TONIGHT, TONIGHT, TONIGHT
Game 7. Here we are.
Much has been said about what the Red Wings are on the brink of, but I don’t think any of that’s relevant. Our boys don’t have to win four straight games anymore. They only need to win once — tonight, in San Jose. I haven’t made up my mind about whether or not I put stock in momentum or pressure; those are tricky things to grasp and even trickier things to measure. Do the players realize and/or care? Do the coaches do things differently if the pendulum is swinging their way? Do the fans cheer any differently?
I don’t know the answer to those questions. What I do know is that one team has all of the momentum, and the other one has all of the pressure.
Heading to California for a seventh game against a team that matches up very well against the Wings would normally be very scary. That’s not the ideal situation facing elimination, but I don’t feel nervous. I mean, I do. But not any more than any other playoff game. I like our team tonight. I liked our team on Tuesday. I like the chances and I like the script.
I don’t give a shit about the odds. It’s sixty minutes separating these teams from the Vancouver Canucks. If you think there’s a team more capable of blowing the doors off of sixty minutes than the Detroit Red Wings, you’ve been underground since the 1980’s.
Bring on the Sharks. Bring on the Canucks. Bring on the Stanley Cup Finals. In a few hours, we’ll be halfway home.
HOLD ON MY HEART
9:00pm Eastern :: Game 7 from San Jose
LAND OF CONFUSION
It’s going to be this script the rest of the post-season: Versus, TSN, and RDS are your carriers.
Head over to Motor City Casino for a viewing party, with Red Wing alum and Hall-of-Famer Dino Ciccarelli. Get your tickets here.
DON’T YOU LOSE MY NUMBER
By special request, the TPL Glossary is ready to jailsex your eyes.
Modano — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Bertuzzi — Zetterberg — Cleary
Hudler — Filppula — Abdelkader
Miller — Helm — Eaves
Lidstrom — Stuart
Ericsson — Rafalski
Salei — Kronwall
I CAN’T DANCE
Chris Osgood [groin]
Johan Franzen [ankle]
Kris Draper [healthy scratch]
Jakub Kindl [healthy scratch]
ACES: Jordan Pearce, Doug Janik, Brian Lashoff, Derek Meech, Brendan Smith, Cory Emmerton, Ilari Filppula, Jan Mursak, Tomas Tatar
The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
Disch: Jiri “The Happiness Machine is Trying Hard to Sing My Song” Hudler
Petrella: Jiri “Before You Know it, You’ll be on Your Knees” Hudler
Now it’s your turn. Leave your nickname submissions in the comments for a chance to win a TPL shirt.
ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE
:: The goaltending in Game 6 was outstanding. Antti Niemi was beyond solid, and Jimmy Howard made the nasty saves we needed him to make to keep his team in it. Despite the ice being tilted toward the San Jose goal all night, the Sharks are a dangerous team and will happily capitalize on the chances — no matter how few — they get. Howard neutralized them, and we’ll need more of the same in the hostile Shark Tank.
:: Mike Modano looked fantastic, especially for having not played a ton since the regular season ended. And especially ESPECIALLY when compared to Johan Franzen, who was completely useless and very obviously hurt the last few games. Here’s hoping the Mule is 100% soon and returns to being a playoff horse (pun intended). As of this writing, there was no word whether Franzen would re-enter the lineup. We will edit as information is gathered.
:: Pavel Datsyuk is magic. That’s all.
:: For the third game in a row, the Sharks went all bratty tantrum at the end of a loser, highlighted by Captain Joe Thornton’s slash of Henrik Zetterberg’s leg. Aside from the diving, they do behave themselves during the game (for the most part), but one wonders if the Wings are starting to crawl under their skin and set up shop.
:: By all accounts, the Red Wings are loose. They’ve treated this series as they would any other, and I’m starting to wonder if they’re playing into the Sharks’ biggest fear of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of post-season underachievement.
WHAT WE LEARNED IN GAME 6
:: Jonathan Ericsson is capable of playing a strong game. And Valtteri Filppula is the opposite of “sucks.”
THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN GAME 7
:: Big time emotion from both squads… but composure from the veteran Red Wings ranks.