One weakness I have noticed all seas, that came well into play tonight and all series (and yes I'm conceding. Yes 3-0 isn't impossible but of the three 3-0 series so far the Sharks have the best chance of anyone of coming back. The Rangers second. The Avs have the worst chance of doing the near impossible. Yet I digress). As I was saying the one fatal flaws the Avs have is fast forwards coming down along the boards. They always seem to beat the Avs, and the first Datsyuk goal was a case of Zetterburg beating his man (men) to the outside. The Avs had a lot of troublee with this, and a team as good as Detroit exposed them as good teams should.
The Avs had a few defensive breakdowns in game three and it cost them. Give Detroit a lot of credit, they know how to bury the puck. Franzen, Datsyuk and Zetterburg all knew how to bury any chance they got. For once it wasn't the Avs powerplay that let them down, but their penalty kill was awful this series. Their defense, which looked so good in the first series, looked slow in the first three games. Zetterburg and Datsyuk are two of the best (easily top 10) in the league and they made the Avs defenders look bad a couple times.
There's obviously excuses, refereeing (Dater's 100% right here. There were some bad calls against the Avs, but there were bad ones both ways. When Forsberg lit up Kronvall it should have been interference. There was a boarding call against the Avs late that should have been called. And of course the Forsberg take-down and there was a blatent trip on an Av in their own zone not called. Those are all just in the third period. The NHL needs to address the officiating in the offseason, lest they become the NB, digressing again), injuries, the flu, but The Avs lost 3 straight to a better team. Before the series I wondered how good the Avs really were. Well there's the answer, they awere appropriately seeded in the 6th spot. They are a good team with a couple fatal flaws.
The good news is that their young players looked terrific in this series. Hensik was flying around the rink tonight. Jones looked great. Liles, despite nearly being traded this season, was excellent again tonight. McCormick seems to be a solid 3rd line player. With another season of seasoning Cumisky will be ready for a season like this. The Avs core is a good one. This is a team on the rise, not the fall and should be good for the next few years. (I'm not sold on McLeod still. He makes too many mental mistakes trying to be "the pest).
But now, After three games, it's clear Detroit's the better team this season. The Avs had no answer for the Red Wings PP, they took stupid penalties all series and Detroit does what great teams do, they take advantage. You look 5 vs 5 tonight and the Avs more than held their own, they probably even played a little better, but Detroit took their opportunities to put the Avs away. Anyways some final notes on the game:
♦Sakic quietly had another great game. He has looked a little slow at times this season, but there's clearly gas in the tank
♦Forsberg clearly has gas in the tank, but the transmission is falling out, the brakes are bad, and the floor is rusting out.
♦Theo was below-average tonight. He only gave up 1 really bad goal (the Franzen goal in his 5-hole.) But He got beat shortside twice and the post bailed him out bigtime. The Fillpula shot had no business ever hitting the post. He did have some excellent saves though, but he was inconsistent all night. This series has cost him at least $2M/year in his next contract. That's why you sit if you're really sick kids.
♦The Salei-Skrastins trade looks like an absolute steal right now.
♦Why isn't the Guite line getting more shifts against Zetterburg and Datsyuk in this series?
♦Sauer is a good player, but he gets victimized the most by those speedy forwards. He had a truly awful series.
♦The Avs at least came out and put up a really good fight tonight. IT was their last stand (maybe) and they were up to the task. A couple unlucky bounces and a few miscues doomed them, but they played pretty well overall.
Draft Cupcakes: Michael Rasmussen
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