Make it happen. That’s the directive both our Anaheim Ducks and the surprising to me at least Detroit Red Wings will take into the final game of this back and forth playoff series.

The trend, win one, lose one favors our Ducks. Virtually everything favors our Ducks save three. Lack of finish or killer instinct, the Red Wings motion game and their best players have been the best players in this series. One look at the top scorers from each is all the evidence you need to know that the Red Wings best players are the best players in this series.

Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterburg with support and very timely scoring coming from Damien Brunner, Gustav Nyqyist and Dan Cleary. Ducks scoring leaders are Ryan Getlzaf, Kyle Palmieri and Nick Bonino with three each. Matt Beleskey and Emerson Etem have two goals apiece while Teemu Selanne scored the winner in game one.

Following the best players have to be the best players on the ice, the keys to the game for our Ducks are, (2) take away Wings hunger for the puck, in other words make them pay a physical price for touching the biscuit, (3) dominate the play at both blue lines. This will result in forcing the Wings to dump and chase the puck into our zone and keep them bottled up in their own zone, (4) Get sticks and bodies into the passing lanes when the Wings have the puck.

The one single aspect of this series that can’t be ignored is the role of the officials. Bruce Boudreau has admitted that our Ducks have been warned against cross-checking and roughing down low. I will note that referees caution both teams prior to every game about what they intend to call. So far Mike Babcock has indicated what the Refs have told him. Given how the calls have gone in this series, many Ducks fans are wondering if the Refs told Babs, “Don’t worry.” This isn’t too suggest the fix is in but I does accuse NHL officials of bias and one-sided penalty calls throughout this series.

Biased officiating has been institutionalized by the NHL. The league’s stated policy has been to open the game up and limit interference. Apparently and according to coach Boudreau you can no longer defend the low slot either.

I’m not alone in calling out the officials in this playoff. THN’s Ken Campbell to Bleacher Report and even former NHL referee Kerry Frazier have all been critical of numerous in particular as well the quality of officiating generally.

Win and our Ducks  face the L.A. Kings in series in the NHL’s second largest media market. This fact alone makes the notion that game is actually fixed just another weird conspiracy theory. I don’t and won’t go there without undeniable  evidence.

But officials incompetent to the extent that they actually determine the outcome of a playoff series? You bet they are and this series is part of the incontrovertible body of evidence.

Either way, and it’s a sad sate of affairs for the NHL to have to say this but I hope the players determine the outcome and not the officials.

  1. czhokej says:

    The Wings quite often provoke, and then we are called for retaliation, but the initial infraction is overlooked (penalty on Souray, in a previous game. Another thing is Detroit’s masterful embellishment. Winnick was given 5 min. and the same or worse foul on Allen was followed by 2 min. penalty only. However, I still see almost the same problem, which we criticized when Carlyle was coaching – no screening, few people around the crease.

  2. bbdux93 says:

    The only word that comes to mind following the game is Disappointment – actually two words Huge Disappointment.

  3. czhokej says:

    I am also disappointed, Not only with the final score and elimination, but also with our play. Predictable dump and chase, miserable passing, lack of speed, too many lost one-on-one battles, low% shots from the distance without screening, etc. Babcock did his homework, and his team performed well. For a while I was counting average number of completed passes for both teams: the Ducks 2, Detroit 5. We have praised Getzlaf quite a bit the whole season, but this time our top line did not show anything. Etem and Palmieri played well. BB did not come up with anything that would bother MB. Well, it’s sad, but I must say it’s better to lose to Detroit than to be embarrassed by the Kings.

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