The Detroit Red Wings went into Boston on Friday and came away with a 1-0 victory, but followed that up on Easter Sunday by getting thrashed 4-1 in a game 2 defeat. The best of 7 series will be heading back west into Hockeytown all tied up at one game apiece.
Here are my thoughts and reaction following the opening week of 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs for the Detroit Red Wings with my weekly plus/minus report summing up the good and the bad from the week that was.
+ Maintaining Composure (Game 1)
The Wings did three things extremely well on Friday: played with speed, got great goaltending, and stayed out of trouble. By the end of the night the Magic Man finished off the victory in style. While Pavel Datsyuk’s highlight reel goal made people’s jaws drop, it was his celebration that caught my attention. There wasn’t one.
In a scoreless back and forth affair Datsyuk dangled and dazzled to score the game-winning goal only to show absolutely no emotion, whereas I was jumping up and down. Pavel has set the precedent that the Wings firmly believe they can win this series and an over celebration in a game 1 win over the President Trophy winners would do more harm than good. This is a race to win 4 games, not 1.
The Wings will get to 4 wins first if they keep their composure and play their style of fast, puck control hockey. Not by adapting to the physical, out to hurt somebody game the big bad Bruins are trying to play.
This transitions nicely into what happened today…
– Losing Composure (Game 2)
Everything the Wings did right on Friday fell apart on Sunday. It all started with the communication breakdown on defense that saw Jimmy Howard come out to play a puck only to see it come right back at him and into his net moments later. Tack on a power play goal 3 minutes later and a few hard hits against the boards and the Red Wings had enough. They were sick of getting bullied.
But, instead of staying the course and fighting back with their strengths they wanted to fight fire with fire. I certainly don’t blame them because I admit that I was hoping Brendan Smith dropped the gloves with the Slovakian giant Zdeno Chara at the end of the 1st period. But, that’s not the Wings’ game. If they play with the fire then they are going to get burnt every single time, as we witnessed today.
The Wings can’t allow the Bruins to get under their skin because once they do the Wings are no longer playing their game but playing the Bruins. The solution, turn the other cheek and move on. It’s hard, but it has to be Red Wings’ game plan heading back to Detroit. Having the home crowd behind them will inevitably help.
+/- Rating = Even
That’s it. Short and sweet; one positive and one negative. Just like the series, it’s an even rating after two games. Which isn’t bad at all considering the Red Wings have gained home ice advantage and if they can hold serve at Joe Louis Arena then they will close out this series in 6 games (my prediction).
Games 3, 4, and 5 are on tap for this week.
April 22 (Tuesday): Vs. Boston Bruins
7:30PM EST on NBC Sports (or Fox Sports Detroit)
April 24 (Thursday): Vs. Boston Bruins
8:00PM EST on NBC Sports (or Fox Sports Detroit)
April 26 (Saturday): @ Boston Bruins
3:00PM EST on NBC
No reason for me to change my mind; I’m staying with my original prediction: Red Wings in 6.
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