After watching Patrick Roy skate off the ice halfway through game seven of the Western Conference Finals, many fans thought the Stanley Cup was in the bag for the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings are two wins away from their third Stanley Cup in the past six years, but it has not been the cakewalk many media personnel and fans said they believed it would be against the Carolina Hurricanes, who are making their first Stanley Cup appearance.
After Detroit’s Saturday night 3-2 triple overtime victory to take a 2-1 lead in the series, the Red Wings’ faithful say they are expecting the Hall of Famers to reclaim the dominance that they said has been apparent in the first two games and have the series wrapped up by game five in Detroit Thursday.
“I think right off the bat the Red Wings went (into this series) and were like, ‘we’re awesome and we can win this without really throwing everything into it,'” Engineering junior Jakob Buikema said. “Carolina had nothing to lose in the beginning. Now, the series should be done. Two more games and win at home.”
And with game four looming tonight, many are getting ready for anything, including another marathon game to take them into tomorrow. Some are learning from game three and are now going to watch the game in an environment more suited to a six period game.
“(For game three), I watched the first three periods at my house and the next three at somebody else’s,” Buikema said.
“In between the second and third overtime periods, (it was tough to stay awake) because I had 12 beers in me and I was like ‘I want to get out.’ I’ve got a big screen television in my bedroom, so (tonight) I’ll watch the game there,” he added.
Though Detroit may have taken momentum in the series, Red Wings’ fans know not to reserve spots along Woodward Avenue for the parade just yet.
“I don’t necessarily think that it is over now, but I think that a win in three overtimes is a back breaker for Carolina, especially since the Wings tied it so late in regulation,” said Jeff Snyder, an Engineering junior.
The similarities to Red Wings’ failures in the past also have fans a bit edgy considering Hurricanes’ goalie Arturs Irbe led the No. 8 seed San Jose Sharks past the No. 1 seed Red Wings eight years ago.
“The San Jose series remains fresh in my mind because of the similarities in Detroit’s regular seasons,” Snyder said.
“I think that every series has been a must-win since everyone says the Wings are unbeatable – very similar to ’94 when Detroit won so many games.”