After failing to eliminate the Detroit Red Wings in game 6 at Joe Louis Arena the Anaheim Ducks look to take the series in a win-or-stay-home situation at the Honda Center tonight.
But playing in game 7’s are nothing new to this Red Wings squad as they are 13-9 all time in those decisive games, whereas the Ducks are only 2-2 all time. Experience in an elimination game is just one of the factors why I believe the Red Wings will advance into the second round of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are two others.
Both Detroit superstars had 3-point nights in game 6 to lead their team to victory and most importantly extend the series to a 7th game. Zetterberg’s second goal of the game happened to be a game-winner 64 seconds into overtime. It was the 53rd goal of Zetterberg’s playoff career in 115 games in the post season, but that was the captains first goal ever in an overtime playoff. This came after Datsyuk scored the winning goal in overtime of game 4 of this series. So if your wondering how important are these two players for the Red Wings to advance into the second round.. like my mother would say, “As important as water and sunlight is to a plant.”
That plant being this new look Red Wings team which is filled with young talent such as Damien Brunner, Gustav Nyquist, and Brandon Smith; who are all growing with experience throughout this playoff process. So the water of the team, being Datsyuk, and the sunlight of the team, being Zetterberg, will need to maintain their veteran leadership and use the experience they have to rub off on this team now and for this Red Wings team in the future.
But that’s not even mentioning the MVP of this Red Wing’s team in this quarterfinal series, or even throughout this whole shortened regular season for that matter, which is goalie Jimmy Howard. He led the Red Wings into the playoffs and into the seventh seed with a 2.13 GAA, or Goals Against Average for you non-acronym fans. And his greatness has continued into the first round of the playoffs, as his 173 saves out of 191 chances is the 2nd best amongst all active playoff goalies. It seems like there is not a minute that goes by in this playoffs where Fox Sports Detroit’s TV announcer Ken Daniels doesn’t say “What a save by Jimmy.” Jimmy Howard will be the key difference if the Red Wings win or lose Sunday night.
This year had to be one of the most frustrating years for the Red Wings organization ever since I can remember, but a win on Sunday night will diminish all negativity surrounding this team. It will take a team effort from the Wings to take down this Ducks team who has a guy named Ryan Getzlaf who leads the team in scoring this series, and all-time Red Wing killer Teemu Selanne who just doesn’t seem to know when to retire. Taming both of those players and staying away from penalties will be key for Detroit to winning this game. I believe the final score will be 3-1 in favor of Detroit, as Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard will be the star of the night.
On a side note, growing up as a majority NBA, NFL, and MLB fan, I have to admit the intensity of a hockey playoff game compares to none. I was flipping channels back and fourth between the Wings and Ducks game in the second period and the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors game in the second quarter, and the pace of the hockey game is just much more quicker and much more alive then the basketball game. And with this series already having four overtimes in the 6 games they’ve already played, you can almost expect this game 7 to be as exciting as all the others.