Tonight, the Red Wings iced a mostly AHL-caliber squad against the power of
this fully operational battle station a full Maple Leafs roster. J.S. Giguere backstopped the Leafs in their final preseason game to a 4-2 win over a Wings squad that featured Justin Abdelkader on its top line.
Unfortunately, now whenever I'm talking to a Leafs fan (oh, they're all over the place in Kansas), I can't say that the Wings' AHL team could beat Toronto without hearing a resounding "nuh uh!" Still though, a 4-2 loss isn't that bad, all things considered. The Wings as a team did do a fairly good job controlling pace and limiting opportunities, they just made too many of the mistakes individually that would keep a guy in the minors.
Let's get to the bullets, folks.
- Jonathan Ericsson/Jakub Kindl's royal rumble for who plays more games got a bit tighter, as Ericsson was better than Kindl tonight. He actually used the slapshot that we've all been told he has (three times!) and got to use that as a setup for hockey's version of the play-action when he cocked back on a power play to take a slap shot, only to pass it to Tomas Tatar for a wide open goal. Still, I'd rather see Kindl for the majority of games. Elsewhere defensively, Doug Janik was...uhhh... Janiky, Brendan Smith played like the kid who needs seasoning and Ruslan Salei had another very solid outing, save for losing the puck on the blue line on a power play that led to a Kris Versteeg breakaway chance that Jimmy Howard stonewalled.
- Speaking of Howard (SEGUE!), he had a solid game, which I'm getting pretty tired of saying about our top two goaltenders after they've given up four. He didn't give up a bad goal and made one of the most interesting plays of the game when he dove like he was shot by a sniper in the first period, causing the aforementioned Versteeg to look down at him with equal parts confusion and anger (much like I imagine Versteeg handles looking at Rubik's Cubes)
- The Leafs took both a charging and a boarding penalty in this game, as well as an instigator. Brian Burke's gotten his truculent hands all over the makeup of this squad. Of all the plays, Colby Armstrong made the worst on a penalty that wasn't called. Willie Coetzee was coming across the ice when Armstrong nearly cold-cocked him with what some might describe as "a lateral, back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact." It's like the league should have a rule against doing that or something...
- Segueing again, because I'm a pro like that, Mursak overall had another impressive game. He kind of makes me less worried about the thought of losing Mattias Ritola on waivers, despite that he's much less seasoned.
- Justin Abdelkader turned the puck over at the blue line twice, but he fought Luke Schenn after delivering a big hip-check. He didn't have a good or bad night overall, I just haven't mentioned him in a while.
All in all, this night was at times played comically bad by an overmatched Red Wings squad, but they did do a pretty good job of keeping it close. I'd call it a boring game, but that's how you have to play when you're less skilled. Tomorrow, the Wings finish out their preseason schedule against the Pittsburgh Too-Many-Men who'll be playing without Brooks Orpik, who unfortunately has yet to be struck by lightning.