I want to start off with the end of the game and Shea Weber’s manhandling of Henrik Zetterberg, but I still can’t find the words for that.
It was just such a stupid play by a player who’s good enough not to need to do that. It was so blatant and has no place in the game, but #BecauseItsTheCup I don’t have any faith in the NHL to deliver an appropriate punishment.
Speaking of punishment… I had the FSD feed so I didn’t see Mike Babcock’s in-game interview but I saw that he criticized the officiating, basically saying they were calling things just to get noticed by Gary Bettman, who was in the arena for Game One. Will he be fined for it? If so, TPL and I are already talking about a HockeyRodent-like fundraiser to cover the cost.
I just posted the question of whether or not a better-officiated game would have prevented Weber’s actions. I personally don’t think it would have, as we’ve seen many times that players aren’t afraid to take a penalty in the final seconds because it won’t actually hurt their team. In Weber’s case, if a penalty had been called it would have been at 20:00, with no time on the clock for the Wings to do anything with it. He wasn’t taking advantage of a poorly-officiated game, he would have done that anyway.
As for the rest of the game…
This could have gone Detroit’s way, so it’s disappointing that it didn’t. That said, they didn’t learn from what worked for them so they kind of deserved to lose.
Two of Nashville’s three goals were incredible luck that the Red Wings couldn’t duplicate. Those breaks happen, can’t do anything about it. That said, both of Detroit’s goals were scored by getting bodies around the net and knocking in a rebound, yet the team seemed afraid to throw the puck at the net and see what happened. They spent too much time looking for the perfect play. Unfortunately, that’s a common issue for the Wings.
Also unfortunate, the injury to Darren Helm in the first period. He caught a skate to his arm in what looked like a play very similar to what injured Mike Modano last season. He reportedly had surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center, so if it is indeed like Modano, he’s out for the playoffs.
With Helm back out, it would appear that Gustav Nyquist will jump back into the Wings’ lineup. I have to imagine that Justin Abdelkader slides back up to third line center, with Cory Emmerton taking over centering the fourth line and Nyquist taking Emmerton’s spot on fourth-line wing. I wish the Wings could swap Emmerton for Chris Conner but they’ll want a natural center on that line so I don’t see that switch happening. I’m told that Conner did play center at Michigan Tech but I don’t think that’ll be enough.
If the Wings can get the bounces that Nashville got tonight in Game Two, or at least prevent the Predators from getting them, while still playing just as good of a game, they’re going to get a win. If the Wings can win Game Two, it becomes a five-game series with Detroit having home ice. Pressure is still on Nashville here but a win for the Wings tonight would have bought them a lot of breathing space that they don’t have now.