The beauty thing about playing down to your competition is that when you win, it's ok.
The Wings, playing yet another opponent really far below them in the standings, never seemed to get on track and played a very sloppy game against the BJs. Thankfully, the BJs are terrible under normal circumstances, but with all of their injuries I'm pretty sure there are some AHL teams that could beat them most of the time. The Wings outlasted the BJs and earned 2 points with yet another 3-2 shootout win.
The Blue Jackets opened the scoring. Seconds after killing a penalty, a harmless looking shot was not handled cleanly by Jimmy Howard, and Ryan Russell pounced on the rebound and made it 1-0 Jackets. Niklas Kronwall got that one back when he entered the Columbus zone, made his way to the middle of the ice and got a wrist shot away that deflected off John Moore's stick and past Curtis Sanford.
The second period was more of the first. The Wings were able to get some chances early, but the compete level wasn't consistently there. With Tomas Holmstrom in the box for the second time, Nikita "La Femme" Nikitin's point shot deflected in off Pavel Datsyuk's skate and over Howard's glove, giving the Jackets their second lead of the game. The Wings did what we all thought was impossible when they scored a power play goal just minutes later. Nicklas Lidstrom's point shot bounced off the active back boards and off Sanford to get the Wings back to even.
I feel like I could just take the third period synopsis from the last 2 games against the Coyotes and the 1 against the Stars and just paste it here. The Wings got some chances, but they seemed very content to play a safe game and not give up another goal. So, for the 5th time in the last 7 games, we headed to overtime.
Outside of a few missed nets by Johan Franzen and a last second save by Howard, the overtime was the same as the third period. Neither team could find the back of the net, and for the third game in a row a shootout was necessary to decide the game.
In the shootout, no one could score. My man-crush Rick Nash couldn't get a shot away, Jiri Hudler did a stupid slapshot, and everyone else just got stopped. Valtteri Filppula ended things when he made a beautiful pass to the crossbar, who tipped the puck in for an easy goal and give the Wings their 16th straight victory at home.
- I was really surprised that Jimmy was starting in place of Ty Conklin tonight. Why not save Howard for the game against the Blues on Monday, especially since Conklin has played well as of late? In the midst of this grueling stretch of the season, it would appear that tonight would have been a good night to give Howard a night off.
- Maybe someone at the game can clue me in more, but why was the Joe playing so many songs on an organ? I realize the Blue Jackets' season is pretty much over, but January 21st is a little early to be playing funeral songs.
- The first period was a very sloppy one by the Wings. 5 SOG, none of them good, and very little offensive pressure at all. Worst of all, the Blue Jackets out-worked the Wings in every zone, even when the Wings were on the power play.
- Oi, the power play. Where to begin? They can't win a faceoff, they got out-manned on the boards, and got a grand total of 4 SOG on 4 power plays. Yea, they got a goal, but it was a fluke. The Wings have been winning games a lot lately (tonight was their 6th in a row), but there are some concerns that need to be fixed. The power play is the biggest priority.
- Tomas Holmstrom showed both his good and bad qualities tonight. His net-front presence was on full display when the Wings scored their PP goal, and he had 3 SOG in 10 minutes of ice time. But 2 bad penalties are the negative side to Homer. The Blue Jackets scored on one of them, which is simply unacceptable.
- I hope someone reminds the Wings that the first tiebreaker for playoff seeding is regulation and overtime wins. This whole "going to shootout thing" is nice because we get to see cool moves, but it's seriously messing with their ability to win the division.
- Well, I guess we'll have to talk about the Henrik Zetterberg hit. My personal opinion is that it was a very light shove to the back of a player in a vulnerable position, and it caused Nikitin to lose his edge and fall awkwardly in to the boards. I thought it was worth a 2 minute penalty, but 5 minutes was ridiculous and simply a response to the result, which was Nikitin being helped off the ice. There will be no suspension because there was no intent, but that won't stop the mouth-breathers out there from crying about conspiracies and Shanahan's pro-Red Wing bias.
- Ultimately, the Wings are winning games that maybe they shouldn't be. They have not played their best hockey in the last couple of weeks, but they are earning points in a hyper-competitive Central Division, and that's what counts. However, there are things to be improved on as the season goes on, but the Wings have played well and not gotten points, so I'm not going to complain.