Tuesday night's Red Wings/Canucks game covered a wide range of emotions on both sides of the puck: frustration, concern, and most importantly for us Wings fans, relief.
It started out about as bad as it could have, with starter Chris Osgood allowing a weak goal just 29 seconds into the contest. Former Red Wing Mikael Samuelsson got on the board quickly, assisting on the Henrik Sedin goal. Six and a half short minutes later, Christian Ehrhoff made it 2-0 Canucks and it was curtains for Ozzie, pulled by Mike Babcock who looked less than pleased at the tender's atrocious effort between the pipes.
In came Jimmy Howard, who played admirably, earning his first win of the season. Howard stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced: some of them were of the "relatively difficult" variety, all of them were of the "harder than Osgood faced" variety. Tomas Holmstrom began bridging the gap late in the first, with his sixth goal of the season from Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Say...those three might make a good line combination, no?
There was a very scary moment in the second when Ryan Johnson caught an edge and crashed awkwardly into the boards behind Howard. It almost appeared as if he went in neck-first, before lying rather motionless on the ice. A stretcher was necessary, but thankfully word was handed down that Johnson was alert, had movement in all of his extremities, and was on the way to the hospital (with his mother, who was in attendance at tonight's game) for observation and precautionary tests.
The third period induced some palpitations, with the Wings and Canucks exchanging goals for much of the final frame:
(2-2) Niklas Kronwall tied the game just under four minutes into the third, which raised some argument from Roberto Luongo, who felt he was being interfered with by a screening Tomas Holmstrom.
(3-2 Canucks) A little over a minute later, another former Red Wing struck, as Mathieu Schneider converted a power play, giving the Canucks the lead once again.
(3-3) It was short lived, as Pavel Datsyuk scored his first of back to back goals exactly one minute later.
(4-3 Wings) Datsyuk on the power play.
(4-4) Henrik Sedin scored his second of the game - courtesy of a 5 on 3 (which, itself, was courtesy of a dumbass penalty from Brad Stuart), once again balancing the scoreboard.
(5-4 Wings) Valtteri Filppula was the savior, as he sent an unbelievable pass through the crease, finding Jason Williams for the powerplay winner.
All in all, it was a better effort than we've become used to seeing lately. Sure, there were some miscues and bonehead plays, but the veteran team seemed to finally get tired of being whipping boys, with Homer, Datsyuk, Z, Williams and Flip leading the way offensively.
MP'S RED WING OF THE GAME: TOMAS HOLMSTROM
The obvious choice here might be Pavel Datsyuk, as he scored a pair of goals, but Homer did what Homer does best: screen the hell out of a shockingly good Roberto Luongo. His goal opened the scoring for the good guys, his rump absolutely deserved an assist on the second Wings goal, and he had a legit assist on the second Datsyuk goal. Player of the game in my book.
#96 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Jan 23, 1973