When a team is struggling, any positives that you can get out of a game should be welcome.
So with that being said, I'm going to look at tonight's loss in a glass-half-full kind of way, only because 24/7 is about to start and I'm very excited and have been drinking.
I think it's safe to say that a win was not fully expected with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins coming to town. Both teams were dealing with a ton of injuries, but the star power the Pens can put out there continues to make them a dangerous team.
Overall the Wings didn't play poorly, but they weren't good enough to beat the Penguins. In the beginning, it looked promising as the Wings spent the early part of the first period in the Pens' zone. They were able to open the scoring when Niklas Kronwall did a version of the Lidstrom special, deflecting a puck off Crosby and bouncing it off the ice past Jeff Zatkoff.
Unfortunately, the Wings started taking penalties, and before you could say "too many men", the Pens were up 2-1 after goals by Crosby and Malkin, both on the power play. The Wings were given a great opportunity to get back in the game when Deryk Engelland received a match penalty for a head shot on Justin Abdelkader, but despite 8 shots and a few good looks, they couldn't score. A late goal in the second and another in the third salted the game away for the Penguins.
- Midway through first there was a surprise reunion of a Marine and his family/girlfriend and he proposed and that was easily the best moment of the game. I will never ever get tired of seeing these types of things because it's just amazing to watch the genuine happiness of everyone involved. Seriously, if you're not moved by that kind of thing, then make sure you have a pulse.
- So here's the hit by Engelland (s/t Pensblog):
Deryk Engelland will have an in-person hearing on Wednesday for an illegal check to the head of Justin Abdelkader.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 15, 2013
- Once again, a big story for the Wings was special teams. The Pens were 2/3 on the power play while the Wings were 0-4, including the 5 min major to Engelland. The Wings have only scored 1 PPG in the last 15 games while giving up 42 in the same span, so things need to turn around or else this could get ugly.
- In the tit-for-tat category, Gustav Nyquist got tied up with Malkin, resulting in Malkin temporarily leaving the game, only to come back and then get injured again when he ran into the end boards. Thank goodness the Hockey Gods don't believe in even-up calls when it comes to players forced to leave the game, because that's one area the Wings won tonight.
- I'm not saying he had a bad game, but that's more of the Jonas Gustavsson I'm used to seeing. I wouldn't say any of the goals were particularly soft, but the swimming in the crease and turning every save into a heart attack-inducing adventure are what I've been waiting for this year.
- I know the score isn't flattering, but I don't believe the Red Wings were vastly out-played by the Penguins tonight. 5-on-5, the Wings had a Corsi of 60.7%, with Tomas Tatar leading the way at nearly 85%. Tonight wasn't about not getting shots, it was about not getting traffic in front of Zatkoff and capitalizing on opportunities.
- I'll admit it: I'm over the Crosby hate. He's a hell of a hockey player and I just don't have the negative feelings towards him that other Wing fans do. If that's your bag, fantastic, but I'm going to just enjoy watching one of the great players play the game I love so much and get happy when he fails against my team.
- Hey, at least it didn't go to a shootout, right?
- Welcome to the NHL, Tomas Jurco:
#redwings calling up forward Tomáš Jurčo— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) December 15, 2013