Detroit Sports

Going Back to Cali!

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Yo, Red Wings fans, get up. Get up! We got a flight to catch! Take down this information. We’re hopping on board Red Bird. Destination: San Jose International Airport. You know we gonna get this win. Meet you there, Thursday night, 8 pm.

Those who know me well know I love rap music. After the Game 4 win, I quoted Detroit native Marshall Mathers, as the Wings staved off elimination. Tonight, with their epic come-from-behind victory to force a winner-take-all Game 7, I’m borrowing a line from one of the best of all time, the Notorious B.I.G. His song “Going Back to Cali” is the best way I can sum up what just took place at the Joe Louis Arena.

Maybe a year from now, when I’ve had time to process everything that took place over the last three periods, I’ll be able to better describe the game played between the Red Wings and Sharks.

Now, though?

Domination of the first period. Nothing to show for it.

Domination of the second, again, zip.

Less than 4 into the third…disaster strikes.

Jimmy Howard, who had been so strong in Games 1-5, let’s a soft one squeak through the five hole.

The Sharks are up 1-0, despite being badly outplayed to this point.

I feel like I’m going to be sick. The season HAS to be over now, doesn’t it?

How can the Wings possibly have enough left after peppering Niemi for 44 minutes to overcome this setback?

Surely they’ve spent too much energy just to get the series to 6 games to have anything left, right?

Wrong.

If you doubt the Red Wings heart, intensity, desire, or flat out balls-to-the-wall will to win anymore, I don’t have any time left for you.

Turn in your hockey fan pass on your way out, the playoffs aren’t for you.

The Wings just out-willed the Sharks tonight.

Denied of any goals through the games first 50 minutes, staring elimination square in the face, the Wings pulled out everything they had left in the tank, and because of that they are heading back to the Shark Tank with a full head of steam, all the momentum in the world, and a chance to do what only three other teams have done in the long, storied history of the NHL.

Valtteri Filppula, who I have been referring to all series as “the best player without a point” was a dominating force tonight. It’s only fitting that he got his first point on the goal that saved the Wings season. He sent a perfect pass back to Niklas Kronwall, who ripped a wrister on net. Henrik Zetterberg got just enough of it to change it’s course, and in doing so changed the course of the Wings season.

1:54 later, Filppula was at it again. On an odd man rush with linemates Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, the talented Finn put the Wings ahead with what is undoubtedly one of the biggest goals of his career.

From that point forward, didn’t it seem like time slowed to a crawl?

The last 8 minutes of the game seemed to take 8 years to play.

And of course, number 8 took his 8th penalty of the series on a late holding call, setting up the mother of all penalty kills.

What else can you say about the PK in the last three games? With their collective ability called into question repeatedly in the playoffs, they’ve pitched a shutout since Game 4, killing off some enormously important Shark power plays in the process. Drew Miller, Patrick Eaves and Darren Helm in particular were impressive.

Eaves blocked a shot with his stick, shattering it in half. He then chased down the puck and using his body, hands, and everything else he had, pushed it towards the boards, where Helm could safely clear it from the zone.

And then, with time ticking down, Darren Helm stepped off the bench and picked off a Joe Pavelski pass and deposited it directly into the empty San Jose cage.

Game over.

Going back to Cali. I’ll let Biggie take it from here…with a little Red Wings twist!

Spell the name right, R-E-D, W-I-N-G-S, Ice tilt, You wilt, Datsyuk and Co.

and we Goin, goin, back, back to Cali, Cali!

The Off Wing View’s Three Stars

3. Antti Niemi 42 saves

2. Niklas Kronwall 1A, +1

1. Valtteri Filppula 1G, 1A, +1


About Rob Benneian

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4 Comments

  1. mike

    May 10, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    yo it’s mike , i’m in SoCal and; native of MI. you gonna watch the game up der?

  2. Kyle O'Shea

    May 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I know its not the topic of this post, but Kronner has stepped up and made this defense his. Thats hard to say with how well Lids has been playing, but for the first time in his career, in my opinion, he is showing that he will step up and be the man when our beloved captain hangs them up.

    I never doubted the future of this franchise, but i always said lidstrom retiring would have way more effect than when Yzerman did. Kronner’s play this postseason is making me feel loads better with the when that fatefull day comes

    • Rob Benneian

      May 12, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      Couldn’t agree more, Kyle. Hopefully Nick’s got at least one more year, though, so hopefully Kindl can mature into a top 4 guy by 2012-2013, and then Smith will likely be on the squad as well.