All things considered, that was probably the most fun I've ever had at a Jackets game, if only we won.... or even had a lead.
I need to paint a picture. In the close of the second period we scored two huge goals to erase the Wings lead and tie the game at 5. I run out of my seat to get a got start on the restroom line. Fans were running out of the sections screaming and jumping. Randomly giving high fives to every other fan running out of their section. Reverse high fives, jumping high fives. Reverse-jumping high fives. There were easily two dozen guys that got into this. "Let's Go Jackets" chant in the intermission beer line. Not wimpy chants either. Huge. I can only imagine how we'd handle winning a game in a series.
Mason was not sharp. He really hasn't been all series. I'm sure there is a lot of factors at play here, but the Wings put three up in the first period, none of them were that wonderful. Mason carried this team to the playoffs so we have him to thank for that. We can only hope that the 09-10 Steve Mason playoff version is better.
I thought Nash played a pretty great game tonight. He was willing the puck to the goal line. I'm glad he got on the scoreboard to avoid that possible monkey. The pass from Klesla on his goal was stellar. Klesla was Amazing in this series. With a capital "A".
I'm glad to finally see Russell get reward on a rush. He has 2-3 rushes a game and has never seemed to score or make a nice pass. He beat Ozzie. In Detroit he was not a good player for us, but he was in Columbus IMO. He has to take the next step in size and strength. We need a slapper from him.
Umberger was the Jacket of the Series. He was good again tonight. He was flexible all series and produced with whoever his linemates were. He is built for the playoffs and I look forward to seeing him come to camp next year with a better defined role.
Since I put Freddy in the doghouse, of course he has to score a goal... It was a classic Modin goal. I thought he had a little more wheels and he finally HIT somebody. It was a good crunch. It still escapes me how someone so big can hit so little.
I'm not going to whine about the too many men call. It totally blows that it decided the game. The refs were calling a very loose game in the 3rd and then pulled out that call in the final minutes. We had our chances in this series. It would have been great to see OT Playoff hockey, but it is what it is. The following beer bottle tossing was disgusting and dangerous. I know fans get pissed, but you can't throw crap on the ice when our guys are out there. Very low class move. I was more frustrated with the phantom Rick Nash penalty and the mysterious Commodore hook. Of all the penalties that happened in that game, I'm not sure how those were the ones called. I'm also mystified how we only got 2 powerplays.
The difference tonight was we shot the puck. Slapshots, real slapshot. In the first three games we had an awful habit of, fake shot, dangle, try to set up a back door video game pass. This is otherwise known as "letting the Red Wings get back into defensive position." When you shoot the puck, you make heads turn and players do things they ordinarily might not do. This is what I consistently saw from the Red Wings. Constant low slapshots, and they were looking for rebounds, they scored on a lot of them.
We need to shoot the puck BEFORE the other team realizes we will shoot the puck. That's how you score in this league. Let them scramble. That's what the Wings did to us all series. That's what we did in the final two periods tonight.
Mancrush of the Series: Either Klesla or Umberger. Both of these guys played stellar hockey for us. By far the best to players in the series. Voracek was pretty solid, but hopefully he'll be my mancrush next year.
I'll leave the Doghouse empty tonight. I thought every guy left it on the ice. That's all you can ask for.
This game certainly brightens up my mood about being swept out of the first round. What are you series thoughts? FIRE Away.