I used to believe in moral victories. Then I realized that they don't count in the standings, so they're pretty much useless.
Coming into the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Red Wings had one major objective and a few smaller ones. First and foremost, they had to be better than they were Saturday night against the Blues. That really wasn't a difficult task considering how poorly they played, but the possibility existed that we could see a similar effort.
Beyond that, scoring a goal was pretty high on the priority list, followed closely by tightening up defensively. The Wings got their first 2 goals of the season, only to see the Blue Jackets roar back with 3 of their own to take the lead in the third period. A gorgeous goal from Pavel Datsyuk after a pass from Niklas Kronwall tied the game and we went to a shootout.
Stuff happened in the shootout. None of it mattered. All that we'll remember is this:
Seriously? The Wings have had Pavel Datsyuk for years and now they've got a kid that can do this? That's just unfair for the rest of the league.
In the grand scheme of things, tonight was not a pretty win for the Wings. Columbus is better than they've been the past few years, but they're still a long way from competing for a playoff spot, yet the Wings were on their heels for significant portions of this game. Still, 2 points are 2 points, regardless of opponent, and the Wings find themselves in the win column heading into tomorrow night's home opener.
To the bullets:
- I understand why Jordin Tootoo fought. I get that it's a part of the game, but these "staged" fights 3 seconds into the game seem pointless. You want to energize the team? Score a goal. The team was far more jacked up after Datsyuk's goal than the fight. However, Tootoo was a ball of energy again tonight, and I'm digging what he brings so far.
- The overall effort was much better tonight, but the timing is still off. Passes weren't connecting, zone entries were stopped easily, and simple dump-ins were not retrieved. I believe this is something that will come with time playing together, but they better get it going soon.
- Huge congrats to Brian Lashoff for scoring his first NHL goal in his first ever NHL game. If you had him in the pool for "first Red Wing goal of the season", I'm pretty sure you are now the richest person in America.
- You have to wonder about Lashoff and his potential future on this team. Midway through the second with the Wings facing a 4-on-3, Lashoff was the lone defenseman on the ice for the Wings, playing with Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Then later on a 4-on-4, he was out there with Kronwall manning the point. Overall, he played a little over 18 minutes (4:33 on the PK), scored a goal, had 3 blocked shots, and was generally good. With Carlo Colaiacovo being out for "a while" (per Mike Babcock), Lashoff may be the first rookie to grab a spot and earn it.
- Sometimes Johan Franzen will kind of float around the ice, shy away from contact, and look like he'd be almost anywhere else. Then he makes a pass like he dished to Ian White and you realize why he's such a valuable member of this team.
- For those keeping score at home, that's 6 power play goals against in 2 games. Darren Helm can't get back in the lineup soon enough.
- That the Wings got scoring from their defense should not be a surprise. The Wings had 44 goals from their blueline last year, 2nd among all NHL teams. For a team struggling to score early in this season, getting goals from anywhere is a bonus, especially when it comes from a guy like Lashoff who isn't expected to providing scoring.
- Who knew that the Datsyuk goal was mere foreplay for what Brunner was about to do?
- The top line was incredible tonight, especially Henrik Zetterberg. Datsyuk seemed to get his legs as the game went on, and Brunner had his chances throughout the entire game, but Zetterberg was great all night.