Hands down, that was the best game of the season so far. Both teams were playing some great hockey and fortunately for the Red Wings, they snapped their losing streak against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Both teams had some great goaltending
Travis Moen bounced a shot off of Jimmy Howard's right leg and into the back of the net for the first goal of the night. Howard went the wrong way on an initial shot off of "those lively endboards at Joe Louis" and Moen banked it in for the lead. Nicklas Lidstrom scored with under two seconds left to play in the first period with the Red Wings on a 5-on-3 power play. Dan Cleary made a great play to set up Niklas Kronwall for the second goal of the game for the Red Wings. Justin Abdelkader force the initial turnover onto the stick of Johan Franzen. Franzen hits Cleary in front of the net with a pass. Cleary's knocked to the ice but keeps possession of the puck, dishing to a streaking Kronwall. Kronwall takes an absolutely beautiful shot on net to give the Wings the lead.
After the Wings killed off a Jonathan Ericsson penalty, Henrik Zetterberg picks up a Benoit Pouliot turnover in Detroit's defensive zone and gets it up to Ericsson. Ericsson smartly gets the puck over to his right and Pavel Datsyuk. The Wings have a 3-on-2 with Zetterberg trailing and with Hal Gill going to the ice at Datsyuk's feel, Datsyuk roofs a backhand shot over Price's glovehand at 15:31 of the second period.
Detroit worked really hard ("so do washing machines") in it's own end in the third period and clears the zone. Pouliot picks the puck up and re-enters the zone while Detroit is trying to finish a line change. Pouliot unleashes a rocket and it beats a sliding Brad Staurt and Howard. Patrick Eaves added an empty net goal to end the game at 4-2 for Detroit.
Montreal outshot Detroit 38-32 in the game (19-3 in the 3rd) and Howard had an exceptional game.
Analysis and video after the jump.
- First powerplay effort was pretty good but there was one chance in particular where Holmstrom had a pretty clear passing lane to Rafalski for a one-timer but he tried to stuff it home instead.
- After Rafalski delivered a clean hit to Tomas Plekanec, Plekanec stayed on the ice--probably ensure that his goatee was exactly one quarter of an inch. Plekanec redeemed himself from that acting by having a pretty impressive kill on the second Detroit powerplay.
- Detroit finally got something on the powerplay at the end of the first period. I like what the Wings did on the powerplay too. The Habs were doing a great job stepping up in shooting and passing lanes so what did the Wings do? They brought the point me down low and compressed the attack. This created shorter passes and a lot less time to react.
- How is it possible that Nicklas Lidstrom is still THIS good? Lidstrom logged 26:16 of icetime and was great all game long breaking up chances for Montreal. I wouldn't be doing justice to Lidstrom's performance if I tried to describe it so I won't. Simply: excellent.
- Hab you seen my monocle? Or perhabs my cane? What about my tophab?.........I'll stop
- Carey Price was as advertised this season. Price has had quite the shoes to fill in the past and was shoved to the backburner by the great play of Jaroslav Halak last year in the playoffs. Price has played really well this season it would seem and tonight he looked pretty sharp and had some saves that kept this from being a blowout.
- Hank had a quiet but great night I thought. Assisted on Datsyuk's goal by taking the puck away from Pouliot, had five shots on net and made a lot of great passes in 20+ of ice time.
- I thought the fourth line played incredibly well tonight. Eaves, Helm, Miller were all their usual selves: playing aggressively on the forecheck, skating at a high speed, and causing some problems for Price handling the puck.
- Don't tell Randy Carlyle that the Red Wings had a 6 to 1 advantage on the power play. I think 5 of Montreal's penalties were legit but the first penalty of the 5-on-3 for Detroit was pretty weak in my book.
- Montreal completely outplayed Detroit in the third. It was a shooting gallery out there and the Wings were visibly tired at times (i.e. Montreal's second goal). I don't know whether to chalk that up to poor defensive play or improved offensive play from Montreal.