Ducks Lead Series 1-0
Power Play: Ducks 2/4, 50%; Red Wings 1/4, 25%
(Apologies that this turned into a bonus recap of Game 1. The new playoff game preview format will hopefully get better as the sample size grows.)
So, that Game 1 was a huge relief, eh? It's no secret that going into this series i was a nervous wreck. On the podcast this week I went back and forth more than Faye Dunnaway in Chinatown and ended up being the only pessimist among the staff, picking Detroit in 6 (Homers!). Thanks to a rare full 60 minute performance throughout the lineup, I was able to stave off a full nervous breakdown. Now it's time for more nail biting, jaw clenching and hyperventilating, but such are the playoffs.
I'd have to say the most impressive part of Game 1 was the Ducks' ability to read and intercept Detroit passes through the neutral zone. This was especially effective in the first period, facilitated by the fact that Mike Babcock's game plan consisted of sending a cherry picker to the Ducks' blueline and bombing home run passes from the tops of the circles. Also, stick tap to Beauch for looking like a Yale Alum with some serious stick on puck defending against Datsyuk.
Tuesday night was pretty close to a perfect blueprint of how the Ducks need to play the rest of this series to move on. Get out to an early lead, contain Datsyuk and Zetterberg, key saves at key moments from Hiller (and/or Fasth, if he comes in) and pressure the young D-men. Even so, there were three or four big opportunities for the Wings to take a lead or tie it up and change the entire complexion of the game.
It's a fine line the Ducks are walking, but so far, so good. For now, the best strategy is to quote Herb Brooks: "AGAIN!"
Pregame Twitter Updates:
Looks like Bruce Boudreau is playing the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" card tonight:
Boudreau on Luca Sbisa (lower body): "He is available. I just didn't want to make a change in the lineup." #NHLDucks— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) May 2, 2013
Tweeting this frankly just because: Jonas Hiller is stretching and looks like he's in for Game 2 #notashock— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) May 2, 2013
That could lead to a dicey situation of adapting to Babcock's inevitable adjustments (like Todd Bertuzzi coming back from injury as well as possibly Mikael Samuelsson) on the fly and the return of the Boudreau random line generator if they don't find the same gear as Game 1, but we'll find out soon enough.