Around this time of the year in 1998, the Red Wings were gearing up for Game 4 of their first round matchup against Phoenix. They had just come off of back-to-back losses to the Coyotes, where Chris Osgood had performed below expectations. We all remember Jeremy Roenick blasting a clapper past Osgood from center ice.
Going into Game 4 down two-to-one in the series and on the road, Detroit had every reason to lose and eventually lose the series. Chris Osgood could have let the Coyotes rattle him again and it looked that way early after an early goal. After that, Osgood shut them down. The Red Wings roared back and took the game, winning 4-2.
The current Red Wings are in a similar situation today. Although they are not the favorites this year, the Red Wings have their backs against the wall going into Game 4 against Boston. The Bruins could beat Detroit tonight and finish off the Red Wings at home in Boston on Saturday. I don’t think the Red Wings’ locker room leadership will let that happen though.
Imagine the confidence tonight. Todd Bertuzzi is in the lineup and ready to go. Henrik Zetterberg may make his return tonight. There is no one in the locker room who thinks they are the underdogs tonight. Bertuzzi has played the game a long time and is dying for a Cup before he calls it quits. He will be on his horse tonight and hitting everything he can. Zetterberg, though probably not at 100%, will give it all he’s got. The team will see that and take note (see Zetterberg’s Impact on the Offense).
Can today’s Red Wings repeat history and follow in the footsteps of Chris Osgood and company? Can Jimmy Howard step up and shut down Boston on his own like he did in the first game of the series? Will Bertuzzi and Zetterberg have an impact the offense that has scored two goals in three games?
Game 2 of the 1998 first round matchup with Phoenix was the last time the Red Wings lost on April 24th. I’d like to wait before seeing another loss on today’s date.
Side Note: Congratulations to Pavel Datsyuk and his wife, Svetlana, on the birth of their baby girl. Also, best of luck to Niklas Kronwall and his girlfriend, who is currently in labor.
Tonight’s Projected Lines:
Zetterberg (hooray!) – Datsyuk – Abdelkader
Franzen – Helm – Nyquist
Tatar – Sheahan – Bertuzzi
Miller – Glendening – Legwand
Kronwall – Smith
Quincey – DeKeyser
Kindl – Lashoff