After a miserable day for Michigan sports fans, the sports gods finally decided to cut the state a break.
Another day, another victory, and all of a sudden, the Wings find themselves semi-comfortably in the playoffs.
Here's how it all went down:
- Jonas Gustavsson started today in lieu of Jimmy Howard, who was given the day off. Considering that Gustavsson hasn't played in forever, I was honestly expecting the worst. But, he played well and I had no complaints with his play today whatsoever.
- Valtteri Filppula scored to give Tampa Bay the lead half-way through the first period. I still think that Stephen Weiss will be a very good player for the Wings, but you can't discount the type of season that Filppula is having. He is making the Wings regret not giving him the contract that he wanted.
- A few minutes later, Joakim Andersson tied the game up for the Wings. He tapped in the rebound on a Helm shot. Daniel Alfredsson got the other assist. That goal gave Darren Helm his 5th point in his last three games.
- Niklas Kronwall kronwalled Ryan Callahan, and as you probably expected, Callahan immediately tried to instigate a fight. But, instead of a pair of dropped gloves, all Callahan got was a bit of blurry vision and a "You Got Kronwalled" chant.
- And then Nyquist happened. I don't know how he did it, but somehow, someway, Gus managed to dangle past Ben Bishop to put the Wings ahead. Gustav Nyquist now has 27 goals on the season.
- Here's the Nyquist goal for you to watch over and over again:
- Steven Stamkos tried to fight both Luke Glendening and Justin Abdelkader in the second period. Classy player, eh?
- Soon thereafter, Darren Helm had a breakaway. Victor Hedman ended up making a great play to take the puck away from Helm while Helm crashed into the goal. Did anyone else cringe when they saw Helm go down? Now-a-day's I just assume that he gets injured on nearly every play.
- There was quite a bit of colorful language caught on the microphones today. I'm sure that FSD is happy.
- With four minutes left in the second period, David Legwand would score after deflecting a shot by Johan Franzen to give the Wings a 3-1 win. Legwand had two points on the night, and after being demoted to the third line a few days ago, he has been able to creep his way back up to the top line. I still think that we won the trade with Nashville.
- The third period was not as exciting as the first two. Granted, I did miss the middle ten minutes of the period to watch the remaining minutes of the Michigan - Kentucky game (Go Blue!).
- That lack of excitement existed until Sami Salo scored with four minutes left in the period to cut the Wings' lead in half.
- The goal lead to four minutes of nail-biting anxiety, which luckily ended without another Tampa Bay goal.
Overall, the Wings played a good game. The team was playing chippy and managed to defeat a very good team. There was very little to complain about today.
The Wings now hold the top-spot in the wildcard race in the Eastern Conference with 84 points. We have seven games left to play, which means that nothing is guaranteed just yet, but, things are looking up. The only game of significance for the Wings over the next two day's is tonight's Capitals - Predators game. The Capitals, Blue Jackets, and Maple Leafs all have games on Tuesday.
Next up for the Red Wings are the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
Let's Go Red Wings!