Well, that was brutal. It's hard for me to write about this, because I am still numb.
A note before I recap the game, because this is the reason I just don't give a shit: my grandmother passed away today. She had a quick but determined fight with cancer, but unfortunately the disease won out. Just like the house, cancer always wins. All of the cliches are true: stuff like this puts life into perspective. Don't get me wrong: I'm still uber-mad the Wings pissed that game away. But I just don't really care. The Wings could get swept on Thursday, and I won't care as much then. My grandmother was a wonderful woman and was really like a third parent to me. I was very close to her, and it's going to take some time to get over the fact she's not with us anymore. The only saving grace is that she is no longer in pain, as it got pretty bad towards the end.
On to the game. How is that the 3 things we all said were important for the Wings to win (faceoffs, contain Pavelski, better on the PK) were accomplished, and they still LOST THE FUCKING GAME!!! I just don't get this team this year. They play an inspired first period, even if they did get a huge break when they got the penalty shot. But why the fuck did Hank take it? He is godawful in shootouts. Put Bertuzzi out there. At least he scores every once in a whie on those things. Babcock really screwed the pooch out there.
I was feeling great until that goal with 1.8 seconds left - 1.8 seconds away from a 2-goal lead and a dominating first period. To quote Andy from Fight Night at the Joe said on Twitter, "Unacceptable".
The second period was blah, but to be honest, I missed most of it because I was talking to family. From what I saw on Twitter, it sounded like the Sharks were starting to take over the game. But, I felt good going into the third with a 2-goal lead.
The third period. Our nemesis. How many leads have we seen the Wings piss away this year? Too many to count, if you ask me. About 5 minutes into the third period I turned to my wife and said "they're not skating". Sure enough, Thornton picks up a goal after the Wings turn into a bunch of blind idiots trying to get the puck. After that, the Hank line picked it up, This was clearly their best game of the series, but it was too little, too late.
The tying goal. Jesus. Fucking. Christ. Jimmy, I am proud of you for what you have done this year. You almost single-handedly kept this team close to a playoff position when we had the injuries. You were unbelievable down the stretch after the Olympics. In fact, you were having a pretty good series. But, you pulled a Legace - you let in a cheap goal when your team needed a save. I think you're going to have a good career here in Detroit, but if you ever give up a goal like that again, don't think I won't turn on you like a rabid dog.
We're going to take a break from the recap to discuss what we all love - the refs. They did not cost the Wings tonight. The penalty on Homer at the end of the game was a brutal call, but overall they did not influence or impact this game. I know there was a discrepancy in calls (again), but the Wings put themselves in position to take penalties too many times tonight. Here's a thought: move your fucking feet and keep skating. Or, win a faceoff and control the puck. If you have the puck, then you don't need to hook or trip anyone. It's fairly simple.
So the Wings broke their OT cherry tonight, and damn if it wasn't pretty. The millisecond after I saw Thornton and Marleau on the 2-on-1, I knew it was over. There was no chance, and it was a nice pass. I'll be honest: Thornton is looking pretty good out there. I still don't like him, and still think he's overrated, but he is starting to shed that "choker" label.
So that's just about it. Down 3-0, and nothing the Red Wings did tonight gave me any confidence they can come back and win 4 straight. This series has exposed a lot of flaws on the Wings, and it's very disheartening to see them go out like this. Tyler over at Triple Deke echoed my thoughts in saying that this is not about the Red Wings "not wanting it". I'm disappointed by the outcome, but I know that each and every one of the players in that room are even more devastated by the loss tonight. They want to win just as much, if not more, than we want them to. You can question their decision-making or their execution, but don't question their heart or desire to win. As much as it pains me to say this, maybe they just aren't that good. At least not good enough to win the Cup. The loss tonight is squarely on the Red Wings - they had a 2 goal lead, once again, and frittered it away with a laid-back game plan and poor play.
RIP Grandma Jean. We will always love you and miss you. I know you are in a better place.