While the result of the series was never really in doubt on Thursday night, the final result of Game 4 took until the final minute of regulation. With under 50 seconds left, Johan Franzen found the back of the net to move Hockeytown one round closer to the final goal. Unlike the last time they defended Lord Stanley’s Cup in 2003, they were not on the losing end of the sweep by a no. 7 seed (Ducks, 2003).
This series proved what a major gap there is right now between the Wings and most of these young teams in their division. While the Blackhawks may be the lone outlier in this group, the Blues, Blue Jackets and Predators are all far behind in the discipline department. When the Wings have lost in previous early round matchups (see ’03 Ducks, ’04 Flames, ’06 Oilers) they have faced teams with a healthy mix of veterans and leaders. You could argue that some of the youthful players on last year’s Penguins team proved to be more of a detriment in the crunch.
On a totally separate thought, what is with Mike Ilitch’s teams getting beer bottles thrown in their direction? I understand that Detroit’s octopus throwing craze is contagious, but this has been out of hand lately. First newby Tiger Josh Anderson looks up into a Rogers Centre night to see garbage in his direction, and then a Columbus crowd plays the game of ‘who can get their trash closer to centre ice.’ I think we should all be thankful that some of the more popular brewers produce their product in plastic bottles!