On a night in which all eyes were looking for Johan Franzen, the Red Wings got great help from the powerplay and two secondary scorers. Chris Osgood played a sharp game in net for the second straight night to allow his teammates to stay in this game against the high powered Caps offense.
Matt Bradley opened the game's scoring early in the first period with a hard slap shot from the face-off circle that squirted underneath Chris Osgood's left arm and gave the Capitals the lead with only 3:58 played. Detroit played better defensively and was able to draw two consecutive powerplays. Although unable to convert on the two chances, the Wings eventually scored soon afterwards. Ville Leino buried a puck in the crease at 15:49 after several chances by other Wings players were stopped by Jose Theodore. Dan Cleary and Valtteri Filppula were credited with the assists on the Leino goal, his second of the season.
Osgood stonewalled Alex Ovechkin in the low slot on a give-and-go as the Capitals had a powerplay following a bad penalty to Niklas Kronwall. With under a minute to play, Osgood's toe save was huge in getting the Wings to the locker room with a tie after one period. The Caps were unable to score on the remainder of the powerplay to start the second period following some good defensive play by the Wings in the defensive zone.
Alexander Semin took his second penalty of the second period to put the Red Wings on the powerplay. If you've wondered why Jason Williams is on the point for the powerplay, cue the video replay of the goal he scored at 16:26 of the second period. Williams received a pass from Kronwall and absolutely ripped a shot over Theodore's and under the crossbar for a 2-1 Detroit lead. Nicklas Lidstrom took a hooking call as the second period came to a close as Osgood over pursued a pass to Semin and Lidstrom had no choice but to hook him to prevent a wrap-around goal. The Capitals took advantage of the powerplay in the third period as Brendan Morrison fired a slapshot past Osgood for a tied game, 1:25 into the fresh period.
Washington defenseman Mike Green took a hooking call to put the Wings on the man advantage again. Tomas Holmstrom scored about 30 seconds into the powerplay on a one-time shot in the slot from a Pavel Datsyuk pass for a 3-2 Detroit lead at 13:07. With the game winding down, Datsyuk/Zetterberg/Bertuzzi put on a clinic in puck possession and offensive pressure--limiting the ability for the Capitals to get anything going offensively as the seconds ticked off the clock. Following a brief, high intensity flurry at the end of the game, the Red Wings were able to give the home crowd something to smile about as they closed the game out with a 3-2 victory.
The Red Wings scored twice on five powerplay chances and used the bad penalties by the Caps to keep the pressure in the offensive zone. Detroit outshot Washington 37-24 including an 11-4 third period count. The next game is on Tuesday, October 13 at Buffalo.
MrNorrisTrophy's Player of the Game: Pavel Datsyuk. Could pick Fil (2 A) or Ozzie (22 saves) but Datsyuk was the key to this game. He won 50% of face-offs, had 3 takeaways, 5 shots on goal, primary assist on the winning goal, 22 minutes of ice-time and was a nightmare to defend for the Caps.
#13 / Center / Detroit Red Wings
Jul 20, 1978