Went to the game last night. It was absolutely nuts in there. I think it exceeded Game 6 of the Sharks series in 2011 as the loudest game I have been to live. The atmosphere is always electric for playoffs, but this was just pure noise nonstop the entire night.
* The big three were the best players in the most important game of the season. Pav was a magician like usual, Jimmy stopped everything his own defense didn't gift wrap for the Ducks and Z's leadership was unbelievable.
* Kronwall and Ericsson were very good defensively. Unforunately, they really stand out because the other two pairings are brutal in their own zone, but I thought both were strong again against some of the better forwards in the league.
* Justin Abdelkader's presence is obvious. Never thought I would say that, but the Red Wings need him. He hits everything in sight, forechecks hard and has dramatically improved his ability to be effective in front of the net. I still think he lacks offensive upside to be a consistent first line player, but I give him credit for doing the dirty work with Z and Pavel. That line doesn't click without him playing his role.
* I don't want to harp on negatives after such a huge victory, but is anyone going to miss Val Filppula if he walks? I thought he played his best in Game 5, but even then he still isn't producing anything offensively in this series. I expect the young guys to make mistakes as part of the learning process. Filppula's miscue behind the net can't happen though as a veteran player. His agent better hope GM's only remember last season.
* I would be fine if the Red Wings used a buyout on Kyle Quincey the second the season ends. Or now works too.
* This game really shouldn't have ever made it to OT (much like Game 2). The Red Wings handed the Ducks all three of their goals. It will be a positive going forward that this infusion of youth is gaining valuable playoff experience, but they certainly don't make it easy on our nerves.
* That being said, I love this team's determination. They aren't nearly as skilled as we are used to seeing, but they never quit. It would have been easy to fold blowing third period leads twice in this series. They came back out and won both times early in OT. They are very fun to watch and in a way, this entire season has been more enjoyable than I ever expected. If this is a transition year, this organization is in great shape.
Wings in 7!