Three Questions: Wings-Ducks
DRW.com analyzes Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals
The Red Wings were staring down a one-goal deficit late in Game 3, and it looked like they had found a way to tie it up in the final minutes. Forward Johan Franzen created a turnover behind the Anaheim goal, and threw the puck out in front of goaltender Jonas Hiller. The puck rolled through Hiller’s legs, and was sitting just above the goal line. Marian Hossa dove into the crease, and swatted the puck into the goal, but there was one problem – the whistle had blown. With 1:04 remaining, the puck was in the Anaheim goal, but it didn’t matter. NHL rules state that once the whistle has blown, the play is dead, and it cannot be overruled. Instant replay showed that the nearest referee was in the corner, caught out of position because of the turnover. As he rushed to the back of the net, he apparently lost sight of the puck, and blew the play dead.
The call was a devastating blow to the Wings’ comeback attempt, and they were unable to find another scoring chance. The game ended with the gloves dropped; a shoving match between all ten skaters took place. Pavel Datsyuk lost his helmet, and Henrik Zetterberg was pushing and shoving with Ryan Getzlaf. It was an ending full of frustration, just like the last minute for the Wings.
Who stole Game 3?
Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller is quickly becoming Detroit’s biggest villain. The Wings fired 46 shots towards the young netminder Tuesday night, and he stopped 45 of them. In the first three games, Hiller has stopped 138 shots the Wings have fired his way. And he has held some of the Wings’ top scorers, like Datsyuk and Hossa, off the scoresheet.
Hiller held the Wings’ power play to a 1-4 outing, not enough goals for the league’s top man-advantage unit. The Wings will be looking to find ways to get the puck around Hiller’s big frame in Game 4. Hiller drops to the ice, and lets his big frame fill up the net while his legs cover the corners. However, the Wings have seen goaltenders like him before, and they know how to beat him.
What about the physicality?
The Ducks were throwing the body around Tuesday night, as usual. The problem, however, is that they are getting the Wings to take more penalties. Detroit was in the box six times in Game 3, and while the Ducks only scored one power-play goal, it was still a problem. When the Wings are killing penalties early, it wears out the penalty-killers, and it keeps the skilled players from being able to get scoring chances. Four of the six Wings’ penalties were roughing or interference penalties, meaning that they were trying to combat the Ducks’ physical play. The Wings certainly will try to cut down on the penalties as they head into Game 4 in Anaheim.