The Red Wings haven’t played bad in the first two games. San Jose just played a little bit better. They’ve found ways to win. They came from behind in Game 1 to beat Detroit in overtime and they managed to hold on to a lead in Game 2.
The Sharks had lady luck on their side as well. Of the four goals that they scored three of them were strange to say the least. Joe Pavelski batting one in out of mid-air, Benn Ferriero’s shot in overtime deflecting off a Red Wings stick beating Jimmy Howard, and a Niclas Wallin drive that also deflected off a Wings stick, then off of Howard’s glove and into the net. The reality though is that they all count.
So the Red Wings go into Game 3 with one mission in mind…..WIN THE GAME!
Fans are correct when they say that Detroit must win 4 of the next 5 games to advance.
That seems like a mighty tall task, but hockey players don’t think like fans. They look at every game one shift at a time. All that matters to them at this point is to win game 3, period. They’ll think about game 4 on Thursday.
The Red Wings need to be better in all areas. They need to possess the puck more. They need sustained pressure in the offensive zone (especially on the power play). That means winning the battles in the corners, getting shots through traffic to Antti Niemi and getting 2nd and 3rd opportunities.
Niemi gave up 19 goals in 6 starts against Los Angeles in round 1. Niklas Kronwall told the media that the Wings need to test him more.
The Red Wings also need to stay out of the penalty box. The best way to do that is to possess and control the puck. When a team continually chases the opposition, they usually get tired and take penalties.
Detroit will have the last change at home which is an advantage. The last change will give Mike Babcock the opportunity to match his lines better against the Sharks.
I’m thinking that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will play on different lines at times in game 3. That could cause some match-up problems for the Sharks. Jimmy Howard must continue to be solid in goal for Detroit. He’s played extremely well in all 6 playoff games this post season.
Finally, I loved the support the Red Wings fans gave the team during the Phoenix series.
I can’t wait to hear the fans on Wednesday……GO WINGS!