Technically, the next line in that song is "so I'll go", but in the Wings' case, they seem to have no problems with ruining another team's special night.
While the rivalry between the Red Wings and Avalanche has cooled in the last few years, last night was special because the Avs were honouring one of the key players of that time, Peter Forsberg. Like the Blackhawks' banner-raising last year, the schedule-makers decided that having this type of pre-game ceremony while the Wings were in the house was a good idea. Fortunately for Wings fans, the result was the same.
The Wings had finished their game against the Ottawa Senators less than 24 hours earlier, and it's always tough to travel nearly cross-country to take on a rested team. While the Wings were a little sluggish to start the game, they began to get their legs under them, and a second period laser of a shot by Johan Franzen was the only goal Ty Conklin would need. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk added third period goals to seal the win, spoiling Colorado's home opener.
Bang bang! Bullets after the jump.
- Do I smell a goaltending controversy? I'm not saying that Jimmy Howard allowed any bad goals on Friday night, but Ty Conklin was great in the Wings' net, particularly in the first period while the Wings were back at the baggage claim looking for their legs. I realize that the goaltending job is Jimmy's, but if last night's performance was indicative of how Conklin is going to play this season, he should get more starts.
- Look at that scoresheet: Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk. Mike Babcock openly criticized his top players after the Senators game, and these 3 players all responded with solid games, carrying the offensive load for the team. Zetterberg had a game-high 7 shots, while Franzen and Datsyuk had 3 each.
- Speaking of Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Babcock seemed to think that they needed to be together in the second half of the game, and they responded by scoring the final 2 goals of the game, including a nice slap shot by Z over a sprawling Semyon Varlamov (who was very good in this game). You never know with Babcock when it comes to his lines, but through 2 games it's pretty obvious he's going to have no problems going to combinations that he thinks are going to get the job done.
- I'll say this now so that it's on record, and I could be dead wrong in a few weeks, but Jiri Hudler is going to have a good year. Through 2 games, he's already done more on the ice than he did through the first half of the season last year, but more importantly he looks better out there. He's skating harder and making smart plays with the puck in the offensive zone. I really hoped that he would bank one in off Varlamov for a behind-the-net in 2 straight years, but it was not to be. I love seeing how well he's playing, because it means the Wings are going to get a nice return for him when they trade him at the deadline.
- I had the distinct pleasure of catching the game with Michael Petrella last night, and we both commented how excited we are for the future of the Wings, particularly with regards to the forwards. Cory Emmerton had his second consecutive solid game, even getting a little PK time. Jan Mursak suffered a bad break (pun intended), because he will be a contributor, and with players like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar on the farm just about ready to be NHL players, fans should be excited about the direction this team is taking.
- I'll give Peter Forsberg his due as a great player, especially during his Colorado days at the height of the Wings-Avs rivalry. As a hockey fan, it's a real shame that his body would not allow him to compete at the level he wanted to in the NHL, forcing him to call it a career too early. As a Wing fan, I'm glad that the Wings ruined his night.
2-0 is a nice start to the season, even if it was against 2 teams not expected to be very good. The Wings have done some good things so far, but as always there's still work to do, and the Wings will have plenty of time to practice since they don't play again until Thursday. They'll be taking on the defending Western Conference champion Canucks, a nice early-season test for our boys in red.