In any prolonged streak of success, one must get a little luck. A bounce here, fortuitous circumstance there. In any sport, including hockey, one can't sustain a level of dominance for a very long time without winning a game or two by the skin of one's teeth.
That's exactly what the Wings did tonight. Against a very desperate Ducks team trying to climb back into the Western Conference race, the Wings were able to earn a very hard-fought 2 points by playing a grinding game and getting the game to a place where raw skill is key.
In a way, tonight was a lot like a playoff game where the Wings had a lead in the series and their opponent was trying to stave off elimination. After trading goals in the first (George Parros? Really?), the Ducks and Wings gave no quarter to the other through the next 2 periods (nor any nickel or penny). Neither team could capitalize on numerous power plays, pucks hit posts, great saves were made, and we headed to overtime.
The overtime period was more of the same. Both teams traded breakaways that were not converted, and the Wings were unable to take advantage of a short 2-man advantage late in the extra frame, and for the 8th time this season the Wings were involved in a shootout.
Pavel Datsyuk and Teemu Selanne both potted classy goals, Jiri Hudler and Corey Perry both had creepy porn-stache misses, and Todd Bertuzzi's super slo-mo goal turned out to be the game-winner as Bobby Ryan couldn't beat Joey MacDonald.
Of the last 19 home wins, this wasn't the prettiest, nor was it the easiest. But like the last 19 games at home, it ended with the Wings getting 2 points. Bullets after the jump.
- Congratulations once again to Tomas Holmstrom, playing in his 1000th NHL, every single one of them with the Red Wings. As the 257th overall pick in the 1994 draft, Homer becomes the latest drafted player to ever play 1,000 games (according to Ken Daniels), and he becomes the 6th player in Wings' history to play 1,000 games in the Winged Wheel. One can only speculate on how many goalies Homer has angered with his play over the years, or how many goals have been called incorrectly called off due to his reputation. As they pointed out on the broadcast, Homer was drafted in the 9th round of the draft; they don't even have 9 rounds anymore.
- I will never not laugh at the fantastic irony in a guy named Cam Fowler playing for the Ducks.
- At what point do we start to worry about Pavel Datsyuk's drought? 1 goal in 14 games after coming up empty yet again tonight (not counting his SO goal). I'm inclined to believe he's just a little snake-bitten at this time and is dealing with an injury that is affecting him more than the team is letting on.
- Playing the Ducks seems to bring up the inevitable Teemu Selanne rumours, but I can't see how there's any chance in this or any other dimension that he leaves Anaheim, especially with the Ducks back in the race for the final playoff spot. It would be cool to see Selanne (the only Duck I've ever liked) in a Wing uniform, but there's no way it happens.
- Speaking of Selanne, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that he doesn't complain about the penalty calls tonight.
- I have watched the George Parros goal a number of times, and the only conclusion I came to is that the call on the ice was going to stand, regardless of whether it was called a goal or not.
- The power play continues to be a concern. There was a lot of movement and Detroit definitely got some good chances. But it used to be that getting a power play late in the third period was an automatic goal. Lately, there's a lot of puck movement, but it's time to just simplify and get pucks to the net.
- For the first time in his career, Holmstrom caused a goal to be called back due to goaltender interference and Wing fans were happy. It was also the absolute correct call because Parros dumped Homer on MacDonald.
- I'm not one to question Ken Holland, but after the way Joey MacDonald held the fort last year with Jimmy Howard injured, I would have thought that Joey Mac deserved a shot at the back up position this year. Instead, Kenny went out and got Ty Conklin, who was very good in his stint with the Wings in 2008-09. We all thought it was a good idea at the time, but apparently took his job as a shit unclogger seriously by allowing goal after goal to flow freely behind him. But once again, Joey Mac comes to the rescue, and tonight's Player of the Game was absolutely outstanding, keeping the Wings in the game during a third period in which they were on the receiving end of everything the Ducks had. I have much more confidence watching Joey in net than I never did with Ty.