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Bits: Okposo, Tavares back in action for Worlds; Wings playoff oopsies

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DETROIT - MAY 4:  Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton celebrate lifting a mythological monkey off their backs.
DETROIT - MAY 4: Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton celebrate lifting a mythological monkey off their backs.

A little this and that on a playoff mornin':

  • In a pre-tournament IIHF World Championship warmup, Kyle Okposo scored twice in the USA 3-1 win over France. (Thanks to BenHasna for the link.) John Tavares had an assist and a hooking penalty in Canada's 4-1 win over Germany.
  • Mentor to future Islanders blueliners Mark Wotton has signed on for another year captaining the Sound Tigers. Advantage: Travis Hamonic. (h/t Soundin' Off)  [Also via Soundin' Off: Bobby Hughes legal update. 40-year-old.]
  • If you didn't see the FanShot yesterday, here's the Ottawa Citizen article with Calvin De Haan quotes about his entry level deal.
  • With NHL ratings up and the league doing a little PR push to credit its multimedia strategy, you're going to see more articles like this one at Fanhouse. Say what you will about Bettman, but the league has some smart cats executing their multichannel media strategy. I want more, more, but I admit they have come miles, miles -- particularly on the Web.
  • Anyone else notice how the narrator in the Versus commercial says, "In the Stanley Cup semifinal, eight teams enter ... only four teams come out alive." Math foul.
  • And you didn't see this unless you had access to the Detroit feed (Versus used San Jose's), but the superimposed TV ads on the glass behind each net in the Motor City are for an automaker ... BMW. Wie schade!

Playoff notes and video of two critical Red Wing mistakes after the jump...

Playoffs Last Night

Penguins 2 (EN), Canadiens 0: Marc-Andre Fleury made some huge bimely saves for the shutout in a Jacques Martin-style close one. I'd been waiting for that version of Fleury. [PensBurgh sings the Pens' defensive effort | Eyes on the Prize credits Crosby | FanHouse praises Fleury | nhl]

Sharks 4, Red Wings 3 (OT): Devastating for Detroit -- the 3-1 lead was blown late, thanks to a bad-angle goal on Jimmy Howard [video below], a possibility former Red Wings video coach (and current Sharks assistant) Jay Woodcroft tipped them to. On the OT winner, Brian Rafalski really misplayed the 2-on-1: His stick was up in the air, directing his backchecker, leaving him less prepared to stop Joe Thornton's cross-slot pass -- which, considering the ID of the passer, is one that requires all neurons on deck to intercept.

Nothing beats Game 7 OT, but Game 3 OT with one team up 2-0 in a series is nearly as riveting, since the possible outcome is so vastly different. You go from alive and well to dead man walking -- with a loss, you don't even get a handshake yet. The Wings, of course, are now toast.  [ nhl | Fear the Fin will be gloating when they get done drinking | Winging It says the Wings dug their own graves | Wings not dead yet (hears Monty Python) | Begun, the rewriting of the Thornton/Marleau playoff rep has]

 

Logan Couture's goal on Jimmy Howard


To tie a must-win game late in the third period? That hurts.

Marleau's Game-Winner from Thornton


Notice Rafalski's stick during the pivotal moment. That's a nicht-nicht.