I was going to do a postgame post with all sorts of multimedia on why Montreal’s final two goals were off bad calls but, while I do think that and will spend some time on it, that’s not the biggest story of the night, just the part that makes me most angry.
There were really four parts to Detroit’s 5-3 loss in Montreal on Friday.
In the first period the Red Wings came out… Not strong but acceptable. They looked a bit like they had played the night before – which they had. Jonas Gustavsson had a huge save early. Nothing really got going offensively but not for lack of trying.
Then Montreal scored first and everything fell apart. Any momentum the Wings had was gone and by the second period they had absolutely nothing going, outside of their still-unsuccessful five-on-three.
By the start of the third period, it was looking like a loss was a sure thing, which actually wasn’t a problem to me because I’d chalked this up as a loss earlier in the week so my expectations were set. But then the Wings came back. Pavel Datsyuk scored and it was kind of “Hey, look, Datsyuk managed to get a goal, it’ll be awesome if he can get going.” Of all people, Luke Glendening scored and suddenly its a one goal game. Then Niklas Kronwall‘s PPG ties things up and it’s a new game.
But just as quickly as as Detroit stormed back, Montreal added two more controversial goals to make it 5-3, where the game ended.
You’re not supposed to win games where you only play one period. Sometimes you do but you’re not supposed to. Hell, I used to rant when the Wings were only putting in 40 minute efforts, 20 minute efforts should clearly not be enough. So one period of effort in a game the Wings were slated to lose ends up being a loss. No surprise there.
But then there’s the controversy.
I don’t know how you can look at Montreal’s fifth goal in the context of Boston’s apparent first goal on Wednesday or this goal or this goal and not question it. Either they’ve gotten it wrong three times this season that I can mention off the top of my head or they got it wrong tonight. Or all of them have been wrong and right is somewhere in between. I lean towards that last option.
The fourth goal might be worse because it’s not a matter of opinion, though it does seem to be subject to an interpretation of the rules. I keep reading “You’re not offsides coming in backwards if you have possession of the puck.” Gionta had possession as the puck crossed the blue line. The problem is that’s not the rule.
…a player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered “off-side,” provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the blue line.
By the time Gionta had possession, he had a skate and a half in the Detroit zone.
Put it this way: If he was cherry-picking in the Detroit zone and reached back out to take the pass just on the other side of the blue line, would it be allowed? That’s effectively what happened here.
So mediocre play, then awful play, then an awesome comeback, then controversy. Eventful night.