Thoughts on the Non-Goal

Running on about four hours of sleep, we’ll see how today goes. In the meantime, here’s another thought about the non-goal at the end of last night’s game.

I have no problem with the “play is dead when the ref decides it is, not when he actually blows the whistle” rule. There is a human action required to blow play dead and that action takes a second. It feels like there should be a better way but right now there isn’t so for the most part this rule works.

My issue is with when referee Brad Watson decided to blow play dead.

While the letter of the law is that the ref has to blow play dead when he loses sight of the puck, that’s not what actually happens. There are hundreds of times throughout the game where a ref loses sight of the puck. He gets spun around trying to get out of the way of the play, a player steps in front of him, or something as simple as blinking. When that happens, the ref can reasonably assume the puck is still playable and that he’ll quickly regain sight of it.

My problem with the non-goal is that the same reasonable assumption should have applied to it. Watson was out of position because the play happened fast. Not faulting him there. He knew he was out of position, as seen by how he raced to get back to his spot behind the net. Before he got there, while Jonas Hiller‘s body was blocking his view of the puck, Watson decided that he could no longer reasonably assume the puck was playable.

He gave Hiller the benefit of the doubt and a quick whistle. He consciously decided that it was unreasonable to assume that the puck was free. He guessed that Hiller had it covered.

Watson guessed wrong and it cost the Wings the tying goal. That’s my issue with what happened.

Lidstrom Scores Twice as Red Wings Take Game One Against Ducks

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom scored two goals Friday night, leading the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks in the first game of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup.

Lidstrom’s second goal was the game-winner, scored with just 49.1 seconds remaining in regulation.

Corey Perry opened the game’s scoring, putting the Red Wings behind for the first time this playoff year. At 7:28 of the first period he blasted a shot from the top of the left circle past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood after being left uncovered on a defensive miscue.

A five-minute power play gave the Red Wings a chance to even things up. Mike Brown was given an interference major and a game misconduct for a late hit to the head of Jiri Hudler with 8:31 left in the period.

Johan Franzen drove to the net and shoved the puck past Jonas Hiller just 1:04 later, the only goal of the five-minute advantage.

Lidstrom put Detroit back in front with 5:36 left in the second period, scoring his first goal of the night on a power play slap shot from the top of the left circle.

Teemu Selanne tied things up with just 17 seconds left in the middle frame, converting on a rare four-on-three manpower advantage with a snap shot from near the left faceoff dot.

The teams traded scoring chances in the third, including a breakaway by Franzen 2:20 in and a close-in chance by Selanne just after the five-minute mark.

Lidstrom broke the tie by redirecting a Dan Cleary pass on net from the high slot. He then jumped down low to pick up the rebound and put it back between Hiller’s pads.

Hiller finished the night with 34 saves on 37 shots against. Osgood stopped 22 of 24 Anaheim chances.

The Red Wings finished the night two-for-six on the power play. The Ducks went one-for-three.

Game Two of the series is Saturday afternoon from Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings were without Kris Draper for the fifth-straight playoff game. They were also missing Brian Rafalski, who missed his first game of the playoffs with an upper-body injury… It was the second consecutive game that Detroit won with a goal in the closing minute of regulation… Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and Anaheim forward Corey Perry fought at 4:12 of the second period.

Red Wings to Face Ducks in Second Round

The Detroit Red Wings found out their second-round opponent Monday night. The Anaheim Ducks completed a six-game upset of the San Jose Sharks, advancing to face the Red Wings in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Had the Sharks managed to come back to beat the Ducks, the Red Wings would have faced the Vancouver Canucks.

The Red Wings were 3-1 against the Ducks this season but both teams made significant changes after their last meeting. Detroit “flipped a switch” at the start of the playoffs, changing their style of play with stronger defense and better goaltending. Anaheim acquired defenseman Ryan Whitney for Chris Kunitz and James Wisniewski for Samuel Pahlsson, got Francois Beauchemin back from injury, and has been getting stellar goaltending from Jonas Hiller.

Red Wings – Ducks Pregame Notes

This pregame report is brought to you by hand-me down-snowblowers. Hand-me-down snowblowers, clearing my driveway since about 45 minutes ago.

Mike Babcock did his equivalent of tearing his team a new one in the press today. You’re not gonna get any argument from me.

It looks like the Wings will use the same lineup they lost in Boston with, save for Chris Osgood getting the start. Hopefully that’s not a pun.

Tomas Holmstrom and Chris Chelios practiced but will not return tonight, instead aiming for Thursday.

Anaheim’s starting goalie is unknown. Jonas Hiller has filled in remarkably for Jean-Sebastien Giguere but faced a heavy workload last night in Raleigh. Giguere has been on the ice only once in the last week, having had to left the team to deal with a family issue.

Red Wings Shut Down Ducks, Rally for Win

The Detroit Red Wings held the Anaheim Ducks to a season-low 16 shots Monday night, with goaltender Chris Osgood stopping all but one as the Wings earned a hard-fought 2-1 win.

Chris Kunitz scored Anaheim’s lone goal just 1:50 into the game as he and Teemu Selanne pressured Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart into coughing up the puck behind the Wings’ net.

Selanne moved out to Osgood’s left but pushed the puck off to Kunitz, who came out to the right side of the Detroit netminder and backhanded a shot into the back of the net.

The Red Wings battled back, firing 38 shots on Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the first two periods. With 5:34 left in the second, one of those found its way through as Nicklas Lidstrom sent a shot from the blue line that was tipped in front by Johan Franzen.

The goal was Franzen’s 100th career point and 60th career goal.

Giguere succumbed to dehydration in his first game in over a week and was forced to leave the game to start the third period, replaced by Jonas Hiller.

Hiller would stop eight of nine shots against but it was the first that slipped through, just 1:48 into the third.

Dan Cleary raced into the zone on a two-on-one with Marian Hossa, feeding the puck across for a shot by Hossa off the stick of defender Bret Hedican and between Hiller’s pads.

The Red Wings’ 47 total shots were a season-high for the team.

Neither team scored on the power play. Detroit had four tries with the extra attacker while Anaheim had two.

The Red Wings return to the ice on Thursday when they host the Vancouver Canucks.

Red Wings – Ducks Postgame Thoughts

Aside from the first five to ten minutes, this might have been the Red Wings’ strongest game of the season.

Their defense (again, aside from the start) was rock solid and Chris Osgood made the stops he had to.

It would have been nice to see more pucks behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller but the shots were there and that’s a start.

Ken and Mickey mentioned it but the breakout passes started getting too cute late in the third. There were also a lot of wasted shots, so it’s not as though there aren’t still things to work on, but this was definitely a step forward if the Red Wings can build on it.