When you're facing the best goaltender in the modern history of the National Hockey League, facing him in a shootout is a daunting task.
Having come back from down two goals, the Red Wings were seemingly charged up entering overtime against the New Jersey Devils. Unable to settle it in the extra five minutes, they had to go to the shootout where they could only get one shot out of four into the net. Patrick Elias managed to beat Chris Osgood in the fourth round to give New Jersey the 4-3 victory.
In the first, Zach Parise went to the right of Osgood, bringing three Red Wings with him. Meanwhile, Jamie Langenbrunner came in stealthily to Osgood's left, and Parise set him up beautifully. With a wide-open net, he did not miss to hit his seventh of the season.
Just under two minutes later, Johnny Oduya led a three-on-two for the Devils. Holding onto it, he put it between Osgood's legs to make it 2-0. It was Oduya's first goal of the year in his first game back since being injured on October 28.
That first period looked suspiciously like Detroit's Thursday night egg against Edmonton: slow playing, lethargic, and generally without a lot of energy.
The Red Wings struck back in the second period. Darren Helm skated in along the near-side boards. Using Mark Frasier as a screen, he put the puck towards the net, where Kris Draper knocked in his fifth goal of the season to make it 2-1.
Five minutes later, New Jersey set up another three-on-two. This time, James Pandolfo brought the puck up the right side, passed it across to Vladimir Zharkov, who shot it towards a scrum in front of Osgood. Rob Neidermayer happened to be in the right place at the right time and got it in to reset the two-goal lead.
With 30 seconds left in the second and Elias in the penalty box, Brad Stuart passed to Tomas Holmstrom, who was camped out in his usual place in front of the opposition goaltender. Holmstrom got it past Brodeur to make it back to 3-2.
In the third period, Justin Abdelkader had the puck while being draped by Bryce Salvador. Dumping it towards the net, Patrick Eaves just tipped it, causing it to go past Brodeur to tie the game at three.
In the shootout, Pavel Datsuyk and Zach Parise scored in the first round. Henrik Zetterberg, Jamie Langenbrunner, Todd Bertuzzi, and Travis Zajac all missed to go into bonus shootout. In the fourth round, Mike Babcock sent out Ville Leino, whose shot was saved nicely by Brodeur. Patrick Elias went backhanded, froze Osgood, held the puck for one more beat, then put it underneath Osgood's outstretched left arm.
Player of the game: Patrick Eaves. Here's the question no one seemed to ask Mike Babcock after the game: why did he send Ville Leino (1 shot, 2 giveaways, -2) out for the fourth round of the shootout and not Patrick Eaves (1 goal, 1 assist)?