Detroit Chokes in Classic Fashion
In my world, the Detroit Red Wings won tonight by a score of 3-2 over the Nashville Predators. In real life, NOT TRUE.
Shea Weber scored twice in the last two minutes of the game and Nashville somehow won 4-3. They were out-shot, out-chanced and out-classed until the last two minutes and the Wings don't get a single point for it. That's what happens when you let your foot off the gas pedal.
So here's how this is going to work; I'm going to write an honest game review until the 3-2 mark, and then it's rant time. Fair enough? Here we go.
Detroit opened the scoring with Tomas Holmstrom on the powerplay; a typical Homer rebound garbage goal. Henrik Zetterberg then finished off a nice feed from Jiri Hudler for a 2-0 lead on another powerplay. David Legwand got one back for the Preds off two shots standing alone in front of Howard. Late in the third, Nicklas Lidstrom scored from the point to make it 3-1. A 4-1 lead would seem insurmountable, but Nashville scored again off a big rebound to Jordin Tootoo. So after two periods, it was 3-2 Detroit.
The Wings kept playing the same way and slowed the game down, the Nashville crowd was out of it, and the puck possession game was working until two minutes left.
Jimmy Howard takes a needless penalty (hooking) when he should have just stayed in the net and let the defenceman worry about the puck. I know that playing the puck helps them out, but in this timeframe of the game, stay in the damn net.
Nashville powerplay: to or not to cover Shea Weber? I'd say you should, apparently no one thought of that because Weber blasted a slapshot home for a 3-3 tie. Maybe a minute later, guess who? Weber again, with a bouncing god-awful wrist shot that got past Howard.
Now I'm not going to blast the Wings for the game they played; they actually fought pretty hard and stayed physical with the Preds. But the way they choke in games like this is almost comical. It hasn't happened this year until now, but in recent memory it has happened lots and I remember them all. It's always the same script; a dominant start, a commanding lead in shots and chances, and a a far inferior team finds a way to claw their way back. There were chances to ice this game away, certainly Pavel Datsyuk's wide open net missed opportunity and Henrik Zetterberg somehow also missing an empty net and hitting Pekka Rinne in the cranium while he was not even in the net doesn't help.
This is the beauty with the Red Wings; we expect them to win every game. Is it way overconfident? You bet, but twenty straight playoff appearances and four Cups in recent memory will do that to you.
Is there anyone to blame for this? People will say Howard. Well guess what? It was a stupid penalty but that's part of the game. If he didn't hook the player it's probably a goal anyway. I'm just going to say it's a team loss. Does it make it more palatable? Not at all, because I want someone to rip into for this loss! Oh well, I guess we still have Jonathan Ericsson to complain about.
Should the Wings give the Preds the credit? For sure, they found a way to win a game that they were outplayed in. Detroit deserved the win tonight but gift wrapped a special early Christmas present to the Nashville Predators.