Tonight, the Red Wings play the biggest game of the season. Or at least since Thursday. Following a heartbreaking overtime loss in front of a home crowd in Game 3, the Wings found themselves in a situation that is rarely overcome, a 0-3 series deficit. Somehow, people tried convincing Red Wings fans it’ll be okay because once-Red Sok (I don’t really know the singular of “Sox”) Johnny Damon is now a Tiger. Not quite sure how that is relevant, but you’ve gotta hang your hat on something I guess.
Wednesday morning, I received a text message from my buddy Wade, who is a life-long Capitals fan. It said, more or less, if there’s any team that can climb out of that hole, it’s the Red Wings – and if there’s any team that can choke from that mountain, it’s the Sharks.
Enter Johan Franzen.
Despite having 11 points in 10 games, Mulo was having a quiet offensive post-season by his standards. We’ve grown used to seeing him score at will, but he’d missed much of the season with a knee injury and the team as a whole has played exceedingly underwhelming hockey for whole chunks of the year.
Franzen scored five goals in Game 4. I don’t care that the first was credited to Todd Bertuzzi (who, I assure you, had no idea he had done anything positive), that was a Mule goal. His six points was the main contribution to a Phoenix-Coyotes-in-Game-Seven-like ass-whomping of the Sharks. The photo at the top of the post is of Johan Franzen’s front lawn — clearly fans felt like he needed a few more hats.
All of a sudden…attitudes are shifting. I’ve got hope.
If the Wings can play like they did in Game 4, there isn’t a team in the league that can stop them. I’m pretty sure the Sharks aren’t defeated mentally after one loss, but if the Wings can steal one in The Tank tonight… who knows what could happen? What I do know is that the Sharks want no part of a Game 6 at Joe Louis.
Coming back into that environment down only 3-2 in the series feels a hell of a lot better than being down 3-0. Long story short, win Game 5 and absolutely anything can happen.
I read something last week that has stuck with me. You can’t win four games in one night – you can only win one. The Red Wings are certainly capable of winning four individual games in a row. The Sharks are capable of losing four in a row. The series won’t be won or lost tonight — it will end when the Wings decide it’s over: either by continuing to play like they did on Thursday or by mailing in another performance in any of the next three games. Frankly, neither should surprise us tonight. They’ve been unable to string together multiple games of that caliber, but — like Wade said — if anyone can, it’s our Red Wings.
Game 5. Here we come.