Red Wings At A Crossroad
I don't see where the Sharks have outplayed the Red Wings the first two games. The Sharks had a huge break go their way Sunday - an odd man rush caused by a broken stick on Nicklas Lidstrom's shot attempt.
To their credit, the Sharks took advantage of the situation with a goal - the overrated Joe Thornton tapping in a rebound for just his 13th goal in 84 career playoff games.
Jimmy Howard didn't necessarily play poorly in net for the Red Wings, but four goals are too many to allow in the playoffs. It did seem strange for the Red Wings to allow 45 shots on net. They are normally the ones peppering the goal. The Red Wings had a 3-2 lead - and didn't play well with it.
There will be a lot of complaints about the officiating following this game - and it is justified. Weird calls - both ways. It wasn't like the referees let the players decide the issue. Brad Watson and Kevin Pollack were, truth be told, awful.
The Henrk Zetterberg-Todd Bertuzzi-Valtteri Filppula line was badly outplayed again. Joe Pavelski has suddenly become the second coming of Wayne Gretzky and must be stopped,if the Red Wings hope to rally and win this series.
Could be time for Mike Babcock to shake up his lines. With the matchup advantage on home ice, it'll be interesting what line he pits against Pavelski's line.
If the Red Wings win on Tuesday, the pressure will be shifted back to the Sharks, whose persistent playoff failure defines their history. If the Red Wings win on Tuesday and Thursday - and I have little doubt they will win this series. The Sharks don't repond well to be thrown back on their heels. The key for the Red Wings is to put them there.
The Red Wings didn't come out of the gate quickly in Game 1 - and paid the price for it. They played too loose with the puck after taking the lead Sunday - and paid the price for it.
Similar mistakes Tuesday - and they'll pay an even bigger price.
They won't win this series.
- Joe Mauer's misfortune - a badly bruised heel - is the Tigers' fortune this week heading into a 3-game series at Minnesota. The Twins survived well without Justin Morneau last September. Can't see them handling the absence of Mauer nearly as well.
- Justin Verlander is only 15 months older than Tim Lincecum, but has 23 more career wins. Funny how people overact to the first month of the season - one way or another. In baseball, water finds its proper level. Who would be shocked if Verlander throws another no hitter this season?
My Column in Monday's Oakland Press on the minor league baseball disaster known as the Oakland County Cruisers: http://tinyurl.com/2c6xg5n