Finally. The Detroit Red Wings (32-11-7) finally ended their five-game losing streak in a 4-3 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues (20-25-4) on Monday night at the Joe. It wasn't a pretty game and even an uncharacteristic game for the Wings, but they managed to stick with it and pull out a win in the end and ultimately that's what matters.
The game started off pretty slow as both teams registered a combined total of five shots in the first period. Yes, you read that right. Just five total shots in 20 minutes of play, which was tied for an NHL low in the first period this season. Detroit only had two shots in the first frame.
However, the second period came and the action started to pick up. In his 1,000th career game and 980th game with the Wings, Kris Draper earned his fifth assist of the season on a Kirk Maltby goal at 2:34. Exactly three minutes later, the Blues responded with a goal of their own on the man advantage.
The two teams would trade goals for the remaining time including two goals from Marian Hossa. His first tally of the evening came at 6:32 in the second when he took a wrist shot that hit goaltender Manny Legace in the upper chest/shoulder/armpit region and then bounced off of him weirdly and into the net. After the Blues registered another goal, Hossa was back scoring at 11:21 in the final stanza when he brought the puck up along the left boards and then fired a rocket from inside the faceoff circle.
Less than a minute later, the Blues scored another power-play goal (they went 3-for-6 on the power play Monday night) to tie the game up eventually sending the game into overtime. It was strong goaltending by Chris Osgood in the extra time that kept the Wings in the game and on to the shootout. Ozzie made 30 saves in the effort.
Both Pavel Datsyuk and the Blues' T.J. Oshie failed to convert on their shootout chances. Jiri Hudler was up next for the Wings and deftly beat goaltender Chris Mason (Legace was pulled earlier in the game) to put the Wings up 1-0. St. Louis' Brad Boyes also made his attempt. But Hossa was up next and you had to feel confident watching him skate down the ice towards Mason after the great game he had. Our faith was rewarded when he sent a wrist shot flying over Mason and into the net. David Perron was unsuccessful on his shootout attempt and the Wings clinched a 4-3 shootout win resulting in their first victory in six games. Detroit improved to 6-1 in the shootout this season.
While the win was obviously great, there were still a couple reasons for concern. (1) Our penalty kill on the road is an NHL worst, but our penalty kill at home has usually been pretty solid. Monday night, the Wings allowed three power-play goals on just six opportunities. Ouch. (2) Detroit only had 21 shots in the contest. As the following record will indicate, the Wings have only been outshot six times this season and have a 3-2-1 record when that happens. Before the game against St. Louis, Detroit averaged 35.9 shots per game so it certainly is a cause for concern when the Wings can only register 21 shots on net against the Blues (and no, the absences of Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom are not good enough excuses for me in this regard).
Christy's Red Wing of the Game: Marian Hossa
|2008 - Marian Hossa||50||26||24||50||11||36||7||0||4||1||215||12.1|
The Wings continue their three-game homestand on Wednesday when they host the Phoenix Coyotes. All fans in attendance will receive these pretty sweet Hossa flags so be sure to come to the game (there are still tickets available). Go Wings!