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Funny! That Gut Punch Didn't Feel So Bad

Probably because I'm a little too used to the Red Wings punching me there. I've become desensitized to it, I guess.

 

Or it could be because just like the Dallas Stars last year, the Chicago Blackhawks weren't expected to go this far this season. Like the Stars, they won their first two playoff series in six games each.

And then they got steamrolled by Detroit, but not without putting up a very game fight. After Sunday's massacre at the UC, I was expecting the worst when I saw the tweet come in that Nikolai Khabibulin would be out of Wednesday's game with the same lower body injury that kept him out of Sunday's game.

But last night, Huet was the only reason this game wasn't 4-0 or 5-0 after the first period. Unfortunately, Chris Osgood was just as good at the other end and the Hawks couldn't take advantage.

So scoreless this game remained after 40 minutes. Then Dan Cleary struck with a deflection past Huet 6:08 into the third period. I felt after that goal, it would be over.

Detroit would tack on another one, then another with an empty netter, and it would be Good Night Gracie.

Instead, Patrick Kane figuratively slapped me upside the head with a backhander that somehow snuck over Osgood and into the top left corner of the net to tie the score at 1-1.

And for the third time in five games, we went to OT.  Unlike the other two, Detroit never gave Chicago a chance to end this one early like the young Hawks had in their three OT wins this spring.

Detroit had all four shots on goal, including the game winner from Darren Helm. The pesky grinder had already put his mark on this contest with a brilliant display of individual penalty killing that consisted of about 25 seconds of sheer puck control.

Open note to Pierre McGuire, this was more impressive than the display of passing Detroit put on Sunday during a power play where Chicago was in a passive box. It's OK if you want to toss a little love their way. They deserve it.

What I, as a neutral observer, don't care to hear is the mind numbing droning about things that the Red Wings do that over 700 hockey players in the NHL know how to do already.

Back on track, we've got our first Stanley Cup Finals rematch since the Edmonton Oilers met the New York Islanders in 1984 after the NHL's last true dynasty beat the upstart Oilers in 1983. Pittsburgh's hoping they can follow that same script and beat not only the Red Wings, but their old teammate Marian Hossa.

You might remember what that guy did last summer. He spurned a lucractive long term offer from the Pens to sign with Detroit to win a Cup. I'd say that's a damnable tactic. But Bill Guerin is pretty much in the same boat after he signed a deal with the Islanders to get them above the salary floor, then was summarily traded at the deadline to Pittsburgh.

So to each their own. I'm just glad the rumors about a 10 day layoff proved not to be true. That having been said, back to back games this weekend? After these last two series each had layoffs of three days?