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Three Questions: Wings-Blue Jackets

DRW.com analyzes Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals

Tuesday, 04.21.2009 / 9:59 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Three Questions: Wings-Blue Jackets
How did the Wings win this one?

With the Blue Jackets hosting their first ever playoff game Thursday, the Wings were expecting a hostile crowd to greet them at Nationwide Arena.  They got just that, with a loud fan base cheering on their hometown team.  Then the Wings promptly silenced the entire building.  

Tomas Holmstrom buried a rebound opportunity from a shot that Marian Hossa rang off the crossbar only 1:07 into the contest.  It was a devastating blow to fans that had just watched a pre-game video comparing their squad to other underdog stories (Ali, Miracle, etc.).  They were ready to go, and Holmstrom reminded them with one swing of his stick that the Wings were the favorites and already two games up on their hometown Blue Jackets.

To make matters worse for the Blue Jackets, the Wings scored in the final minute of the first period as well.  Dan Cleary scored on a highlight-reel spin-around goal with 46 seconds remaining.  The Wings’ momentum carried over into the second period, and the Blue Jackets couldn’t respond.  The Wings couldn’t have asked for goals at better times in the contest.  Those two tallies arguably won the game for them in the first 20 minutes.

What about the defense?


Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said that the Wings really turned on their defense, not their offense, at the start of the series, and the Wings backed up his statement Tuesday night.  Goaltender Chris Osgood led the way again, turning aside 31 shots en route to his third straight win.  Osgood has yet to allow more then one goal in any of the three games of the series.

The Wings defense gave Ozzie lots of help, as well.  The team chipped in to once again shut down the Jackets’ power play, holding them to only one goal on four opportunities (their first power play goal of the series).  Columbus captain Rick Nash picked up an assist on the play, but he was still contained well by captain Nicklas Lidstrom and his teammates, even when the Wings didn’t have the last change.  And Brad Stuart ignored the fact that experts were saying that Columbus was the more physical team when he had star R.J. Umberger seeing stars after a great open-ice hip check in the second period.

What’s next?

The Wings will look to wrap up the series in Game 4, which will be played on Thursday in Columbus.  If Columbus wins, the series will come back to Detroit, for a Saturday match-up.  The Wings, however, have seemed to figure out the Blue Jackets, as they coasted to yet another win.  It might not matter to the Wings if they’re on the road or at home; an octopus still hit the ice during the third period of the 4-1 road win.  

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 50 17 18 23 35
H. Zetterberg 51 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 50 14 16 -3 30
G. Nyquist 51 14 13 -4 27
J. Abdelkader 51 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 36 6 18 10 24
M. Green 45 3 17 -8 20
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
D. DeKeyser 47 6 8 10 14
R. Sheahan 50 7 6 -15 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 18 10 4 .931 2.06
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89