They came into the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the League's hottest team at the end of the season.
The Detroit Red Wings
were team that nobody wanted to face despite their fifth-place finish in the Western Conference. They not only qualified for the playoffs for the 19th consecutive season, but the Wings laid waste to the League after the Olympic break. After getting key contributors like Johan Franzen
and Niklas Kronwall
back from lengthy injuries, the Wings looked like serious Cup contenders behind burgeoning rookie goalie Jimmy Howard
-- a Calder Trophy finalist.
Now, not so much.
Tuesday night's 4-3 overtime loss at Joe Louis Arena to the No. 1-seeded San Jose Sharks
-- in a game they led 3-1 heading into the third period -- put the Wings down 3-0 in the series. It also set Hockeytown on its collective ear. Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg
did his part with a goal and an assist while logging 30 shifts and 24:53 of ice time – and also had a first-period goal waived off because a replay determined that he kicked it. After the game, Zetterberg talked with reporters about that non-goal and how the Wings must respond.
What about your goal in the first period that was disallowed, what are your thoughts on that? Was it a kick in?
No. My skate did not leave the ice. So I did not have a kicking motion. It was a battle with their D, and I just tried to stop to be in position to play with the stick -- but he kind of pushed me and of course you're a little off-balance, so it's tough to be completely still with the skates, but I wasn't kicking it."
Going out for intermission after the third period, even though it's tied, did you still feel good about yourselves?
Yeah, we had a lot of confidence in the group going out. We felt we were playing good. Just had to keep going, playing with patience and keep throwing pucks at the other net.
Was it more them charging or you guys laying back in that third period?
It's always when you have a lead; automatically the other team kind of has to charge a little bit. I think without knowing it you back off a little bit and you just have to keep going and keep playing. We had some good chances today. Could have gotten that fourth (goal), but we didn't.
You guys have fought all kinds of adversity through the course of the 19 straight playoff appearances, this being the toughest one. How do rebound from here?
You've just gotta win one game. Win the fourth one and go back to San Jose and start a new game there. Have to refocus and win one game.
How down is the team right now, down 3-0?
It's not the situation we wanted to be in, but ... we're just going to keep playing and thinking good things. You know win one game, then win two games and we're right in the mix.
What happened on your penalty shot that Nabokov saved?
He made a good save. Looking at the replay, I wish I had put it a little more to the side but that's easy to say afterwards.
Did you guys say anything to Jimmy Howard
going into overtime to kind of help pick his spirits up?
Going into overtime we just wanted to win and play solid hockey. Everyone (has) to do their part and in overtime you're going to have chances against you and you're going to have chances for yourself. You've just got to make sure when you have them, put them away and play good defense.