For the second time in two nights, the Detroit Red Wings played host to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Detroit, which won their first playoff meeting 4-1, was looking to keep on winning. Columbus, on the other hand, was interested in splitting the first two, thus bringing home a tied series. Detroit took the ice with their winning mentality; Columbus, on the other hand, took to the ice looking like they were still practicing. Detroit was fine with this, as they dominated the entire game, getting more hits, more faceoffs, and THREE power play goals.
Columbus came out quickly in the first period, with several shots in the first few minutes. This was helped by the fact that just 10 seconds into the game, Detroit’s Daniel Cleary was called for interference. Columbus played well during the power play, but was unable to convert on any of their five shots on goal. After the end of the penalty, both Columbus and Detroit played fairly evenly. When Michael Peca was called for slashing in the 10th minute, the Jackets were able to hold off the Red Wings’ power play. However, after Jakub Voracek was called for hooking in the 12th minute, the Red Wings strong power play unit was able to convert, getting the first point of the game. Though the Wings headed into the intermission 1-0, they dominated Columbus after the first ten minutes, with 18 shots compared to Columbus’ eight.
The second period was just like the first, with the Jackets playing like a ship keeled over and the Red Wings dominating in every aspect. The Jackets had about 10 shots on goal, and Detroit doubled it with 20. Columbus had half a dozen hits, while Detroit had a baker’s dozen. In every single aspect of the game, Detroit smothered the Blue Jackets. Using this dominance, the Red Wings were able to add two more goals on to their 1-0 lead. In the sixth minute, Voracek got called again, this time for interference. On the power play, Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk sunk the puck into the net. This was the second time of the night that a bad penalty from Voracek caused a Detroit goal. To add a cherry to their growing victory sundae, the Red Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg added another score, letting Detroit coast into the second intermission with a 3-0 lead.
There was no real third period, it was just a continuation of the second. Detroit continued their run to a shutout and made sure to do it in style. Columbus’ Jason Chimera was called for boarding in the third minute, and Detroit’s Jiri Hudler quickly cashed in with their third power play goal of the night. Though this was their last goal of the night, Detroit didn’t change at all. They continued to dominate the game, set the pace, and made sure to keep Columbus from having any chances. In fact, the only thing that Detroit did not see coming was a fight near the end of the game, when Columbus’ Antoine Vermette landed a few blows on Pavel Datsyuk. Other then this small misstep, the game was entirely in Detroit’s hand.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
While there was very little to be pleased about during Saturday night’s game, the play of Vermette was a shining light. Vermette, who has never missed the playoffs in his entire NHL life, made sure that Columbus would be in it this year. For this game, he did his best to try and keep the Jackets in the actual series. Vermette chalked up several hits, quite a few faceoffs won, and a large amount of opportunities. With five minutes left in the game, he even got in a a fight, and kicked some butt, to attempt to get his squad fired up. Unfortunately for him, all of his work was for naught.
In my coverage of Thursday night’s game, I mentioned that as a key to victory the Jackets needed to stay out of the sin bin. Obviously, the team does not read my articles, as they ignored this great advice. Columbus was unable to stay clean and on the good side of the refs, and they chalked up 13 penalties against them. Of these 13, Detroit managed to score on three of them. This is no way to play a game, and certainly no way to win one. Columbus more or less handed Detroit a victory on a silver platter. If Columbus wants to win a single game, they need to stop committing such penalties.
Faceoffs are the only way to the only way to ensure that your team can get possession of the puck, and they are essential for any teams victory. Though the Jackets did better on Saturday then they did on Thursday, Columbus still did not control the puck well enough, and Detroit won the battle of the circles. Though Vermette won the majority of his faceoffs, the rest of the Blue Jackets failed in this regard. This is something that they need to work on, both as a group and individually. Without control of the puck, how can they expect to score?
Keys To Victory
If the Jackets want to win on Game Three on Tuesday then they need to get their fans riled up and cheering. The louder that the fans are, the better Columbus will do. It is a well known fact that if you have support from your crowd, the “Sixth Man” will carry you to a victory. While this should be easy to get, as it is the first home playoff game in Columbus’ history, odds are that the fact that Detroit has a two-game lead will dampen this spirit. If Columbus wants to get the crowd into it, they need to score quickly, hit hard, and maybe get in a few fights. Without any spirit from the crowd, Columbus will have no spirit on the ice.
Though I have already mentioned the penalties and faceoffs, if the Jackets want to win a single game in this series, and keep from being swept, they need to improve greatly in these two areas. The Red Wings scored three times while having a man up, and this can not keep happening. Detroit has the best power play rankings in the league, and Columbus can not let them use it. Additionally, if Detroit doesn’t have the chance to set anything up, then they can not get moving. If Columbus wants to keep Detroit out of the net, then they need to keep the puck in their control, and thus they need to ensure more faceoff wins.
Learn Your Hockey
A faceoff is how every single game and period in hockey starts. It is also how the game resumes play after a stoppage of any kind. During a faceoff, a player from each team will face each other on opposite sides of the circle. The linesmen will raise and then drop the puck, allowing each player to fight for it. Whichever team ends up with it is considered the winner. Though it rarely happens, players may be removed from a faceoff due to some cheating or a faceoff can be repeated due to an unfair advantage. There are nine circles on the ice, each being used for different reasons.
This was the second game of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs for both the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Detroit Red Wings. Currently, Detroit has a two-game lead in the best-of-seven series. The next game will be played in Columbus on Tuesday, April 21. This will be followed by another in Columbus on the 23rd. The regular season record between these two clubs is tied at 3-3.