You know the old saying "the ends justifies the means"? I suppose that could apply here, because the Wings got the result they wanted, even if it was not in the manner they wanted.
The Red Wings opened up the 2011-12 season at home against the Senators. These are two teams with very little bad blood between them, and it showed early on as both teams spent the first period attempting to get their legs under them. The Wings took over in the second period, building up a very nice 4-0 lead, but the third period, much like Josh's dinner, left us all feeling pretty queasy.
Hard to know how to feel after this game. It's a win, but was it impressive? Follow the jump for bullets.
Ok, it's the first game of the season, so I'm still rusty writing recaps, so bear with me. Let me see.....yet, there's the "bullet' button. So I guess I just click on that and....
- Ahhh, there we go.
- So this Corey Emmerton gets the first star? I thought the kid was good, although in my opinion there wasn't one player that dominated the game for the Wings tonight. A goal and an assist in a game where he was a surprising participant is a good way to earn a regular spot in the rotation, but 20% in the faceoff circle needs to improve. Good showing for the man they call "Eyebrows".
- Jiri Hudler scored a goal. On purpose. In the other team's net. I'm scared too. In all seriousness, Hudler was moving tonight, getting to the front of the net and making a couple of nifty passes. I was disappointed that he didn't use a chokehold on anyone, but I guess he's waiting to put that UFC training to use.
- Speaking of players Josh believes will succeed this year, Jakub Kindl had himself a nice little game. His pass to Darren Helm set up the first Wings goal, he didn't make any mistakes in his own end, he was a +3, and he even threw a nice hit that earned the ire of Chris Neil. With Mike Commodore on the shelf for the first couple of weeks, Kindl can go a long way to keeping his name on the lineup card.
- You know what was a positive from tonight? 5 goals from 5 players. We talked a bit about how scoring depth was a problem for the Wings last year in the playoffs, but tonight you had every line except the 2nd score a goal, including 2 goals from the defense. That's a nice development in the first game of the season.
Hey, remember all those bad goals that were allowed by Jimmy Howard in the pre-season? Did you at any point express real concern about whether he was the guy to lead the Wings to the Stanley Cup Finals? Were you worried that his preseason performance was an indicator that he was washed up at the ripe old age of 27? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, I refer you to the tape of tonight's game, because Howard was really good tonight. It really bothers me that the 3 goals will count against him, because you had a fluke bounce off a skate plus 2 PP goals, one of which he never saw. 29 saves on 32 shots is good, but when you consider the 3 goals that were scored....well, when his numbers are not that improved at the end of the year, games like this will be the reason, but no one will want to hear that it was the team letting up and not his performance.
Speaking of letting up, can we knock this shit off with coasting after getting a lead? 4-0 and 5-1 leads against a team like Ottawa should not result in a 2-goal win. I don't care that it was the first game of the season, or that they gave up 2 power play goals. If this team is going to go the distance and win #12, it's going to require 60 minute efforts, not 20 minutes like tonight. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for the first period because it's the start of the season, but the third was terrible and it looked like the Wings simply stopped caring. I'm saying right now that I'm not putting up with that shit, so don't make this a habit.
While this was a nice performance by the Wings tonight, this was a game that they should have won, and should have won easily. There's a reason why the Senators are picked by many to finish at the bottom of the East (and possibly the NHL), and the Wings should have out-classed them at every opportunity this evening. Giving up those late goals is absolutely unacceptable, regardless of the opponent. It's a win and 2 points, but this kind of play isn't going to get the Wings very far.
There's no rest for the wicked as the Wings travel to Denver to take on the Avalanche, another team that is not projected to be very good this year. Get your crocs ready because it's Peter Forsberg's night to have his sweater retired. The Wings ruined the Blackhawks Stanley Cup banner-raising last season; can they do it again? Game time is 9 pm ET tomorrow night. Go Wings!