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Strader's Blog: Observations in the West

Monday, 05.14.2007 / 12:15 PM ET / News
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Strader\'s Blog: Observations in the West
Hello Panther fans….

It’s Monday morning in Detroit and both conference final series are headed to game three. While Ottawa has grabbed a 2-0 series lead with a pair of road victories in the East, the Red Wings and Ducks are all knotted at 1-1 heading to Honda Center in Anaheim.

I’m covering the Detroit-Anaheim series for NHL Radio. Here are some observations after the first two games at Joe Louis Arena:

  • The Ducks have been the better team for most of the first two games. Coach Randy Carlyle and his staff came into this series with a game plan and they have executed it to near perfection. The Ducks have used a relentless checking and hitting formula to limit the highly skilled Wings to ZERO goals at even strength. The Wings’ 5 goals in the series consist of 4 power play tallies and a short handed goal. Anaheim has pounded the Wings with the hope of wearing down some of Detroit’s smaller and older players. While Detroit has stood up well physically to this point, Anaheim’s hope is that the Wings won’t be able to respond as the series progresses.
  • Dominik Hasek and Chris Chelios are amazing athletes. The NHL has become more of a “young man’s” game in recent years. Yet these two forty something players not only continue to compete, but they’re still making significant contributions. Hasek was the number one star of Detroits’ 2-1 win in game one (31 saves) and was brilliant again in game two. Chelios has seen his playing time go up since the injury to Mathieu Schneider in the last round. When Chelios goes into the corners against an opposing player, he’s still the one who usually comes out with the puck.
  • Ryan Getzlaf is the best player in the NHL that no one knows about. In the last series against Vancouver, Teemu Selanne was singing the praises of Getzlaf as a young player who would rival the likes of Crosby and Malkin if he played in the East. The 6’3 200 pound center has the skills to be a 120-130 point player according to Selanne, but “this team is not built to have one player score that many points”.
  • The game I’m watching in this series bears little resemblance to the game I covered in the East with the Florida Panthers all season. I know that officiating is a subjective thing and perhaps no other officials in pro sports have a tougher job, but if this series was called with the same obstruction standards that I witnessed during the season, there would have been 15-20 power plays in each of the first two games….maybe more. In most instances when  Detroit has dumped the puck into the Anaheim zone and attempted to retrieve it, the Ducks’ defense simply wouldn’t allow it. Sometimes it’s a subtle nudge…other times it’s a blatant push…but Detroit players could not take a direct path to the puck. The Ducks hold the line better than any team in the NHL and as long as they can get away with this tactic, it’s not going to change. All I know is that anytime a defending player moved out of his lane to impede a potential forechecker in the games I saw during the season, it was a penalty.
  • Congratulations to Hockey Canada on their gold medal at the World Championships in Moscow. Panthers’ GM/Coach Jacques Martin was an integral part of the management group that assembled the team that not only won the gold, but they became the first team in about 70 years to run the table. Congrats also to GM Steve Yzerman, Coach Andy Murray and all involved.
  • I visited with David Booth of the Panthers after game one at Joe Louis Arena. David is a Michigan native and attended the game with his brother. He’s looking forward to playing these types of intense playoff games as a Florida Panther!

Now it’s off to the airport and a flight to southern California….I’ll be back between games four and five of this series!

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 50 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 53 10 27 9 37
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 53 10 25 11 35
V. Trocheck 53 17 16 3 33
R. Smith 53 16 15 10 31
B. Pirri 49 10 13 -5 23
A. Ekblad 49 10 12 20 22
B. Campbell 53 4 16 16 20
N. Bjugstad 38 9 8 -4 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 3 1 .929 2.01

 
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