Datsyuk's return should give Red Wings a boost -- and they need one
Look for Datsyuk to play over 20 minutes and for the Wings to get a lift from his presence. I'm not saying it will be enough, but the Red Wings need a boost. They looked tired and a tad tense in Game 4 and that might be the surprise of the series thus far.
• Which brings me back to a point of view that
That sage insight will be tested Saturday. Game 5 comes down to the Red Wings' reserve of recollections -- the experience of getting it done -- versus the Penguins' pent-up motivation of coming close last year and their extra energy stores that come with being younger in a series in which the teams face-off for the fifth time in eight days.
• Having said all that, typically these games are a little tighter -- as in tight checking -- than the lead-up games. Not because of nerves, rather due to common sense. Neither team wants to be the first to blink -- to make a mistake and give the other an advantage -- as in yielding the first goal of the game. Once there is a goal on the board, though, that's when these games can take on a life of their own. That's what happened last year when the Penguins forced a Game 6 with a triple-overtime triumph.
This time, neither team is facing elimination. The Penguins have tied the series, with an opportunity to bring it all back home with a chance to win the Stanley Cup on home ice. The Red Wings can put themselves in exactly the same situation as they were after five games a year ago. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves. As fans, as media, it's allowable.
The players, however, can't afford to. Their focus is the Game 5 competition only. Should be epic.