I guess the old adage that it's not how you start, it's how you finish really is true.
The Blue Jackets got on the board 33 seconds into the game. A puck went off the post, then ended up in front of the net where it was put in by Derick Brassard. Grant Clitsome scored his second in as many nights when he directed a puck in off of Justin Abdelkader's knee and past Joey MacDonald to make it 2-0 less than 5 minutes into the first period. Valtteri Filppula got the fans out of their seats when he converted Todd Bertuzzi's pass, cutting the Columbus lead to 2-1. The Wings got a Budd Lynch goal of their own when Drew Miller banked a puck in off of Marc Methot from behind the goal line to tie the game heading into the second period.
In the second period, Adam Calvert put a pretty move on MacDonald to give the Jackets the lead again. Jonathan Ericsson scored his third goal of the season when he banked a shot off of Steve Mason from behind the goal line. The Wings took their first lead of the game when Brian Rafalski continued his hot goal scoring stretch with his 4th goal, this one also off Methot. The Wings took the lead into the third period despite a late flurry by the Blue Jackets.
Early in the third, R.J. Umberger scored on the power play to pull the Jackets back to even at 4-4. Kris Draper scored on a rebound after a Miller pass bounced off his leg, and the Wings were back on top. With the Jackets' net empty, Rick Nash put a wrist shot through a sea of bodies, and the game went to OT, although not without a little drama late as Nash thought he had given the Jackets the win. In OT, Johan Franzen ripped a laser beam of a wrist shot passed Mason to give the Wings a 6-5 victory.
This was one of those games that you just knew was going to come down to the last shot. Neither team refused to go down easy, but the Wings came through in the end. Follow me after the jump for the analysis.
- At least the Wings didn't waste any time in letting us know whether they were going to get off to a good start or not tonight. 33 seconds was all it took for the Jackets to get on the board, and before the game was 5 minutes old, they were up 2-0. I'm not going to go into detail about this because it's a broken record at this point. However, the Wings came back (again) to get the victory, so all is right with the world.
- I'll freely admit that the Wings got some luck tonight, but I'll take it. I can't recall a game that had as many weird bounces as this one. Both teams benefited from deflections off their own players, with the Jackets' second goal going in off of Abdelkader, and Methot directing in 2 of the Wings' goals. The puck was bouncing all over the place for both teams, which made for a sloppy game at times. The fatigue also played a part in the overall lack of flow in the game, as there were a lot of icings and turnovers in the neutral zone by both teams.
- I really enjoyed watching the Abby-Mursak-Tatar line. They had the bad luck on the second goal, although I will admit that Abby was trying to get out of the way when the puck hit him. They played with a lot of energy, and they created some offensive chances. I can't help but think that we may have just caught a glimpse at one of the Wings' future lines, and it's definitely a line I'll be keeping my eye on down the road.
- Speaking of new lines, Patrick Eaves looked good on the top line with Zetterberg and Franzen. It's been said before that Eaves contains a lot of the same characteristics as Daniel Cleary, and the parallels are striking. He's a good fit in that he plays the same game as Cleary and Holmstrom do in that he'll go to the front of the net and the other tough areas. He's also got a decent set of hands, and before Franzen's OT winner, it looked like that line was going to get a goal.
- Before the game, I was writing my notes, and one of them mentioned that the defense needs to step up offensively as well as defensively during this time. Obviously they need to buckle down in their own end and play responsibly because of the offensive firepower missing from the Wings' lineup. But the Wings have the league leader in defensive scoring in Nicklas Lidstrom, and now they've got Rafalski scoring goals to go with his many assists. Tonight, 4 of the Wings' 6 defensemen registered a point, including 2 of the goals. Jonathan Ericsson led the way with a goal and an assist, and he improved after the last game where he struggled.
- You know what the Wings should practice? Defensive zone faceoffs. As Mickey pointed out after Nash's goal, 3 of the Jackets' 5 goals came directly after they won a faceoff in the Wings' zone. This is lethal for a puck possession team like the Wings, and it absolutely killed the Wings tonight. Thankfully it did not result in a loss, but it's something that needs to be fixed going forward.
- Congratulations are in order to Joey MacDonald, who earned his first victory of the season despite giving up 5 goals on 30 shots for a .833 SV%. However, none of the goals were soft ones, although he over-played the first one. He made some nice saves in the first and second periods, and one thing I noticed is that he did not give up many rebounds. He also had a nice pokecheck save very early in overtime that helped create the rush the other way that led to the winning goal. The stats may not have been there tonight, but after how he performed in the last 2 games, he deserved the win. Kudos to him for that.
- My gut was to go with Drew Miller for Player of the Game, but the game thread wanted a poll, so one is going up. Oh, and my condolences to J.J. who has to do the CSSI for this game when he gets back.
The Wings are going to take a couple of days off before they head to Pittsburgh for a date with the Penguins. We'll be keeping tabs on Sidney Crosby's status, as he's still battling concussion symptoms and may not be good to go for the game. What that will mean is that Henrik Zetterberg will have to piss off someone else; Evgeni Malkin sounds good to me.