Filppula in for Game One

Valtteri Filppula is in for tonight’s game. This means that the Red Wings will have no lineup changes from Game Four against Colorado.

From Khan:

“I felt good,” Filppula said. “We played a lot this season, so missing a couple of days I don’t think is going to be a big deal.”

St. James:

“I have no problems at all today,” he said. “I thought I felt good yesterday, but today I felt even better.”

Return of the Twirling Octopi?

It’s possible that the ban on octopus twirling will be lifted for the Western Conference Finals, according to Helene St. James.

The Wings have been told rules are loosening up regarding twirling the octopus, so maybe, just maybe, Al Sobotka will get to make his moves again this round. The NHL threatened him with a $10,000 fine if he did so because debris comes off the slimy creatures and embeds itself in the ice.

I hope that ends up being true but I’ve made my opinion on the rule known from the start so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Wings to Face Stars in WCF

Dallas won in quadruple-overtime last night to finally finish off San Jose. The Stars advance to face the Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals.

The schedule is as follows:

May 8 – at Detroit
May 10 – at Detroit
May 12 – at Dallas
May 14 – at Dallas
May 17 – at Detroit
May 19 – at Dallas
May 21 – at Detroit

Times to be announced later today. All weeknight games to be televised by Versus, weekend games by NBC.

Sweep Success: Red Wings Rout Avalanche to Advance to Conference Finals

The Detroit Red Wings took advantage of an injured and nearly-eliminated Colorado Avalanche Thursday night, scoring eight goals en route to an 8-2 victory to finish off a four-game sweep.

All eight goals were scored by Detroit’s Swedish contingent. Johan Franzen had his second hat trick of the series while Henrik Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson each scored twice. Tomas Holmstrom also scored.

Franzen’s goals gave him eleven in the playoffs and nine in the series, a new four-game series record.

Tyler Arnason and John-Michael Liles scored power play goals for the Avalanche, who were without Peter Forsberg, Ryan Smyth, Wojtek Wolski and Peter Stastny.

Detroit started the scoring at 4:33 of the first period, when a heavy Samuelsson shot from the right wing got through Colorado goalie Jose Theodore and glided into the net.

The Avalanche responded 2:18 later, with Arnason taking a feed from behind the net by Andrew Brunette and banging it past Detroit netminder Chris Osgood.

Holmstrom scored on a two-on-one with Zetterberg with 1:26 left in the period and Franzen scored his first of the game just 47-seconds later, working the give-and-go with Valtteri Filppula on another odd-man rush.

Zetterberg added a power play goal at 2:15 of the second period, scored on a blast from the blue line with Holmstrom screening Peter Budaj, who replaced Theodore to start the second period.

Only 3:30 later, Zetterberg added his second of the night, golfing a blind backhand shot from his own rebound off Budaj and into the top of the net.

Franzen netted his second on a shorthanded two-on-one with Zetterberg, throwing a bad-angle shot into the open side of the net with 8:23 left in the period.

With 2:45 left in the middle frame, Franzen finished the hat trick, tipping a Nicklas Lidstrom shot past Budaj with the Red Wings on a power play.

Samuelsson added his second of the night on a tip-in at 8:02 of the third period and Liles wrapped up the series scoring 2:24 later, beating Osgood on a shot from the blue line through screen by Brunette with Colorado on a two-man advantage.

The Avalanche finished the night with two goals on five power play chances while the Red Wings scored twice on four attempts with the extra attacker.

Osgood made 29 saves on 31 Colorado shots. Theodore stopped 12 of 15 first-period chances and Budaj finished the night with 20 saves on 25 shots.

The Red Wings will play the winner of the San Jose-Dallas series in the Western Conference Finals. Dallas currently leads the series 3-1.

Chris Chelios sat out of the game with what was described as a lower-body injury. Andreas Lilja took his spot in the lineup.