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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 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 74 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jagr 72 15 26 -3 41
J. Jokinen 76 8 33 -4 41
B. Boyes 74 13 23 10 36
A. Ekblad 76 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 67 18 14 -6 32
A. Barkov 66 14 17 -3 31
B. Campbell 77 3 23 2 26
B. Pirri 44 21 2 6 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 18 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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