If he could right now, Scott Niedermayer would still be on the ice complaining about a goal that happened hours ago. While Detroit had one night to get over a goal that was blown down in error, Anaheim’s players will have an offseason to think of the chances that they had in this series. With their ability to dig deep, Detroit’s 4-3 win earns a bid to take on the only other Western Conference member of the Original Six in the Western finals.
The last time these teams played in this round was in 1995 when Detroit broke their long absence from the Cup finals with a 4-1 series win over the Blackhawks. The series clincher came from Slava Kozlov in the second overtime and kicked off a flurry of celebration in Motown. Most memorable from this celebration was Steve Yzerman celebrating wildly with the Clarence Campbell Bowl which now finds its way to never move from the presentation table.
Starting Sunday, Red Wings fans will begin to realize that the dream for the 2009 Stanley Cup is eight hard-fought victories away. Playing against a team that is considerably younger and faster, Detroit will have to dig deep once again and remember that they’ve been there before. Seemingly long gone are the early round playoff disappointments, replaced by annual optimism that Woodward will have another parade in late June.