It's enough stress to have to go to the shootout. Worse when you have three shootouts in four games. Even worse when it's the second extra-round shootout of those three. all three have gone to extra rounds.
This time, however, the second point went to the Red Wings as Drew Miller's backhand went over Niklas Backstrom's shoulder in the eighth round to get the 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
Miller also scored in regulation to give the Wings a two-goal lead with 10:57 left in regulation. But the Wild got themselves back in to the game on a pair of goals a minute apart from Martin Havlat and Andrew Brunette.
Jimmy Howard returned to the net and blocked 27 of 30 shots by the Wild. Josh Harding got the start in goal for Minnesota, but appeared to injure himself on a Ville Leino shot late in the first period and was replaced by Backstrom at the start of the second.
For the Red Wings, it keeps them at 5-3-2 over their last 10 games, with a critical matchup against the eighth-place Los Angeles Kings coming on Saturday night.
The Red Wings jumped out, as Todd Bertuzzi had a takeaway near Howard. Howard passed the puck to Pavel Datsyuk, then took off towards the net. By the time Datsyuk passed it back to Bertuzzi, it was him alone versus Harding, and Bertuzzi put it top shelf for his 14th goal of the year, one behind Tomas Holmstrom for the team lead.
In the second period, Robbie Earl deflected a pass off his upper body from Shane Hnidy and into the net. There was a delay to allow Toronto to review the play on two points: whether the puck went into the net before the net was dislodged and if the puck was knocked in by any sort of motion, but Toronto upheld the call on the ice.
But the Wings would reclaim the lead. Darren Helm drove towards the net from behind and to the left of Backstrom. His soft shot rebounded out to Patrick Eaves, who put it easily past Backstrom to get his seventh of the season, with Derek Meech adding an assist.
Then Meech took a shot from the blue line that deflected off Miller's stick. Backstrom couldn't move over to stop it, and the Wings had a two-goal lead. Dan Cleary picked up the second assist on Miller's sixth goal.
Minnesota came back though, as Kyle Brodziak took a weak shot that deflected off the toe of Havlat (who was tied up with Jonathan Ericsson) and trickled over the goal line. It was Havlat's ninth of the season, with Nick Schultz picking up the second assist.
One minute later, the Wild would strike again,as Shane Hnidy's shot was deflected up in the air. Brian Rafalski swiped for the puck, but missed it; Andrew Brunette found it at the foot of his stick, and he put it past Howard for his 14th to tie the game.
After an overtime that saw the Wild outshoot the Red Wings 8-1, the game went to the shootout. Datsyuk beat Backstrom in the first round, while Owen Nolan put a backhand wrister behind Howard in the third round to force extra rounds. In the seventh round, Marek Zidlicky skated in fast and put a shot over Howard's left shoulder, only to have Valtteri Filppula extend the shootout with a slapper that seemed to tie up Backstrom. Finally, Miller put his shot in the top shelf that ended the game. For the Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Leino, Cleary, and Eaves all failed to convert.
Player of the game: Drew Miller. The waiver pickup gets a goal in regulation plus the shootout winner.