The Red Wings came out into this elimination game looking very sluggish. Their movement through the neutral zone and entries into Boston’s zone were very choppy. Boston would get themselves on the board first, yet again on another power play. On the rush, the puck would be passed from the wing to the front of the net to Loui Eriksson, who put it around Jonas Gustavsson for the 1-0 lead at 3:27 of the first. Shots through one period were 11-8 for Boston.
Detroit managed to wake up a bit and get themselves back in the game slightly in the second period. Striking on a power play of their own, Henrik Zetterberg would take a shot from the point that was saved by Tuukka Rask, but the rebound got away from him. It skittered to Pavel Datsyuk rushing the net, and he potted it past Rask to tie the game 1-1 at 14:41. Looking like they would leave the period tied, Boston played heartbreaker again and put up another, on a 4-on-3 power play. Zdeno Chara would take a pass from the far corner and one-time the puck on Gustavsson, beating him top-corner and taking a 2-1 lead with just 4 seconds left in the period. Shots through two were 24-20 Boston.
Third period was much of the same as the rest of the series was for Detroit. Boston would score again early, when the Red Wings failed to clear the puck from their zone and had it brought back up the wing. It’d be passed to the front of the net to a waiting Milan Lucic, who redirected it around Gustavsson for the 3-1 lead at 4:27. Detroit would attempt the comeback though, and got an uplifting goal late by the captain. In a scrum in front of the net, Justin Abdelkader put a shot on Rask up close that was stopped, and the rebound went out the side of the crease to Zetterberg, who roofed it top-corner over Rask from a tight angle to cut the lead to 3-2 at 16:08. The season-ender would come on the impeding 6-on-5 for Detroit in the waning moments of the game. After winning an offensive-zone faceoff, they’d lose possession to Boston just after, and have it carried out to center ice. Jerome Iginla took a quick pass and then wristed the puck from center ice into the Detroit net, taking the 4-2 lead, and ending the Red Wings’ short playoff run. Final shot totals were tied 33 apiece.
It was a great little run at the end of the season. Doing what they did this year with an (unofficial team-reported) 421 man-games lost to injury, and the players that happened to be injured in that time, it was still a successful year. A lot of youngsters that got a shot this season because of the injuries will more than likely see regular ice-time next season and take the spots of some of the vets. We’ll more than likely see quite a few departures from the team next season, as they transition to being a younger, speedier team than they’ve been in seasons past. We can only hope they can find that kind of success next year, and hope that everyone can recover well over the offseason and stay healthy going into next season. See you all for the draft!