The Detroit Red Wings played a grueling series against the Ducks of Anaheim in the playoffs’ first round, and it showed Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
In the first game of the second round, the Red Wings looked outmatched, getting outshot by a whopping margin of 42-21. Detroit was able to battle and take a 1-1 tie into the third period, but it was then that the Blackhawks’ domination paid off.
Two goals and an empty netter later, Chicago had a lopsided 4-1 victory.
Should Wings fans be panicking now that their team has fallen into a 1-0 hole in the series?
Panic isn’t the right word. The Red Wings have already overachieved to get to this point. Making the playoffs for a 22nd straight season made this year a victory, and winning the series against a superior Ducks team was an unexpected bonus. It does seem that Detroit has peaked at the proper time and is now playing its best hockey, but beating Chicago would still be a big time upset.
Sure, the games against Chicago in the regular season were close save one, but close or not, Detroit couldn’t top them in the regular season and I’m not sure I see it happening in the postseason. What the Wings have going for them is momentum: they are playing better now than they have all season.
Is there reason to believe the Wings’ stretch of good play is over after the team’s lackluster game one performance? I don’t believe so. Detroit has played a roller coaster of a season with many peaks and valleys. Last game was one of those valleys, but they have shown a tendency to follow a loss with a win this postseason (Detroit won each game following a Ducks win in the first round). Plus, with the efforts of goaltender Jimmy Howard, anything is possible. Howard has been outstanding lately, despite his defense caving in regularly in front of him.
With that said, this Chicago Blackhawks team is really, really good. Even a Red Wings team playing their very best would need a bit of luck to top the Hawks in a seven game series.
Detroit fans, don’t panic. This Red Wings team has been unlike any other in recent history in the fact that the expectations were very low. Fighting through a mountain of injuries as well as a roster filled with youth, the Wings have still found a way to the second round. Celebrate the run they have had while it lasts.
The Wings are playing some of their best hockey, and even though I predict it will be over in four more games, the 2013 season has been a sign of hope for years to come.
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