It was nice for a change to see the Detroit Red Wings (23-6-4) come right out of the gates and play strong, competitive hockey until the final buzzer sounded. Admittedly, it helps by playing the St. Louis Blues (13-18-3), especially an injury-depleted team.
Detroit scored two goals apiece in the each of the first two periods before finally giving up a goal to St. Louis in the final frame. Three of the Wings' four goals come courtesy of the special teams (two power-play goals and one shorthanded goal).
The first goal of the game came 5:03 into the first when captain Nicklas Lidstrom sent a pass flying from the right point to the top of the left face-off circle where Pavel Datsyuk took a hard wrist shot beating former Red Wings goalie Manny Legace. Datsyuk had a little help down front with Tomas Holmstrom screening Legace on the play.
Lidstrom followed it up at 10:21 with his own goal on a classic blast from the high slot to convert on a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity for Detroit. Special teams shined again when the Wings successfully killed off a 5-on-3 of their own doing in the remaining 1:18 of the first period. Goaltender Ty Conklin had a strong game with 33 saves and he definitely came up huge in that penalty kill late in the first.
6:59 into the second, Holmstrom tipped in defenseman Brad Stuart's shot from the point to give Detroit its only even strength goal of the night.
Easily the most gorgeous goal/play of the came was when Hossa hit Jeff Woywitka in the Blues' zone, then beat Roman Polak to the puck along the boards before sending a perfectly timed pass to Datsyuk, who made a Datsyukian deke to the right to fool defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo and then went to his left and beat Legace. What made this goal even better was the fact it came on the Blues power play - shorthanded goals just taste so sweet.
Christy's Red Wing of the Game: Pavel Datsyuk
There was certainly no doubt in my mind who the player of the game was. Datsyuk tallied two goals and one assist in the contest and his Datsyukian deke was such a beauty. It certainly has given me great joy to see him evolve as a player from a tentative shot-taker to a dominant playmaker over the years. Datsyuk now has five goals and ten points in just the last four games. That's ridiculous.
|2008 - Pavel Datsyuk||33||13||24||37||13||6||4||1||0||0||93||14.0|
The Wings will get some time off to enjoy Christmas with their families before heading to Nashville for a game on Friday evening.