In between the hyperbolic extremes, the Wings are finding rejuvenation and balance, and a whole lot of energy. They come churning into Joe Louis Arena tonight brimming with possibilities that keep growing, and you can bet the crowd will be amped.
Zetterberg is traversing one of the toughest seasons a captain of the Red Wings has faced, arguably in decades.
With four goals in the playoffs, and goals in both games in this series against Chicago, Brunner has been a key figure for the Red Wings offensively. The line of Brunner, Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist has been a revelation.
Keep an eye on the goaltending matchup between Jimmy Howard and Chicago's Corey Crawford. Howard was sharp in Game 2, and though certainly not peppered with shots (only 20), he made a key stop when needed.
They found their legs. And then they used them. Again and again, shift after shift, the Red Wings did, pulling together until they'd pulled even, skating away with Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
What some writers are saying about the Red Wings-Blackhawks series after two games.
Saturday's Game 5 of the Red Wings-Blackhawks Western Conference semifinal series will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern time. The game is in Chicago and will be televised by NBC.
Staffan Kronwall, 29, captained Team Sweden, which became the first team to win the world title on home ice since the Soviet Union in'86. Vancouver's Henrik Sedin had two goals and an assist in the gold-medal game win over Switzerland.
Ottawa —Colin Greening wore six stitches on his left cheek, and a wide smile, after Ottawa's double overtime playoff victory against Pittsburgh.
The Red Wings had 30 shots on net and limited Chicago to 20 on Saturday. That was a reversal from Game 1 (42-21 Chicago edge), as was the fact the Red Wings were the stronger team as the game progressed.
Singled out by most analysts and fans for a subpar Game 1, Smith scored the eventual winning goal Saturday in the 4-1 victory over the Blackhawks that evened the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.
Game 2 made it clear the Blackhawks do not walk on water. It also proved the Red Wings still can skate like mad on it, frozen. It is far easier for coaches and players, who are doing the doing in the playoffs, to remain calm and optimistic.
For a team that had the league's best regular-season record and that's been equally dominant in the playoffs, Saturday's 4-1 loss wasn't appealing. The Blackhawks clearly were the second-best team on the ice.
Henrik Zetterberg assisted on two goals, including the winner when he raced past the Blackhawks defense and fed Brendan Smith late in the second period. Zetterberg shared the team lead in shots with four and was solid defensively, as well.
Logan Couture scored a power-play goal 1:29 into overtime to help the San Jose Sharks bounce back from two losses in Los Angeles. Game 4 is Tuesday night in San Jose.
Working in wide-open swaths of ice left by Ottawa's tentative defense, the Pittsburgh superstar needed just over one period to complete his second playoff hat trick and lift the Penguins to a 4-3 victory Friday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Oh, the Red Wings are outmanned, and it was evident in Wednesday night's 4-1 loss. But after practicing at Joe Louis Arena on Friday before hopping on the plane back to Chicago, the Red Wings better understood the task, and felt better equipped to handle it.
Recent history suggests they can't. The salary cap is designed so they won't. But that won't stop the Blackhawks from trying to become the kind of team that dominates the NHL in a way the Red Wings and Devils did for long stretches of the last two decades.
So far in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, third periods are not the Red Wings' best phase. The Blackhawks and Ducks have outscored them, 15-5. But how much does it matter, and is there a specific cause?
Help is on the way. Maybe. Red Wings forward Drew Miller (broken bone, hand) could be in the lineup for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday against the Blackhawks in Chicago.
Nobody on the Red Wings played particularly well in Game 1 of their playoff series against the Blackhawks, but few seemed to take the abuse on social media and network airwaves like Smith.
Somebody better kick the Mule again. And they'd better do it while the Red Wings are still alive and kicking because they're probably not going to be for long if they don't get something more out of Johan Franzen in the Western Conference semifinals against the Blackhawks.
Just a few years before, the Blackhawks won a Stanley Cup. A few years before that, the Red Wings had won several of them. The Hawks were an offensive juggernaut with a strong, mobile defense corps and fine goaltending.
It was something rare, but the schedule for the Western Conference semifinals between the Red Wings and Blackhawks is strange. Game 1 was Wednesday, with Game 2 on Saturday.
It's a hockey cliché, but when one team dominates another, it's often referred to as tilting the ice. In Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday, it was the Blackhawks tilting the ice in their favor in a 4-1 victory over the Red Wings.
Boston's leading goal-scorer during the regular season scored his first of the postseason with 4:20 left in the first overtime and the Bruins beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Thursday night in the first playoff game in 40 years between the Original Six teams.
This one was hardly Howard's fault. For nearly 50 minutes, he was about the only reason the Wings still had a chance to steal an early series lead, or at least force overtime.
Missing utterly from the Red Wings' execution was the forecheck, forwards supporting defense, defense moving the puck well and taking care of it and easy breakouts from their own zone and through center ice.
There was absolutely no drop-off in Chicago's 4-1 victory at the United Center as it killed off another three penalties to remain perfect for the postseason and allowed just four Detroit shots.
Patrick Sharp scoring six goals in 28 regular-season games was a bit of concern for the Blackhawks. Sharp was hampered early in the season by a shoulder injury, but now, six games into the postseason, he appears no worse for wear.