This was a complete, sixty minute effort by Detroit tonight. This was what we were waiting for all series.
The Red Wings wanted this one, and that was obvious from the start. The only reason Detroit didn’t have a multi-goal lead after the first period is that Ilya Bryzgalov had a fantastic night. Not something that often goes hand-in-hand with allowing six goals but the truth.
Two goals by Pavel Datsyuk, including a beauty of an eventual game-winner. Two goals by Nicklas Lidstrom, a day shy of his 40th birthday. Three points each for Brian Rafalski and Henrik Zetterberg. The Red Wings needed their leaders to lead and they came through.
On the flip side: Phoenix captain Shane Doan. Lower-case “c” for a reason. I know I’m spoiled by growing up in the Steve Yzerman era but to me, when the season is on the line the Captain (capital “C”) is on the ice. A Captain plays on one leg. A captain watches the game in street clothes.
The Coyotes that were dressed gave it their all. They had some good chances and forced Howard to make big stops while the game was still close but they were just overpowered.
So now the Red Wings advance to face the San Jose Sharks. While the official schedule won’t be released until after the Washington – Montreal Game Seven on Wednesday, with concerts scheduled for Friday and Saturday in San Jose it looks like the Wings and Sharks will go on Thursday and Sunday.
If we see the Detroit team we saw tonight, the Sharks are in some trouble. If the Wings go back to playing lazy they’ll pay for it quickly.