Game Three of this series had a little bit of everything that makes playoff hockey the most hard-fought and compelling sports action there is. It also demonstrated how arbitrary the fate of competition can be.
What makes this series so good to begin with is that these teams have equal parts respect and loathing for one another. They have history and they know that survival is all about winning that one-on-one confrontation with the guy lined up against you each and every shift. It is as pure and basic as the game gets.
Both of these teams were ready for the rough going from the outset. Shots on goal barely beat the body check tally, giving an indication of just how hotly contested this game was. The Ducks set the tone, but the Red Wings would not relent. Only the superb goaltending of
Meanwhile, capricious breaks came into play.
But on the same play, though, iconic warrior
Such is the ebb and flow of playoff hockey. Stuff happens. You can't let the bad vibes linger. Even when the Ducks made it 2-0 midway through the game, the Red Wings weren't fazed. They redoubled their effort and carried the play the rest of the game.
Sure enough, the riled Red Wings outshot the Ducks 35-9 in the second and third periods after Anaheim held a 14-11 advantage in a rambunctious opening frame.
Unfortunately, this game's legacy will forever be about injury and a referee's premature whistle. Near the end of the second period, Ducks defenseman
That the Red Wings had seemingly tied the game and left everyone in the building expecting overtime only made the reality sting a little more. Referee
As good as the game was, everyone deserved better, including Watson.