Just when the game came back from the 10-minute commercial break in the first period, a faceoff win by David Legwand set up a Danny DeKeyser blast that deflected past Sergei Bobrovsky for a 1-0 Red Wings lead. They started the game with so much jump and energy, and the first period saw the Red Wings pepper Sergei Bobrovsky with 18 shots on goal. They had multiple chances, and while, in typical Red Wings fashion, they scored only one goal on all those chances they had, the situation looked promising, especially after Sunday when the team was running on fumes which were fueled by fumes.
Petr Mrazek found out just before puck drop that he was starting, as Jimmy Howard had the flu and was relegated to backup duty for tonight. Since getting a 5-0 shutout win against Edmonton, the Red Wings have scored 1 goal in front of Petr Mrazek in nearly 330 minutes of ice time before tonight. Getting an early goal certainly had to raise our hopes that maybe someone besides Jonas Gustavsson would get some run support.
The game wore on, and the Blue Jackets tied the game. A Nathan Horton point shot found its way to Mrazek, and Jonathan Ericsson couldn't tie up Nick Foligno in front as Foligno swept the puck in to tie the game. A second period went about as evenly as the score as the teams went back and forth and traded chances and zone time. At one point, Mrazek was getting sick of the Blue Jackets invading his crease, so he gave Boone Jenner a good shove for his trouble.
If tonight were the night you learned the phrase "roof cave in," the Red Wings' third period would serve as a pretty good example. Cory Emmerton replaced an injured Joakim Andersson in the lineup tonight, and he cemented his spot on the depth chart by losing the puck behind the net to Jenner. Jenner proceeded to go top shelf on Mrazek from the right faceoff circle for a lead the Blue Jackets wouldn't relinquish.
The fun wouldn't end there. Ericsson put his hand into Matt Calvert driving into the zone and toward the Red Wings' net. Calvert got the puck to the front where Brandon Dubinsky gave the Blue Jackets some insurance. The roof finally caved in on the Red Wings when the Blue Jackets won another battle behind the Red Wings' net. Mark Letestu had the puck along the goal line and found Derek MacKenzie unmolested in front of Mrazek. The final horn mercifully sounded.
What really is there to say? We already know about the players out of the lineup and what they mean to this team. We know that Petr Mrazek is still a rookie and can't be expected to steal points for the Red Wings, even though the current roster situation probably necessitates our goaltending be at that standard. Commenter scottlacy said in the gamethread at the end of the game, "There's a point where you can't outrun your injuries. We may be arriving there." We're likely already there. The inevitability of injuries means we need depth, but no team in the league has the kind of depth that can account for the Red Wings' current injury situation.
Don't forget the cherry on top: Tomas Jurco left the game with an upper-body injury, finished the second period, and then left the game for good. Brian Lashoff skated gingerly to the bench after blocking a shot, and who knows what news we'll hear about tomorrow, even though he finished the game.
There's one thing I do want to say: This team isn't lacking for effort. It's certainly easy to think they're not wanting it hard enough or not giving forth the effort needed to win. You won't hear any arguments from me if you think the current product being put on the ice isn't entertaining, especially with the roller-coaster nature of this season, and especially when they lose games in the fashion they do. But games like these show how some of these players are playing in way above their heads, and the results certainly don't look pretty. But you'll need something more convincing if you want me to think everyone in a Red Wings sweater tonight didn't want it or didn't put forth the effort.
The Red Wings have 17 games left for a possible 34 points. Whether they have the personnel or not, Coach Babcock is going to have a whale of a time finding ways to get this team to have consistent success. It's amazing that the Red Wings are "only" two points behind a wild card spot, but this is the situation we're in. To everyone saying that the season's over, and they shouldn't raise our hopes up left they come crashing down in a devastating fashion . . .
See you on Friday.