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Howard's Brilliant Night Spoiled by Modin

Jimmy Howard played incredible tonight but unfortunately only gets to walk away with one point instead of two. In fact, both Howard and Steve Mason were unbeatable in regulation and only Fredrik Modin's rebound follow-up in the overtime period found the back of the net. Both offenses were on tonight and put lots of shots on net in what felt more like a playoff game than anything else. But with Columbus losing 9 straight and the Wings still in third place, what says it wasn't a playoff game?

Howard stopped 39 of 40 and Mason got all 34 in what was a high intensity game. Intensity? The game was virtual non-stop action from end to end and in a way, it was a good thing it went to overtime. Although I myself would have preferred the two points for a win, I'm glad at least one point was earned. Both teams deserved a point from this game after playing hard, tough, and really competitive hockey.

Modin scored after following up his own shot and shooting the puck into a wide open net. Lebda was covering and Miller took the other man on the rush but Modin's shot rebounded perfectly to where he was turning off and he ended the Columbus skid at 9.

Wing of the Game: Jimmy Howard. Hard to not give it to a guy who did everything he possibly could to win this one. Howard was phenomenal in net and although he didn't get the win (thanks to Mason's great performance at the other end) he is starting to show more and more reason for his starts.

Topic for discussion: How much has Filppula's return meant so far?

More recap, analysis, and May's fight after the jump...

Want more intensity? How about two incredible fights during the game. The first was between Brad May and Jared Boll. Boll somehow survived an enormous right bomb from May and May landed a few more before the officials eventually stepped in. It was good to see May actually do what he was brought in for: defend the other guys. Rafalski was hit high, possibly by an elbow, from Boll and May took exception to it. The second fight was after Doug Janik got steamrolled and he squared off with Alex Picard. Although Janik got a few good ones in, Picard more or less won the bout.

Although the final score doesn't indicate it as so, this might be some of the best hockey I've seen the Wings play. They played with great desire against a team that was determined and desparate for a win. There was little room for error tonight on both sides of the puck and the Wings played like it. Battling in the corners, sticking with defensive assignments, and playing like they wanted it for once. There's not really all that much to show for this game aside from the final score as both teams were held off the board until the last shot of the game. But here are several good things I noticed in the game:

  • Valtteri Filppula was great in the dot. 10 of 15 draws won is good to see from Fil as he's still getting back into the swing of things. He also skated very confidently with the puck and is turning into a mini-Datsyuk with his puck possession and faceoff prowess.
  • Speaking of Datsyuk, although he didn't do all that well in the dot tonight (12 of 25) he did play some great hockey nonetheless. He showed why he's one of the best at fore-checking and defensive play for any forward in the league. Pavel had 5 takeaways and was pressuring Columbus puck handlers all night long.
  • Brett Lebda can't catch a break. He makes a great play in the offensive zone one minute and then the next gives up position on Modin and doesn't follow up on the rebound effectively enough, 1-0 Jackets, game over.
  • Mattias Ritola wasn't all that bad. He wasn't all that good either but he was solid in his time on ice and got two shots off in 9:40 of play and even saw some power play time. He's got an upside and could be a factor if he sticks in the future.
  • Hats off to Steve Mason. One heck of a game. Had some saves that were incredible and I thought were sure thing goals, including a great glove save on Tomas Holmstrom.
  • Brad Stuart is shaping up to be a lock-down defender. Stuart played 26 minutes tonight (not as many as Lidstrom's 32 but hey, its getting there) and was great virtually all game long. The only real time that he did something wrong was on the Modin goal. He was late getting back and it might have helped if he was back instead of Lebda but Modin also made a great play. Stuart played a lot of time on the PK and was great but also contributed a lot on the offensive side of the puck. 

Great game out of both teams and an edge of the seat tilt all night long. Have to wait until next time to try for win #20 I suppose. Finally, I give you Brad May's fight with Jared Boll: