The Red Wings have struggled at home of late and without Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, the offense has taken a bit of a hit. They welcomed the Toronto Maple Leafs into Joe Louis Arena tonight and tried to end a three-game losing streak against a hot Maple Leafs team.
On the power play in the first period, Henrik Zetterberg backhanded a puck past Toronto rookie netminder James Reimer at 5:05. Lidstrom passed the puck down low to Zetterberg and he put a shot on net that Reimer blocked. Zetterberg followed the rebound up with a shot and gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.
The Leafs got a goal late in the first period as Nazim Kadri sniped a screened Jimmy Howard to the near post.
Kadri's goal tied the game for the Leafs, follow the jump for the rest of the game, the analysis, and video.
Reimer got his first taste of Tomas Holmstrom's net front presence in the second period. The Wings were on a power play after Mike Modano got hooked by Joffrey Lupul. Niklas Kronwall put a shot on net from the blueline and Holmstrom deflected it past Reimer for his 15th of the season, giving Detroit a 2-1 lead at 9:17 of the second period.
Jimmy Howard left the game in the third period after surrendering the tying goal and being injured on the play. Kris Draper put the puck behind Howard's net and it turned into a turnover right on the tape of Dion Phaneuf. Phaneuf centered it to Phil Kessel and Kessel fired on net with Joffrey Lupul going to the net from Howard's left. Howard gave a rebound to Lupul and he put it in the net while on his rear end after Draper hit him to the ice. The overhead view indicated Lupul made contact with Howard prior to Draper hitting Lupul, yet no interference call was made.
Just 38 seconds later Jiri Hudler put the Red Wings back in the lead with a slapshot from the top of the face-off dot that beat Reimer to the gloveside. Reimer completely whiffed on the save attempt and Hudler picked up his 10th goal of the season.
The Red Wings out-shot the Maple Leafs 29-24 in the game, including a 15-9 margin in the first period.
:: ANALYSIS ::
- Obviously, the biggest thing about this game is the health of the birthday boy, Jimmy Howard. Howard went down after Lupul landed on him and left in obvious pain. As of now, there's not much news on his injury status and don't expect any until Sunday. For now, let's just hope it's a bruise.
- Detroit's special teams finished perfect on the night: 2 for 2 on the power play and 4 for 4 on the penalty kill. I like that statistic.
- Henrik Zetterberg was playing really well tonight. He had 3 very strong shifts to start the game and was playing well in the offensive zone with good possession. His goal came about from good awareness on the power play and following up on a rebound. He continued to play strong throughout
- Wings played really well in the first period with the exception of the brief moment on the power play, which cost them. They controlled the tempo and possession throughout about 90% of the first period, but the Leafs were efficient in capitalizing on Detroit errors.
- The crowd was awesome tonight. You could distinctly hear the chants for both teams throughout the game.
- Jonathan Ericsson had 23:20 of ice-time tonight, second only to Niklas Kronwall at 25:10. Who saw that coming?
- 3-on-1 for the Leafs you say? Nick Lidstrom's back on defense you say? Oh, okay. No worries then.
- Good for Justin Abdelkader coming in to fight Darryl Boyce after a close-to-late hit on Rafalski. Abby didn't decisively win or lose the fight but it's good to know he was willing to step up and voice (with his fists) his displeasure.
- Abdelkader had a bit of a rough night on the odd-man rushes but at least he was getting them. In fact, the Wings had quite a few tonight but couldn't quite make them count unfortunately. I think I counted three chances that Abby was involved in.
- Weird. A 22 minute, 1 second third period (essentially) thanks to broken glass. It was really weird to see a period like that.
- Good job by Joey MacDonald coming in off the bench for the injured Howard. He was sharp in the 13:49 minutes of ice time he saw.