Big game. They're all big games. I don't know what a not big game is. So this is a big one, I guess. The top vs. The bottom. Detroit played a surprisingly solid game, I thought. I just think it was a product of poor goaltending. Jonas Gustavsson looked off. Though he made some incredibly big saves to keep us in the game, he had a few "WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS GUY DOING" moments playing the puck. I dunno, I guess I'm saying I hope this is his last start as a Detroit Red Wing.. Go easy on me for saying that, please.
Anyway... Let's go over what exactly happened, shall we?
Detroit had a PP early on in the game and looked pretty good. Moved the puck well and had a couple of solid chances. I like what the power play unit as of late, but it isn't really doing the trick as far as scoring goes. Danny DeKeyser got burned due to a bad lateral move by Beau Bennett which gave him a slight breakaway that he should have scored, but it ringed off the pipe. Jonas Gustavsson did a decent job at staying square with him, but he just wasn't quick enough to make the save. Detroit opened up the scoring with a goal that had a very "Joe Louis Arena" vibe to it. Daniel Alfredsson sent the puck off the glass and it slid out in front of the Pittsburgh net where Tomas Jurco was waiting to bury it past Fleury. The 1st ended with the shots at 13-4 in favor of Detroit, which is... Somewhat of a surprise. Detroit was strong on the puck all period long and it paid off. Pittsburgh will start the 2nd on a power-play due to a Kyle Quincey (penalty.)
The second period was a fast paced one. Both teams saw their fair share of chances. Pittsburgh was able to get the equalizer from James Neal on the power-play. He walked right in and took Gustavsson out of the crease, sort of like Bennett's chance earlier. Gustavsson had some scary moments with him trying to play the puck.. He remains to be the most nerve-wracking goalie to watch. Detroit was able to come out on top again with a goal scored by Jakub Kindl from Gustav Nyquist. Kindl's shot is very much overrated. I wish he would shoot from the point more often like that. Riley Sheahan did a great job at screening. Not long after, Pittsburgh was able to get the equalizer again from James Neal.. again... on the power-play....... again.... The 2nd period winded down with both teams having 2 goals a piece. At a glance I think putting Justin Abdelkader on a line with Pavel Datsyuk just isn't doing it. It worked last year, but it isn't this year. J.J. made a comment about putting Drew Miller there.. That would be fun, I think. Anyways, shots are at 22-10 with Detroit still having the edge.
What a thriller this was, eh? To sum it all up, Pittsburgh was able to pull ahead off a goal from Jussi Jokinen. Gustavsson has had a pretty forgettable game, much like a lot of his starts as of late. As the period wound down it seemed as if that was about it for the Wings. I started checking out of the game until what happens? The cardiac kids are at it again, of course. Riley Sheahan scores a goal with 1:15 left in the 3rd on a feed from Niklas Kronwall. This goal seemed like it went off of Tomas Jurco, but it was credited to Sheahan. What a season he's having. This forced the game to OT and got Detroit the ONE POINT they needed to clinch a playoff spot for the 23rd consecutive year. Never has a loser point felt so unbelievably good, eh?
The game winded down going into a shootout in which Detroit wasn't able to score on Marc-Andre Fleury. He pulled off probably one of the sickest saves I have ever seen in a shootout while Jonas Gustavsson let in one of the stupidest goals I have ever seen in a shootout. So there you have it.. The 2014 playoffs spot being clinched with a shootout loss. Gotta say this now looks a lot better that Gustavsson started this game because now we have a rested Jimmy Howard for the final stretch. This clinch was very Red Wings, but among all the terrible injuries and dismal downs and super happy ups... We're in. Anything can happen. All I can say is... Get well soon, Henrik Zetterberg. My god, do we need you.