In praise of Bobby Ryan

In praise of Bobby Ryan
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ducks vs. Red Wings, round 2 game 4

You'd think this one started well enough. Forty-two seconds in, Corey Perry puts his Ducks on the board with a smart wrister after a feed from Chris Pronger. My boy Bobby Ryan completely a good backcheck and the Wing forward coughed the puck up right onto Pronger's stick.

Right after, there's a Duck turnover (first of many, unfortunately) and Datsyuk is seen barrelling down on Jonas Hiller. Beautiful save by Hiller!

Bobby is playing aggressively this first period, flat out plastering Hossa behind the Ducks net. I'm hoping Bobby can pull out a goal tonight, it's been a while since the boy has had one. First penalty of the game goes to Chris Pronger, for holding Hossa right before Bobby steamrolls him. Penalty killed without a goal.

Before the end of the period, the Wings get one past Hiller. It's a standard piehole shot, no screen, no traffic in front of the net. Hiller should have been able to stop that one. Worse, it's Franzen who ties up the game for the Wings.

Personally, I hate Franzen... because he's so damn good.

Our boys continued to play well through the first period. But you can tell they're being worn down by an energized Wings team determined not to go down 3-1 in the series. In the last minute of the period, another goal gets by Hiller. It's a redirect by Franzen high in the slot. I'd like to say Hiller had no chance against it, but I've seen him make that save before. *sigh*

Have I mentioned how much I hate Franzen?

The second period starts with a bang, shot attempts by Pronger and Ryan Carter, but lots of pucks bouncing off of Hiller too. And then, hope to tie up the game with Detroit gets called for too many men on the ice. Unfortunately, less than a minute into the power play, Francois Beauchemin gets called for hooking. 4-on-4 play now.

Our Ducks are turning over way too many pucks in the neutral zone, and I'm getting a bad feeling already. The energy just isn't there. Passes aren't being completed, the forecheck is lacking. Too much reliance on Hiller without giving him the defense he needs. And our Ducks seem content enough to just dump and rush. Everyone is spending way too much time in the Anaheim zone.

Not a game I wanted to see, in the flesh, get handed to the Red Wings. But it looks like that's where this is going. If you so much as look as if you're handing a game over to the Wings, they will grab it and yank it from your hands.

Especially if you keep turning your power play opportunities into 4-on-4's. Which is what the Ducks did again, five seconds into their second pp. Perry for tripping.

To make this game even harder to swallow, is the fact that I'm surrounded by way too many red jerseys. I don't mind fans supporting their team, even if it is the Detroit Red Wings, but what I hate are visiting team fans being disrespectful to the home team while being seated at home ice. The Wing fan morons sitting behind me and my coworker were the pure definition of unsportmanship. First, they start chanting for the Red Wings, which is harmless but annoying enough in the numbers they had. Then, they start swearing and yelling obscenities about Duck players. A fight starts behind us in the stands and I'm thinking, "What the hell, you might move here from your miserable little city, but don't you dare trash talk our hometown heroes on their home ice!"

I never had much love for the Red Wings, but now I flat out hate them and their fans.

It's sweet revenge when Perry gets his second goal of the night. It's on a broken play by Ryan Getzlaf towards the net, but Perry scoops up the puck and sends it in behind Osgood. That shut up those damn Wing fans. The silence is shortlived however, as Hossa finally gets his first goal of the series. And it's off a bad turnover in the Anaheim zone. Hiller isn't looking as sharp either, probably worn down.

Again, before the end of the period, Hossa scores his second. It's all downhill from here. Ducks head into the second intermission trailing 2 to 4.

I won't go into the gory details of the third period, although there were a few highlights.

After Hiller gives up his fifth goal (and promptly ruins his stellar save percentage), J.S. Giguere takes his spot in front of the Anaheim goal for the first time in this season's playoffs. I'm thinking coach Carlyle, knowing this game is in the wash, wants Jiggy to get his feet wet and see some playoff ice time. He holds fast for the time he's on the ice. There was one more goal for the Wings in the third period, but it was an empty netter. Getzlaf also shrinks his minutes on the ice down to a measly three in the third period. It's revealed later on that Getzlaf was fighting off an illness.

Hopefully two day's rest will put Getzlaf back on his game for Sunday. I'm hoping too that James Wisniewski will have recovered enough from his lung contusion to play a bit on Sunday. Nobody wants to admit it, but I do think our Ducks suffer a bit by his absence on the blue line. Hell, I miss seeing Wis out there. The boy was one of our most valuable acquisitions out of the trade deadline.

Ducks manage to get one more goal on the board thanks to a power play after Bobby gets tripped so badly he flips over onto his head. This time, our Ducks don't go and dash their pp with a minor penalty. Perfect execution, from the win off the faceoff, the puck handled then by Getzlaf, to Perry who passes to Scott Niedermayer open on the left wing.

And then there's Frankie's big fight against Kopecky. Post-game interviews revealed that Kopecky asked Frankie to go. The guy must have a death wish, has he seen Beauchemin?? Sure enough, he ended up possibly fracturing something in his face, which was basically abused like a rubber punching bag by Frankie's fist, and is now out for Sunday's game. It was nice having that extra energy and momentum. Considering the game was already a loss and having Frankie off the ice for five minutes wasn't going to make that big of a difference in the final tally, I admire the attempt to give us home fans a little something to raise our chins to.

Okay boys, this one was bad, but we can and will do better on Sunday, right?


My Zimbio
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