In this case,the Seinfeld reference refers to a team that was once a rival, of sorts, as well. In the way that a Canuck fan might look at an Oiler an calling our team a "rival" I am sure Jerry did not really ( rightly ) consider Wayne a comedic rival. Even if Wayne did singlehandedly save Space Jam ! .
I never got how Minnesota got such an intense "rival" out of one playoff series long ago against the Nucks either, now that I think about it.. We don't even think of you guys on the first page around here guys! It's a long list in Vancouver. That is probably how Detroit would think of the talk we used to have from this organization, about 10-15 years ago. Now, they know how close these games they seem to keep winning really are. The Wings have won a lot for a long time. They have many "rivals".
Back then, it was far more one sided between these teams, and the recent record is not that impressive for Canuck fans either. But when you look at that table, virtually every game is a one or two goal affair. The hockey is always intense. True, the only way these teams will get the playoff juice into making that "rivalry" more intense is by meeting in the Final now, but there is a reason that several of the past management teams in LotusLand referred to the "Detroit Model" incessantly.
This game was part of a schedule that was chock full last night, but where this matchup stood alone. So, whatever the result, the hockey shows will talk about this one a lot tomorrow. Detroit was only two points behind the Canucks 33 points ( want to know how insane it is around the league ? After last night's results, there are six teams above the Canucks at 45 points, tied for first overall. Check the standings here. Even Philly @ 19 points thinks they might have a chance to "make a run", and only about 6 teams are not within 10-12 points of the lead....a "run" entails overcoming...parity ! )
Both teams were 7-2-1 going into this one, and if you were PVRing it, that 45 minutes is when the lights went out in The Joe. They say they are getting a new rink, but then, it IS Detroit. God love em...
Once the game started, it looked like one of those games we get when we have these two teams play. They were not only identical in their last ten, they play a similar style now. ( and minus the Torts Year, for a while ) It would be nice to see the Canucks get a few bounces in these games though.
The first once came when a decent spell of Detroit pressure, off of a Datsyuk rush and shot, led to Kronwall getting a shot. As Bieksa took Abdelkader in front, and Sbisa the other guy in the slot, Miller was left the shooter. He seemed to be there, but it was only AFTER the goal that we noticed ( thanks twitter ) that Abdelkader was standing on Miller's stick. Obviously something that is not supposed to be kosher, but no one saw it, of the four guys entrusted with seeing things.
I thought the call on the first power play was a little light, but the Nucks killed it off. The second one was a call that has to be made, albeit a bit of bad luck, as Bonino took a shot that was saved. Burrows was in front, and when he missed a tip, he got the mask of the goalie.
The Wings then did a tic-tac-toe beauty of a play with their "all Lefty" power play. Edler "shouldawouldacoulda" have gotten the puck out before they did the quasi-Sedinery anyhow. And the Canucks had two straight power plays of their own that were "meh" as well, where they could have replied with a tally of their own. The fact is, that while the shots were 11-10, Vrbata hit a post, Jimmy Howard made some great saves, and the Wings had better execution on their power play, and better luck, in that it is kinda tough to move with the puck when your stick suddenly stays where it was. At the least, I can see why Miller did not get the shoulder all the way over on the first one.
Numbers and stuff
Even Strength Corsi For : In a period where both teams featured a lot of guys hanging around the even mark as for as CF events went, Christopher Tanev was a +8, and his partner was a +5 in that category. Daniel and Henrik Sedin were +3, and no one on the Detroit team was over ( or below, except D Miller and Glendening at -4 in the first period ) a 2 in that category. For that matter, most of the Canuck team were in the same boat, and Stanton and Weber both had the -4 in even strength Corsi For as well. It was an even game.
If the home team might have been a bit fortunate in their lead in the first, it was the second that featured the most ridiculous "bounce". NO, not the one on the power pay for the Canucks, who finally got one on special teams, when Quincey went off for hooking early in the second. Linden Vey got a decent bounce, as the pass was to Daniel, and bounced to him in the slot. But that was a smart shot. Goals on the power play are a good thing. I know the kid is struggling five on five, but they all count the same, last time I checked.
No, the most ridiculous bounce was the goal where, in the last ten seconds of a power play that was getting handled pretty well to that point, Ryan Miller had just made a diving save on Tatar, and Pavel Datsyuk got a stick on a puck, and did not even direct it at the net. That was Sbisa checking him. It went off of Bieksa, and then Bonino trying to save the post.
