Oh, my beloved Detroit Red Wings. Why must you give me chest pains?
It certainly wasn't easy, but the Wings won their first game in their last four tries, defeating the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday night by a score of 4-3. Coming into the game, Detroit was on their worst stretch of the season: shutout in their last two outings (both at home), and going 1-4-1 in their last six.
It was 2-0 Blues after the first period, as the hometown team received goals from David Backes and Roman Polak. Something Mike Babcock said in the intermission must have worked, because the boys came out a little stronger in the second, netting their first goal in nearly nine periods at 2:35 of the second. The powerplay goal was scored by Tomas Holmstrom of an absolutely gorgeous feed from Henrik Zetterberg. All is right with the world.
The third period was a back and forth affair: first, Kris Draper tied the game a little over two minutes into the final frame. It was a sight for sore eyes as the energy line of Draper, Darren Helm, and Patrick Eaves - who had been generating chances all week - finally put one in. And it was a big one.
Six minutes later, the Blues regained the lead, as Brad Boyes scored his sixth of the season. The lead would hold until the final minute of play. With Jimmy Howard on the bench, Henrik Zetterberg took a shot from behind the goal-line that seemed to hit Barrett Jackman's arm and deflect past Blues goaltender Chris Mason. The Red Wings were headed to overtime for the fourth time in November.
The extra frame saw plenty of chances to end it - for both squads - but a shootout was needed to determine the winner. Andy McDonald started the festivities with a goal, as he deked past Howard and roofed one. It was the only goal the Blues would get past Jimmy Howard in the shootout.
Pavel Datsyuk was the first shooter for the Wings, and he converted on a nifty stickhandling play. After misses by Brad Boyes, Henrik Zetterberg, David Perron, Dan Cleary, and T.J. Oshie, Detroit put the game on the stick of Todd Bertuzzi, of all people. After a nice move, Bertuzzi put the puck top shelf, and the Wings would skate away victorious.
Detroit outshot the Blues, but not by their normal 2:1 margin. Chris Mason saw 37 shots, and Jimmy Howard faced 35 from Blues shooters. There were only three penalties called tonight, and the Wings scored 28 seconds into their only opportunity on the power play. In a turn of recent events, the Winged Wheelers went 2/2 on the penalty kill. Huzzah!
PETRELLA'S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Henrik Zetterberg. A goal, an assist, and showing Barret Jackman who deserved the 2003 Calder. That's good enough for first star in my book.
#40 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Oct 09, 1980