I don’t want to step on Disch’s toes, who did an awesome recap (per usual), but I do want to share a few quick notes regarding last night’s Game 4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes most definitely poked the bear last night, and not only did he steal their pic-a-nic basket, he went all Kung Fu Panda on them.
First of all, I don’t ever want to hear anyone dismiss the power of momentum after a strong penalty kill. Ever again. Never. If last night wasn’t picture proof of a once-shorthanded-team-killing-a-five-on-three-and-then-jailsexing-the-once-man-advantaged-team, there never will be. The kill was FANTASTIC last night – a marked improvement from Game 1 when it was god-awful.
There was some line juggling of note — Homer to the fours and Dan Cleary to a scoring line — but what might be most important of all that is this: the second line of Henrik Zetterberg, Todd Burptuzzi, and Valtteri Filppula WORKS. They are phenomenal together (evidenced by Z leading the NHL in goals this post-season), and splitting them up would be lunacy. Likewise, the Eaves-Draper-Helm line works, too. Perhaps Helm needed a little something something to get going, which he did (ask homeboy that got straight gangsta-beat at the goal line).
Early in the first period, Drew Miller and Vernon “Deliverance” Fiddler had some words and continued to exchange pleasantries from the penalty boxes. This is one of those opportunities where the refs should have let them go and gotten it over with. No, it didn’t carry over into anything later in the game, but it COULD have and that might have been devastating to either team — getting retribution on guys that don’t particularly play like that (say…Drew Miller or, I dunno, Steve Moore).
What’s with all the goddamn video reviews? Grow a sack and make a call (the right one…which might be too much to ask of this collection of Gumps). Furthermore, and we’ve brought it up a half dozen times here before, but something’s gotta be done about the way officiating goes. There needs to be a clear hierarchy (containing personnel not at all affiliated with any individual team, Mike Murphy) that decides how things unfold if there’s a dispute. Instead, you’re stuck with the “overruled by a linesman, and then overruled by Toronto, who was then overruled by the far referee” bullhonky we currently have.
Finally, anyone who’s questioned J.T. Howard at any point – but particularly since the playoffs began – should be ashamed of themselves. You seriously weren’t impressed with his play all season? Do you mean the season where he’ll – at least – be nominated for the Calder and has gotten some Hart consideration? Is that the season you mean? Well, whatever you were smoking on 4/20 got the attention of Tiberius who laid the equivalent of a steamy dook on your front lawn.