"What a night, what a night. And this final will have them talking in the hockey world in the morning." - Mickey Redmond.
6-0. Detroit Red Wings 6, San Jose Sharks 0.
Remember everything that I said earlier? Tonight though, all was changed. The Red Wings SHOT THE PUCK. They shot at random times, and they shot on net. They were looking for goals all the time, and not going for the perfect shot. Everything that I wanted to see out of the Red Wings...happened!
Just like that, two Red Wings goals in the first. Both goals came on quick shots, and both plays are the type of things that the Wings need. Going into the next periods, this play kept up. Four more goals. A full 60-minute performance for the Red Wings.
Tonight, the Red Wings were sharp for the whole game, and this was best exemplified with Datsyuk's third period goal. This one featured a clean strip off a Sharks defenseman, followed by a quick play to the net, and a goal. What we in Hockeytown have been waiting all year to see...came in the form of an early Christmas present. A little bit late from what was expected but we'll take it.
The story of the game was far more than just the scoring, although that was most obvious to hockey fans around the league. The Wings beat San Jose to loose pucks for the whole night, playing with the intensity of a playoff game. Checks were finished from the men in red in a consistent fashion, and the hits never stopped coming. The defense was strong, with the biggest evidence of that being the shutout. This game was a complete victory for the Red Wings, and one that will be fondly remembered when the season is looked back at.
Still, we need to see how they'll do against Los Angeles...but that's for another day. Instead, the top team in the league got blown out, to the point that the third period featured Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond discussing how the Sharks "look like they just want to get out of here" and "this is a learning experience, you can't win them all."
Against the Red Wings, who had a six-goal win! The same Red Wings that, after Datsyuk's 5th Wings goal, prompted a discussion on how the team had not one blowout win on the year. There was one 4-0 win over Edmonton, but that's it. No statement game, no "here are the DEFENDING champs" victory. Until tonight, that is. Six. Six!
"You can feel the buzz" was how Ken and Mickey described the mood inside the Joe, and that enthusiasm reflected throughout the fanbase. Just from personal experience, I was fired up for today's game. Since I am on break, my mind was on this matchup all day long. Listening to pregame coverage on the radio, putting an old Wings tape in the background while I worked around the house, all of it. Tonight was a big game in my mind.
That anticipation showed in tonight's crowd. Finally, our crowd responded to the team this year. The Joe crowd was loud, was full, and was singing late in the game to the PA. With two minutes to go, and the Wings up six, there was a "Let's Go Red Wings" chant. The night ended with FSN's cameras showing an appreciative crowd showing their joy with a lengthy standing ovation to end the game.
This was not just a statement victory for the Red Wings. This was one for the fans too. All year, the crowds haven't been there as much, thanks to the economy. The Joe has seemed empty at times. People have wondered about the popularity of the Wings, considering the status as defending Cup champs. We came out tonight though. We, a complete team, beat the Sharks.
Random Notes: This Saturday, the Wings are giving away Niklas Kronwall growth chart posters. Sadly, this is a missed opportunity for a marketing goldmine: the Jiri Hudler Growth Chart Poster....In the third period, the Joe PA played Rick Astley. Rickrolling, ye have reached your pinnacle...Five games to go until the Winter Classic, with the next game coming up this Saturday against Los Angeles at home.