Last year, the Red Wings didn't face this kind of adversity in the playoffs. Yeah, they lost two games in Nashville and needed overtime in Game 5 to go up 3-2 in that series. They had to deal with some awful officiating in Dallas, and they lost two straight games before refocusing and winning in six. They took an absolutely horrifying body blow in Game 5 against Pittsburgh when they were 34.7 seconds away from the Stanley Cup, only to lose the lead and lose the game in three overtimes. They bounced back from that to win Game 6 in Pittsburgh.
This is different. At no point last spring did the Red Wings trail in a series. They never had their backs pushed up against the wall like they do now. The last time they trailed in a series before now was against these same Ducks two years ago when they lost Game 5 at home in overtime. They bowed out with a whimper and a way-too-late roar in Game 6. Before that, they trailed the Sharks 2-1, and were 30 seconds away from going down 3-1 before Robert Lang tied it and Mathieu Schneider won it in overtime.
So now we'll get to see what these Red Wings are made of. The unconscionable screwjob that took place two nights ago won't ever leave us, as Red Wings fans. If the Wings lose this series, we'll never forgive Brad Watson, and we'll have just another notch on the belt of inexplicable, terrible moments. Game 5 against Colorado in 2002. Game 6 in Calgary in 2004. Game 6 in Edmonton in 2006. That Game 5 against the Ducks in 2007, and Game 5 vs. Pittsburgh last year. If Anaheim beats Detroit again, that moment in Game 3 on Tuesday might top them all.
Abel to Yzerman summed it up nicely:
Time for bluntness: losing this series would be worse than ‘06, worse than ‘03, even worse than losing to these cheating scumbags in 2007. This would be the biggest waste of talent in NHL history. This would be the most heinous missed opportunity we’ve ever seen.
It's time, Red Wings. It's time to put the skate to the throat of this fucking team. I'm not saying the Wings have pulled a Pistons on us and dicked around these past couple games. But I'm saying it's time to turn it up a notch. That dominance we've seen in the third period the past two games, it's time to bring that at the opening faceoff tonight. Don't wait for the Ducks, with their one quality line, to wear down. MAKE them wear down faster tonight. Hossa came here to win a Cup. It's time to show it, Marian. It's time to assert dominance on this team. It's time for Datsyuk and Hossa to control play in the Anaheim zone, make the Ducks weary, make them take penalties. And make them pay on the power play. It's time for these lazy, half-hearted passes into the neutral zone to stop. The Ducks have clogged it up and choked off Detroit's speed. It's time to adapt and attack.
Meanwhile, in the category of insanity, we have this from James Wisniewski:
Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski was at the Honda Center Thursday morning and addressed the media, a day after being released from the hospital following a lung contusion suffered in Game 3.
I mean...do I really need to comment? It's alright, I will anyway.
- Wisniewski was not "hunched over". He was upright and still involved in the play 10 seconds after he got hit with a puck in the chest while he was cross-checking Holmstrom.
- The blood wasn't even from the glancing blow that Homer landed. He was coughing up because HE GOT HIT IN THE CHEST WITH A PUCK!
- Shut the fuck up, Wisniewski. You play for the dirtiest fucking team in hockey with the dirtiest fucking player on your blueline. Pronger's been suspended EIGHT times in his career for his goonery, and you're going to call another team dirty? This kind of hypocrisy is going to give me an aneurysm.
I hope the actual Red Wings aren't dwelling on this petty shit like I am. Because that will be their undoing (asides from the bullshit officiating). It's time to get back to Red Wings hockey. Stop letting the Ducks drag you down into the gutters with them. Come out tonight, hair on fire. Don't wait until the third. Score first. Play smart, and this team of thugs will fold.
I wrote this last April when the Pistons were down 2-1 in the first round against Philadelphia. I detailed about how we would find out what the Pistons were made of as they faced a possible 3-1 deficit in the first round. They responded brilliantly (in that round, anyway), rallying to win Game 4 before blowing Philly out in Games 5 and 6.
Now the same applies to our Stanley Cup Champions. They've been through the wars together, and now we will see where their instincts lie. Facing a 2-1 deficit against a nemesis that is intent on making this personal, while dealing with officiating that is so maddeningly inconsistent and awful, what will the instincts of this Red Wings team be like? Will they crumble like they did in Anaheim two years ago, or will they rise above the bullshit and put their skates on the Ducks' throats?
Killer instinct. It's time.