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March 20, 2019
Two Quick Ones
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
Those filthy Detroit Red Wings were up 3-2 in Game Three against your Nashville Predators, and it didn't look good. The valiant Nashvillians were only four minutes away from falling behind 3-0 in the series, all but ending my dreams of a first-round Detroit exit. Ah, but some dreams die hard.
When all appeared lost, the pesky Preds dug deep and stuck it to those Motor City morons, scoring two goals nine seconds apart to stun the Wings and salvage a series from the jaws of a sweep.
The game-tying goal started innocently enough. Marek Zidlicky picked Valtteri Filppula's pocket deep in the Nashville zone and fired a crisp outlet pass to Jan Hlavac, who carried the play over the Detroit stripe. Hlavac slammed on the brakes, allowing Tomas Holmstrom and the other backchecking Wings to collapse the zone before slipping a nifty pass to Ryan Suter charging late on left wing. Suter drilled a low slapper inside the far post to knot the score 3-3.
After the ensuing faceoff, Alexander Radulov grabbed the puck in front of the Detroit bench and whipped a cross-ice pass to Jason Arnott. The Nashville captain, who had yet to find the net in the postseason, barreled into the zone on right wing and uncorked a wicked slapper over the Flopinator's left shoulder. Had it been raining gin, I would have sworn it was heaven.
Aw, it was beautiful. That's probably my favorite type of goal, when a guy just busts down the wing and drops the hammer. In today's world of neutral zone traps and inflated goalie equipment, you really don't see them too often anymore, so getting two in nine seconds was damn entertaining.
Arnott's was absolute bliss. He can bring it, and the shot was perfectly placed under the bar. Still, Hasek needs to make both saves. The Red Wings will never win a Stanley Cup with Old Man River or Chris Osgood in net. It simply will not happen.
Hasek is no longer a championship-caliber netminder. He's an old man in a goalie costume. End of discussion.
Even if the Wings had the slimmest of Cup chances, which they don't, this loss would prove devastating. You never take your foot off the snake's throat. The Preds were done. They were buried. They had dimes on their eyes. And now they've got life.
A playoff series doesn't even start until the home team loses. The Wings were supposed to win both games in Detroit. They haven't done anything yet, except blow a sure 3-0 series lead.
Nashville is a real live underdog. Dan Ellis has cult hero written all over him. And Dave Legwand is also back in the lineup, bagging a goal in Game Three.
With their terrible goaltending and elderly, soft blue line, the Red Wings are not built for long playoff series, especially in the first round. They had a chance to get out quick and blew it. And I'm lovin' every minute of it.
And in case you missed it, witness the glory for yourself...
Kid Crosby and the Penguins exploded for three third-period goals en route to a 4-1 win in Game Three, giving the Birds a commanding 3-0 series lead. While the fourth win is always the hardest, who are we kidding? It's over. It's all over.
Give the Sens credit. They actually played with some spunk in the first two periods, matching the Penguins in effort if not talent. Daniel Alfredsson even pulled on his panty hose and played. Aw, I tease in fun. Seriously, it was cool for Alfredsson to play. Then again, that's what captains are supposed to do. What do you want, a cookie? But I guess when you see a jackass fly, you shouldn't criticize him for only doing it once. So well done, Alfy. You're the tops.
When the puck was dropped at the start of the third, the teams were tied 1-1, and it looked like it would be a nerve-racking finale. Well, Pittsburgh fans really didn't have to sweat it. They knew they had Sid the Kid.
Just 12 seconds into the final frame, Crosby pushed a puck behind Antoine Vermette and screamed up ice, threading a wrister short-side on Martin Gerber for the go-ahead goal. It was so sudden and was such an overwhelming display of speed and skill, the Senators were simply dumbstruck. It was like a bolt from the blue.
More chillingly, it forced the Sens to confront reality. Their time was up. Their championship window had closed.
Crosby's goal was the truth.
The entire hockey world is up in arms about Sean Avery's bizarre behavior in Game Three of the Rangers-Devils series.
Basically, Avery was jumping around like a circus monkey in an effort to distract Martin Brodeur during a five-on-three power play. Except Avery turned his back to the play and was facing Brodeur in a blatant attempt to get under his skin.
I actually thought it was funny. Sure, if was buffoonish, but Avery is a buffoon. Clowns do what clowns do. It's a noble profession. I, for one, appreciate it.
But if it was so terrible, why didn't the Devils do something about it? If you don't want Avery acting the fool, make him stop. Yeah, there's no place in hockey for Avery's shenanigans, but who did more to besmirch the sport? Avery or the Devils? Hockey was built on punishing disrespectful punks. How do you think Scott Stevens would have handled the situation? Good times.
That said, at least the league took appropriate action. Yeah, apparently somebody woke up Colin Campbell, and the NHL's dean of discipline issued the following statement...
"An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty (Rule 75) will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play."
Take that, Avery! Rule 75! Now what's up?
It's embarrassing. What has become of the NHL? Where's the vigilante justice? Where's the old school barbarism? It's a dark day indeed.