Alas, the Wings took a loss that came in the form of eccentricity and overexposure.
Tonight, it was as if all of the mysterious questions bubbling around the team were answered. It's not the goaltending, it's the team in front; it's not inexperience, it's gaffes on and off the puck that shouldn't be happening in the NHL; it's not the special teams, it's the dumb penalties.
The Red Wings have been looking for something positive, going now winless in six games, boasting an 0-1-5 record over that span.
While the Wings keep getting these consolation points, the locker room certainly cannot be taking this streak very well.
The game started off with a John Tavares redirection goal from a Josh Bailey point shot that beat Gustavsson, only to have Darren Helm respond on the next play in breakaway fashion, injuring Islander goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on the very first shot he faced. Pavel Datsyuk would once again boast his amazing hand-eye coordination (amazing everything) skills and redirect a high shot from Mikael Samuelsson to make it 2-1 Detroit.
While the second period was strangely quiet, the final three minutes let all hell break loose. Casey Cizikas backhanded a gaffe by Gustavsson to tie the game to only have Johan Franzen put a ridiculous shot past Kevin Poulin, only to overshadow that by taking a four minute double minor high sticking penalty right afterwords. Between those two events, Luke Glendening put some penalty minutes on his short NHL resume and the ensuing Islander powerplay converted thanks to Brock Nelson and, you guessed it, John Tavares, who shares the NHL scoring lead with Sidney Crosby by the way.
The third period wasn't too much better as Cal Clutterbuck, who seemed to have made a miraculous recovery from his life ending injury in the first period (okay, you got me; high sticks to the face do hurt) scored a goal about five minutes in, a goal that wasn't answered until the final minute of regulation, when Pavel Datsyuk banked a puck in off of Andrew McDonald from behind the red line.
Alas, OT appeared yet again, as did a shootout, which saw Frans Nielsen prove why he's the best in the league at shootouts yet again, and saw the Wings come up empty.
As demonstrated by the poll below, there really is no question as to who the best player on the ice was for the Wings tonight. While he had a couple of bad moments, Jonas Gustavsson, the Swedish goaltender who has not played in three weeks, came out with confidence, athleticism, and persistence. The Monster was honestly amazing, stopping 37 out of 41 shots. He stood on his head during the third period and overtime, and quite frankly, was the only real reason other than the Islanders shooting themselves in the feet as to why the Wings had a chance tonight.
Danny DeKeyser continues to impress Chris Osgood, Ken Daniels, and basically everybody that is watching him because he's just
very extremely good and is only going to get better. He'd get first star honors if Gustavsson wasn't unquestionably amazing.
The Red Wings were outplayed, yes, but despite the shot count, not wildly outplayed. Were they outworked? Yes. Sloppy? Too sloppy. The Wings drooled and puck watched tonight like that socially unacceptable seven year old kid who hasn't learned that drooling is not okay in school anymore.
The worst thing is how many shots they let through to Gus, especially in the first and last frames. The Islanders flat out ran the Red Wings into the ground, letting the Wings go nearly 5 straight minutes without a shot on goal, only to run away with the shot total, hence why Gus turned it up a notch.
The Wings are going to have to just work at their problems and hope that something comes of it. They're not just going to lose forever.
Something has to give.