I agree. Mostly, anyway. The Wings were pretty good most of the game. They were pretty bad in the 3rd. There's no excuse to be outplayed like that. Well there are excuses, I just choose not to believe them. When the Red Wings actually show up, they win. They took most of the 3rd off tonight, and that's the biggest part of the loss I think.
The Wings didn't take the third off. I think the legs just weren't there. A game 1 on the road less than 48 hours after a game 7 often doesn't go well--Versus showed a stat that showed the road team something like 13-28 in that situation. The Wings were bound to lag a bit in the third, especially after a brutal call leading to a brutal goal. They'll be ready to play Sunday.
I kind of expected the Wings to lose this one. Neither team looked overly sharp, and the Wings in particular looked like they were still in Phoenix for 1:19 of the first. The officiating was inconsistent, but Franzen getting 2 minutes for holding while catching his balance after being highsticked in the face was unreal. That being said, the Wings can't expect to spot San Jose a 3-0 lead and go 0-5 on the PP and give up goals on 2 of 6 PKs and expect to win.
Some bright spots: Cleary and Franzen look like they've finally come to play (yes, Franzen has points in every game, but we need him to score goals, and he looked dangerous tonight). Nabby looks very beatable. The Wings had the Sharks chasing them around for much of the game. I think a couple days to rest and refocus, and the Wings will have a good game 2. Go Wings.
1.) Top line has got to produce. Pavelski, Setoguchi, and everyone's second favorite Newfy, Clowe, have been outstanding, but the Sharks need two scoring lines producing. If they do the Sharks are scary.
2.) Which Nabby to we see? The one who in the past looked like Bryzgalov did in the previous round, or the one who's come to resemble Turco against Detroit?
3.) Consistency of effort. The Sharks tend to play a really strong first 10 min against the Wings, even building a 1-0 or 2-0 lead, and then fall off and let Detroit take over the game.
1.) Earth to Mule and Cleary. Wings need these two to produce this series. San Jose has great depth up front, but with these two rolling the Wings can roll three potent scoring lines.
2.) Puck possession. The Sharks are one of the few teams that have the ability to cycle on the Red Wings. The Wings must have great puck support getting the puck out of their end, cycle and forecheck well, and avoid turnovers and one-and-dones.
3.) Abdelkader, Helm, Miller, and (again) Cleary. These four players have really been able to turn the tide of games with their relentless forechecking, like they did yesterday in a 2-1 game. The need to create havoc and tire the Shark's D.
Wings were reminded of something important this series: how to beat a team that truly plays as a team. That Setocuchi line was lights out for the Sharks against the happy-to-be-there Avs, but it remains to be seen whether they can play as well from top to bottom as Phoenix. Nabby's not nearly the goalie Bryzgalov is right now. The Wings need to build off this series in the next round, continue playing a team game, and they'll be in good shape.
It will be interesting to see how Chicago responds. They're obviously an extremely talented team, but they don't have the experience of running into a team like Nashville in the playoffs. Down 2-1 on the road is serious gut check time.