It was a perfect road playoff game for the Detroit Red Wings and they were able to even up their series with the Chicago Blackhawks earning a 4-1 victory in Game 2.
Detroit did things so much differently compared to Game 1. Babcock’s complaints about not getting out of their own zone were adjusted and the Wings could get their offense going. Goals from Damien Brunner, Brendan Smith (thanks to a nice feed from Henrik Zetterberg) and a snipe from Johan Franzen did the job to establish the lead. Valtteri Filppula’s goal with under eight minutes to play was the highlight reel goal to put a bow on it.
Now the series heads back to Detroit all knotted up at 1-1. Game 3 is on Monday at Joe Louis Arena.
Here are your talking points:
— Both teams have worn each other out in the third period. Chicago did it in Game 1 and Detroit today. So… Who’s for real here?
— Detroit gave the Blackhawks a taste of their own medicine with the scoring coming from all sorts of people. Depth scoring is so important in the postseason but the one constant? Zetterberg with two assists.
— How about the Wings outshooting the Hawks? Jimmy Howard’s day was kept easy facing just 20 shots. Corey Crawford had his hands full in facing 30 shots, stopping just 26.
— Chicago’s penalty kill continues to be their major strength as they haven’t given up a power play goal yet in the playoffs. Detroit’s man advantage didn’t do much.
— On the downside, Chicago took a few dumb penalties to slow down any chance they had to steer the game back in their direction. Not giving up goals is fine, killing your opportunities to get back in the game is also not helpful.
— Where was Chicago’s urgency? A home game against a hated rival and outside of the first period there was no push back. Detroit scored twice in the second and kept on rolling.
— Detroit now takes home-ice advantage in the series. How much will that help them out?
Here are the highlights from Game 2:
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.
Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.
The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.
“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.
Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.
The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.
“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?