There's something about a game against a divisional rivalry that gets the blood pumping, eh? The St. Louis Blues came in to the Joe with a depleted lineup, and it proved to be no match against the high-flying Red Wings, who pumped home 5 goals en route to a 5-2 victory.
The Red Wings opened the scoring when Nicklas Lidstrom scored his first goal of the night and 2nd in the last 13 games. The Blues got that one back a minute later when Carlo Coliacovo put a backhand past Jimmy Howard. Niklas Kronwall picked up his seventh goal of the season as a Red Wing power play expired. Dan Cleary put the Wings up 3-1 on the power play, and the Wings outshot the Blues 20-7 in the second period. Lidstrom potted both his second and the Wings' 2nd power play goal of the night a couple of minutes into the third, and we were all thinking about the same fast food treat at that point. Brad Winchester scored a power play goal of his own 4 minutes later, but as the game ticked down, there was only one thing on our minds: curly fries. In an awesome twist of fate, the puck bounced over Cleary's stick as he was about to score an empty-netter, forcing him to pass it to the point. Lidstrom ripped a slap shot, and as soon as it found the back of the net, I thought I heard thousands of voices cry out "Curly Fries" as one.
This was a great game by the Wings as they dominated most of the game against the Blues, keeping St. Louis in dead last in the division. Follow me after the jump for the analysis.Something about a big win against a divisional opponent puts me in a great mood.
- Let's get to the most important thing: Red Wing fans all over the state of Michigan (and beyond, if they are so inclined), will be feasting on free curly fries tomorrow. Once again, tons of kudos to the boys over at TPL, as they spearheaded this mission to change the hat trick reward. Who would have thought that 4 days after the announcement was made, that we'd be benefiting? So we should all raise our paper fry holders in honour of the greatest defenseman who ever lived: Bobby.....uh, I mean Nicklas Lidstrom.
- In all seriousness, how good was the defense tonight? Lidstrom had 3 goals and an assist; Kronwall chipped in with his seventh goal of the season; Jonathan Ericsson was really throwing the body around and played another good game; and Ruslan Salei was also quite good, getting in lanes and playing the kind of positional defense we've come to expect from him. It's always nice to get a solid game like that from your blueline.
- Up front, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were all over the ice tonight. Z finished with 4 assists, and Datsyuk had at least 3 jaw-dropping moments. I think there should be a new stat called TP - "twisted panties". It's a safe bet that Pavel would lead that category as well. Truth be told, every forward on the Wings was good tonight, including whipping-boy Jiri Hudler. He's starting to get some good chances, and my gut tells me now that he's involved in the offense, pucks are going to start going in. The Wings' top players were their best ones, and it's the biggest reason why they won.
- However, when Hudler and Helm get on a 2-on-1 again, I want to call a Zach Morris "Time-Out" and insert 2 other forwards so that they would actually get a shot on goal. Just a thought.
- Were you like me when Lidstrom scored the first goal? Did several of your orifices all un-pucker at the same time? Yea, I thought so.
- The Blues sure are dirty. David Backes cross-checks Tomas Holmstrom away from the play, taking a dumb penalty that leads to the Wings' 3rd goal. Jay McClement slashes Darren Helm on the back of the leg, although there was no call on that. These are two of the supposed "leaders" on this team. It's no wonder the Blues have always been and will continue to be no better than mediocre. Oh, and McClement, remember when Datsyuk came back deep into his own zone to steal the puck off you when you weren't looking? That's what we call "Selke-worthy" defense. Maybe by the end of the year you'll be a + player and could actually garner some consideration for the award; you might even get more votes that Alex Ovechkin.
- Is there no greater sound in hockey than the "PING" of a goalpost after a shot by the opposition? Knowing that the hockey Gods were on your side for that one second is just a really great feeling.
- Good thing the Blues went out and got Jaroslav Halak: the Wings have now scored 11 goals on him in 2 games. And I say that as a guy who likes Halak and thinks he's the only player on the Blues worth anything.
- The Blues lost Erik Johnson to an injury in the first period (here's hoping he was driven around the building at some point in a golf cart). There are some Blues fans who can't believe the bad luck their team is facing, and some even mentioned that no team has ever had this many injuries at one time. If there are any Blues fans reading this who actually believe that, I refer you to Detroit Red Wings season, 2009-10. The Wings had 9 of their 18 regulars out of the lineup at one time. Half the team. The Blues are not even close to that yet.
- Player of the Game: Your captain, Nicklas Lidstrom.
This was a great bounce back game for the Wings after failing to score on Jonathan Quick. Divisional points are going to be at a premium, and the Wings took advantage of a short-handed Blues lineup. Next up is Little Brother, who is going through a bit of an injury stretch of their own. Keep this in mind: if the playoffs started today, the Hawks would not even have the chance to defend their title. It's ok: I'm laughing too. We'll be here, hoping to see Chris Osgood earn win number 400.
Enjoy your curly fries everybody!