If there was a game to start believing in this thing, that was obviously it. Not so much because of the 2-1 series lead but because, for once, Henrik Zetterberg played no part in any of the Red Wings goals. Unless you’re a goalie, supreme individual performances don’t work in the playoffs. the best players end up canceling each other out. Gustav Nyquist and his band of merry men stepped in to fill the void.
4:35, 3rd Period. 2-1 Red Wings
Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen actually do a good job of forechecking, but Franzen is hit from behind in the corner and loses the puck. The third forward into the zone, Pavel Datsyuk, pressures the defenseman. That forces a flip pass to Patrick Kane. Kyle Quincey, mesmerized, tries to bat the puck out of the air and misses. Brendan Smith hustles back in attempting to make up for Quincey’s mistake, but instead of leaning on Kane, Smith tries sweep the puck away. Kane fends him off and beats Jimmy Howard. Responsibility: Kyle Quincey (0.75), Brendan Smith (0.25)
We’ll just tiptoe around the who was responsible for that “non-” goal that would have tied the game.
7:49, 2nd period. 1-0 Red Wings.
After the Red Wings lose the faceoff, Damien Brunner gets to a loose puck and flips it out of the zone. Gustav Nyquist chases it down, hopscotches around one defenseman, waits out the other, holds on a little longer to wait out Crawford and scores. That might have been a set faceoff play, excluding the whole losing the faceoff part. Back in the day, my team ran had a similar strategy. Whether it was or not, Nyquist gets most of the credit because he did most of the work. Responsibility: Damien Brunner (0.25), Gustav Nyquist (0.75)
8:20, 2nd period. 2-0 Red Wings
Cory Emmerton pokes the puck down the corner for Patrick Eaves, who takes it around the net, gives it back to the point, gets it back, dumps it into the zone then pressures the Blackhawk defenseman into rolling a weak pass right up the middle. In good position as the third foward, Emmerton intercepts the pass and rolls it back to Eaves, who shoots and whacks his own rebound towards the back door. Drew Miller drives the net and finishes the job. Responsibility: Patrick Eaves (0.33), Cory Emmerton (0.33), Drew Miller (0.33)
6:46, 3rd period. 3-1 Red Wings
Datsyuk absorbs a hit behind the Red Wings’ net to slap a puck to Justin Abdelkader on the half board. Abdelkader gives it back to Smith, who bounces a pass to Franzen streaking over from the far wing. Franzen dishes to Datsyuk, who takes an off balance wrister and puts it top cheddar. For the boys. Responsibility: Pavel Datsyuk (0.25), Justin Abdelkader (0.25), Brendan Smith (0.25), Johan Franzen (0.25)
three four stars of the game:
1. Gustav Nyquist (0.75 goals)
2. Patrick Eaves (0.33 goals)
3. Cory Emmerton (0.33 goals)
4. Drew Miller (0.33 goals)