( excuse this one mini rant as well. I had an uncle that would tell me all about "Original Six Bias". How those sainted clubs get a disproportionate amount of referee largesse. All I know is a Linden Vey interference call, and the Stanton hook that led to this power play, the arm did not go up until the yelling commenced from the Wings bench. Or maybe it just looked that way...the refs had a shitty game anyhow... )
Henrik Sedin was tripped on the next shift with no call, of course, but then it is the Twins. They have the toughest time with refs sometimes ! The Sedin Line did put in a dominant shift that failed to cash, and the third line ollowed it up. Lucas Sbisa had his "one huge hit of the game", on Abdelkader this time. The fourth line, and second line all had zone time in the dregs of the period, but the score differential was still two after fourty minutes,
MOAR Numbers !
Corsi For is a pretty decent predictor of how a player is contributing, at five on five, anyhow. Guys like Vey, for instance, get goals on special teams because of their talent, but that does not mean they are only one kind of player.
Linden Vey, in fact, was a +3 on ES / CF through two periods. While most the players were in sight of even still ( Daniel and Henrik were now +4, and Tanev had increased his team lead to +9. It was the fourth line that was getting eaten up. Mostly against their counterpart on the Wings. Bo was a -7 on ES / CF, and Dorsett a -5. Honey Badger was the best on his line at -4, but they were getting hemmed in at times in this game. More of the Wings were on the plus side now ( Miller and Glendening -7 and -10 to lead their team. ),as you can see from the fine folks at hockeystats.ca.
Although I am not enough of a math whiz to tell you why that happened in a period where the Canucks outshot the home team 12 - 7. I do know the Wings probably had the puck a little more, as they were winning the draws a lot. The home team was 26 wins and 19 losses through two periods, and won the night 39 to 28. Only Richardson was above 50 / 50 tonight, going 8 of 15. Bo had a 4 for 11 afternoon, Bones was 7 of 20, and Hank 8 of 18.
That did not help.
The Wings started doing what a lot of teams try to do in today's NHL. They did it in the same way that the Canucks do when they have the lead, grinding the other players as they come up the ice through the neutral zone, and grinding along the boards, and dumping it up ice when they do get through the neutral zone.
They almost increased their lead, when Quincey could not beat the skinny red friend after he beat Miller on a point shot bomb. Jannik Hansen tried his best, and was the latest victim of the bounces always seeming to go the Wings' way at The Joe. This time, it looked like Beaker had beaten the defender on n icing race pretty decisively. He then went to help on the faceoff win, got his face raked by Zetterberg's stick as a result ( requiring repairs and giving him a fairly decent sized gash around the mouth ). Four guys all looking in that direction did their Larry, Curly and Moe impressions and ignored him prostrate on the ice in pain, and let the Wings get two c=decent shots at a goal, only blowing it down after the puck was saved. It seems cruel !
The Twins had another great shift without a goal, this one punctuated by Daniel being literally tackled behind the net with no arms going up. The Canucks then finally got a bounce. It came after a Matthias rush was thwarted by the linesman saying he took a puck too high. On the ensuing draw, the Canucks won it, got it in, and when a Weber shot was directed at net, it went in off of Matthias for the 3-2 goal.
Of course, The Joe does not like other teams getting a bounce, and it was only a minute later when the two goal lead was restored, with a DeKeyser shot going off Bonino and in. Willie Desjardins then pulled the goalie with four and a half minutes left, and it actually got the game back to one when Vey got his 2nd of the game. An absolutely lunatic empty goal, where Helm was more sweeper than anything else, got Datsyuk his second, as he was the last to touch it at the blue line. Anything to get your superstar teammate a goal !
Numbers All Stars
Face Offs - Darren Helm was 13 of 19 in the face off circle.
Corsi For - Daniel Sedin finished at _6, Datsyuk led his team at only +7, and Chris Tanev was the game leader at +13, with Edler at +10. That they drive the play as the top pairing, against top competition is going to cost Benning when it comes to Tanev this summer ! Dude just plays, and makes plays.
27 & 36 - Shawn Matthias has a goal and an assist, was +2, had 5 shots, and was beasting all night. Hansen led the forwards with 4 hits, and had 2 shots and a block in his 11:55 TOI.
That is it for this one. Next up is the Capitals, and I will be with you again for the Ontario portion of this road odyssey...
( In honour of Honey's Badger's great week so far, and the way he played this one in Honey Bader style, even while his line was getting worked a bit , the 1-2-3 is Danish In case you were wondering )