Game 7 in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena between the Red Wings and the Ducks wasn't a title game, but it had the pulse and feel of a title fight. As in two heavyweights going toe-to-toe and taking turns dishing out their best. In the end, the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings advance by the slimmest of margins over the 2007 Stanley cup winning Ducks, winning 4-3
The Red Wings wanted to start well and they did. As head coach
Early in the second,
The game took on a helter-skelter feel the rest of the period. The Ducks struck for a goal when
In the third, the Ducks put their best effort forward, pressuring the Red Wings on the forecheck. They knotted the game when
So, despite failing on two separate 5-on-3 powerplays and falling behind 2-0 and 3-1, the Ducks had battled all the way back. In hindsight, they'll look back and bemoan the opportunities lost with the two-man advantages. They might even question
Those are the "what ifs?" The importance here is what was. The difference was the Red Wings' depth. They scored four times and they came from the lesser lights in the line-up like Helm and Cleary. The other element that won this for the Red Wings was their experience. When the Ducks made it 3-3, they didn't panic. They didn't press. They just played -- like a team with true belief in itself.
The outcome might seem unfair, because the Ducks played with as much fight and belief as a team can muster. But, there is no denying that after seven hard fought games, of which the Ducks won three times by a single goal, the outcome was just.
Just enough for the Red Wings to advance to the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.