challenging physical battles around the wall.

Drawing the daunting assignment of dogging Detroit’s two best players this unlikely trio not only kept Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterburg off the score sheet but reduced Datsyuk to just one and Zetterburg to only three shots on Jonas Hiller.

On many shifts the Ducks checking line hemmed the Wings best deep in their own zone. How they do their work is a bit comical actually. Off the puck, Koivu and Cogliano are the pressure forwards who force the opposition to Winnick’s wall. When they have the puck, breaking up the Saku and Cogs cycle is like catching butterflys without a net or fishing with just your hands.

So thoroughly did the unsung trio shadow Detroit’s stars they reduced Coach Mike Babcock to complaining about the inability of his D to move the puck. This poses quite a challenge to the former Ducks coach. Does he breakup his Eurotwins or adjust the system?

Actually Babcock directed a lot of Plan B, whip it around the net break outs to no avail, to chips along the wall. He went to the so-called stretch pass, sending the mail from deep in the Wings zone high into the neutral zone. Time after time Ducks players, most notably Saku, Cogs or Winnie saw that one coming with anticipation and reads reminiscent of Wayne Gretzky.

So thorough was the Ducks defensive scheme that the Wings committed 13 giveaways compared to averaging just 4.7 giveaways per game during the season.

Datsyuk and Zetterburg got healthy and hot down the stretch. Along with goaltender Jimmy Howard they powered the Wings into the playoffs.

So what is the Detroit coach to do next? Look for him to breakup the Eurotwins in game two. He has to get one of them, most likely Zetterburg, away from the Koivu line.

If it doesn’t work, Babs will surely find his Wings down 2-0. At that point the Wings tactician will reunite them and use the home team’s last change to get his offensive stars away from Anaheim’s most unlikely checking line.

Our Ducks did more than win a game last night. They sent the Wings back to the quiet study of the video room.

 

One marker in a successful season is when a team begins to do things it hasn’t done of late. In other words, successful teams begin exorcise their demons. Until tonight our Ducks hadn’t won a game in Detroit since February 10, 2008. Our Ducks teams have been a woeful 2-25-1 in our last 28 games at the Joe.

As has begun to define these Ducks in this special season it was a come from behind win. Jimmy Howard stood on his ear while stopping 14 Ducks shots in the first twenty minutes of play. The Red Wings responded with six shots. The difference, eight shots, is indicative of the wide territorial advantage our Ducks earned throughout the game. Howard was particularly sharp while robbing Ryan Getzlaf point-blank with a stunning glove save.

Detroit scored first at 3:01 of the second when Joakim Anderson wristed one over Viktor Fasth’s elbow. Our Ducks responded 26 ticks later when Matt Beleskey took a no look behind the back feed from Ryan Getzlaf and blew one past Howard.

Ducks continued to press but Howard stood tall. With Peter Holland in the sin bin for delay of game, Tomas Tatar swung into a juicy rebound that rested six feet out center slot.  Detroit’s second lead would last for 1:05 when a Matt Beleskey rebound deflected off a Detroit player’s broken stick that Corey Perry snagged and tucked in around a sprawling Jimmy Howard. It was Perry’s first goal in regulation or overtime in twelve games.

The second would end locked at 2 all.

The no quit Ducks continued to press in the third and got rewarded for the efforts.  At 1:02 Andrew Cogliano tipped in a slick Saku Koivu for his third goal in three straight games. Forty-eight seconds later Bobby Ryan went to his to paste his own rebound through the Detroit netminder.

Ducks then went to work on the clock. They frustrated Detroit by getting to and controlling loose pucks, intercepting first pass after first pass forcing the Red Wings to play deep in its own end.

Andrew Cogliano put the game out of reach when Ryan Getzlaf forced a neutral zone turnover and Corey Perry pushed the puck to Cogs who turned on the jets creating space between himself and Wings defender Niklas Kronwall before scoring into the open net.

The game might have been a laffer if not for the heroic play of Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.

Our Ducks take their 4-1 road trip record into Nashville for the final game of Anaheim’s longest away stretch of the season.

Comments published within the last 24 hours by the teams respective coaches is all you need to know about tonight’s game. The Blues coach notes, “”We’re cheating all over the ice,” Hitchcock said. “We’re cheating to get on the offense, we’re cheating to score. We’re cheating each other and we’re cheating the game, and we’re paying the price for it.”
Meanwhile, Ducks Bruce Boudreau was succinct in the media scrum following the game against Dallas last night observing, “We played like crap.”

Hitchcock responded by cancelling practice Friday in favor of video sessions. Time of course is not a luxury for our Ducks who got on a bus, plane and moved on to St. Louis overnight.

Thus far the Ducks and Blues seasons have been remarkably similar. Ducks opened 7-1-1 including a mailed in performance against Colorado Tuesday. The Blues opened 6-1 before losing their last three and being outscored 11-2 by Nashville and Detroit this week.

We’ll get our first look at the exceptionally talented rookie Vladimir Tarasenko. The big RW has begun his NHL career as a point per game player through his first ten games, notching five goals and an equal number of assists. Tarasenko is said to possess deft one on one skills. Another Jagr?

Despite only scoring two goals in their last two games, these Blues sport an impressive PP running along at a 33% efficiency clip.

Brian Elliot is expected to start in goal for St. Louis. Jaroslav Halak (3-0) is mending a tender groin. No word on our Ducks starter as yet. Gabby broke with tradition when he sent Hiller in after Fasth earned a shutout in the previous game. Hiller pulled himself out of the game last night with what is being reported as lower body injury.

This is one game in which fans of each team will be looking intently for signs that their respective team’s rut is turning into a groove.

Note: The Fourth Period blog is reporting:

“Perry’s agents are still set to meet with Murray in Anaheim, agent Mark Guy confirmed to TFP, though he would not get into details as to the matter of discussions.”

This report has set off Gossip Girl speculation that if Pears is not signed he might be moved by the trade deadline. In true Gossip Girl fashion the caveat that Perry could also be moved at the draft is added to most reports.

If Ducks are in the playoffs at the April 3rd trade deadline, it is very unlikely Perry would be moved. What happens afterward is dependent upon whether or not he re-ups with our Ducks.

Ever notice that the speculators always turn out at the first sign of a change in team fortunes? It’s they’re all waiting for the proverbial penny to drop. Except in Canada where that wait could longer given that they’re doing with the penny. But I digress.

This post is a bit of long and winding road but indulge me a bit, there is a pay off.

Computers and the internet impress me as one big wow. What IT is as a technological advance and what it offers in terms of enhancing the human experience is simply overwhelming. That why I call it the big wow. To Retired Hockey Mom I must sound like a 60’s flower child on drugs because I’m always going, “Oh wow.” (more…)

UPDATE:

Eric Stephens 

@icemancometh Eric Stephens
Teemu Selanne very doubtful for tonight. Possible setback of previous groin issue.

Rubber, meet the road. For us fans it’s a watch, wonder and learn game. For our Ducks it’s a measuring stick. Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, a Kings fan, who went to the trouble of registering on the OCR board and posing as a Ducks fan wrote, “LA is the measuring stick team in the Western Conference….”

(more…)

What do Mike Bacock, Ruslan Salei, Drew Miller and Todd Bertuzzi all have in common? Each is a former Duck now playing a key role on the Wings. Very unusual for teams that consider themselves rivals.

Since and including our Ducks Cup season, the teams are 7-7-2 with each scoring and giving up 45 goals during the regular season.

They’ve fought two legendary playoff rounds since. In fact many observers have pointed out that Detroit’s Cup win in 2008 was in part because they didn’t face the bruising Ducks in the playoffs. (more…)