WELCOME TO GAME DAY - Round 1, Game 5
Friday, 04.20.2012 / 12:00 AM ET
“On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Cause we know when we add up all those inches, that’s going to be the difference between winning and losing, between living and dying.”
– Any Given Sunday (altered slightly for hockey)
Those inches that the legendary Al Pacino spoke of have been everywhere around us. Unfortunately for our boys in red, the scratching and clawing hasn’t added up to victory just yet.
What if Johan Franzen’s disallowed goal had come just a second sooner? What if Kevin Klein didn’t get a stick on Cory Emmerton’s golden opportunity in Game 3? What if one of those 40+ shots in Game 4 had gone an inch more to the left, or an inch more to the right on Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne?
The ‘what if’s’ are part of what makes being a fan so much fun, especially at this time of year. The thing about being a professional hockey player is that these guys understand that the sun will rise, another game will be played, and that until the clock strikes 0:00 on that fourth loss, the season is not over.
They know that you can’t change the past, but you can still control the future.
“I’d like us to play the same way we did last game with the exception of those two plays (which led to Nashville goals),” Mike Babcock said during his Thursday press conference. “One in our own zone and one off the rush. Just play that way.”
The 20 individuals who dress for tonight’s Game 5 will have a direct impact on whether we’ll see a Game 6 on Sunday. There won’t be any wishing. Hope isn’t a virtue. Nobody will shake a Magic 8 ball in the locker room, or throw pennies into the hotel fountain.
Those players who sport the Winged Wheel will determine their fate through grit, hard work and determination. They will control their own destiny by the way they play on the ice. They wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You can’t look at the big picture,” said Nicklas Lidstrom. “You’ve got to break it down and look at it as winning one game three times. We have to go down to Nashville, win that one game and that will be our mindset. We can’t look any further than that or we’re done.”
As Morgan Freeman said in The Shawshank Redemption, the Red Wings have to “get busy living, or get busy dying.”
The keyword is “get busy.” It’s time to win or go home. Why not win one game at a time?
| Hypothetical Caption
Hudler: People are saying the series is almost over.
Bertuzzi: You and I both know that this thing has only just begun.
The last time Detroit battled back from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series was in 1992, losing three of the first four games in a Norris Division semifinal to the Minnesota North Stars. The Red Wings were the higher seeded team in the series, but lost the first two meetings on home ice. Sergei Fedorov’s goal to win a thrilling Game 6 would end up being the last playoff game for the North Stars in Minnesota.
Game 1 – Minnesota 4, Detroit 3
Game 2 – Minnesota 4, Detroit 2
Game 3 – Detroit 5, Minnesota 4 (OT)
Game 4 – Minnesota 5, Detroit 4
Game 5 – Detroit 3, Minnesota 0
Game 6 – Detroit 1, Minnesota 0 (OT)
Game 7 – Detroit 5, Minnesota 2
Home team in bold
The Red Wings are 1-9 on the road in Game 5’s and 7-12 overall when trailing a series 3-1.
Including the playoffs, Pekka Rinne is 17-0-2 when making at least 35 saves in a game.
Detroit has not lost an opening round series since 2006, Mike Babcock’s first season as head coach.
The Red Wings have been outscored 9-4 in even-strength situations. Four of Detroit’s eight goals in this series have come on the power play.
GAME 5 VIEWING PARTY: The Red Wings and Absolut Vodka will host a special Game 5 viewing party tonight at the Hamlin Pub in Rochester Hills (1988 S. Rochester Road) Watch the game with fellow fans, take part in interactive games, and trivia, mingle with members of the Volunteer Energy Red Patrol, special guest Jason Woolley and much, much more. For more details visit: http://bit.ly/J40kpI
RED WINGS EXCUSE-O-MATIC: It really works! The Detroit Red Wings Excuse-O-Matic is your way out of over-tweeting, ignoring a significant other, not letting the dog out, missing work, class, or whatever inconvenience you chose to ignore due to playoff hockey. Visit www.redwingsexcuses.com to create your own custom excuse, signed off on by your favorite player, or even coach Mike Babcock.
BIG TEN HOCKEY TO THE JOE: On Thursday, the Big Ten Conference announced that Joe Louis Arena will host its Men’s Ice Hockey Tournaments in 2015 and 2017. The three-day event will feature all six teams with the two seeds receiving an automatic bye to the semifinals. Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota and Wisconsin make up the league, which will begin play during the 2013-14 season.
MEET TED LINDSAY AT KROGER: Tomorrow, Kroger is teaming up with Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay to present Hockey Fest from 11AM-4PM at the Kroger Store on 10059 Highland Road in Hartland Township. Admission is free. In addition to Lindsay, fans can meet and mingle with other Red Wings Alumni, enjoy the ‘Legends of Hockey’ exhibit and enjoy interactive games, including the hardest shot.
11:30 AM – Nashville skates at Bridgestone Arena
12:30 PM – The Red Wings skate at Bridgestone Arena
8:00 PM – Game 5 between the Red Wings and Predators on FOX Sports Detroit, CNBC, CBC, RDS and 97.1 FM.