The Red Wings earned themselves three points this weekend, doing the majority of the damage in under one second.
Twenty-four hours ago, things weren't too pleasant. Detroit managed to scrape a point out of a game that they didn't quite totally deserve, forcing a game against Edmonton to overtime and an eventual shootout. Tonight, they earned two points, beating the Vancouver Canucks with the exact same numbers on the clock courtesy of a well-placed backhander from Henrik Zetterberg.
Oddly enough, tonight's game started much like last night's. Vancouver went up early on two seeing-eye shots. The first came off the stick of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, which could have hit any number of things before ultimately deflecting off the stick of Kyle Wellwood and through the equipment of Jimmy Howard. Later in the period, Shane O'Brien took a pass from Mason Raymond and put a puck through traffic that went over the shoulder of the screened Howard.
Unlike last night, Detroit's effort level was there in the first period. They were unable to solve Roberto Luongo on any of their 17 first period shots. In total, they fired 54 pucks his way.
Time management was the name of the game in the second period as well. Todd Bertuzzi broke his legendary goal slump with an absolute gift of a goal. Canuck defenseman Kevin Bieksa was unable to locate a puck in his skates for seemingly three full minutes, and Bertuzzi had the presence to crash the net and poke home the loose change. Pavel Datsyuk lost the ensuing faceoff, but shook loose, scooped up the lose puck and beat Luongo with a wrist shot just five seconds after Detroit's first goal. The Bertuzzi/Datsyuk combination set a new franchise record for Detroit for two consecutive goals, breaking the old and slow record of seven seconds.
The Wings were not done in the middle frame. After Alex Edler misplayed a clearing attempt and tripped over the blueline, Valtteri Filppula broke in on a clear breakaway from center ice and beat Luongo with a backhander for his first goal as a 26-year-old.
Despite 20 third period shots from Detroit, Vancouver managed the only tally of the frame when Daniel Sedin knocked down a puck with his glove on the side of the net and tipped it home with his stick to tie the game at three. The goal was briefly reviewed, but as it happened to Vancouver and not Detroit, it rightfully was counted.
In an overtime largely controlled by Detroit, Ken Daniels wondered aloud with roughly 20 seconds left if we would see any "late game heroics." His thought was soon answered. Filppula aimlessly carried the puck about the Detroit zone before sending a pass to Zetterberg, who cut to the middle of the ice and beat Luongo on the glove side to give Detroit the much needed two points -- more importantly, keeping them away from a shootout.
Detroit now sits two points ahead of Calgary in 8th place, each with 71 games played. Glancing at the standings, Detroit trails Colorado by three points, and Nashville and Los Angeles by four. Detroit takes on Pittsburgh on Monday, while Calgary has a critical game against Minnesota tomorrow afternoon.
Notes: In addition to missing Patrick Eaves, who left last night after second period collision, Dan Cleary missed the game with a lower body injury. As a result, both Brett Lebda and Derek Meech played forward. Lebda, however, didn't see a single second of ice time, while Meech played 5:36.
Player of the Game: Even though I made up my mind in the second period that it had to be Datsyuk, with his consistent ridiculous antics with the puck, Henrik Zetterberg firing nine shots on goal and keeping Detroit out of that terrible shootout has earned him the honor.