I don't know if I can accurately capture the feelings surrounding this goal if you weren't watching the game, but know that about ten minutes before this goal was scored, the Wings were down 3-1 and I started talking about how they were going to score a second just to give us false hope. When Zetterberg scored with more than three minutes to go I laughed and played it off like I'm so cool (I'm not BTW), but deep down I wasn't feeling false hope. I had real hope.
Then when the Wings pulled Howard again late in the third period and promptly gave up the offensive zone, the center line, and eventually the puck without their own goalie in net, I was just about to drop hope. Blake Comeau got the puck with a look at the net and I was just sure that this b-hole was going to salt it away. Danny DeKeyser said no and then the Wings said no again. Moments later, everybody was saying YES!
I love this game-tying goal. I also love that context gets cut off here. Let me show you the moment I went from sure that Blake Comeau was going to end my night to the moment I knew the Wings were going to tie it. Here we go.
First you have DeKeyser blocking a gaping net on a shot by Comeau here, which was a huge relief right up until the puck found its way to Dupuis along the boards. It looks like Abdelkader has a good bead on it and that Datsyuk should be able to stop it as well, but the hero on this play is Darren Helm, whose stick comes in to cut 80% of the mustard off Dupuis' shot and have the puck roll perfectly to Datsyuk in order to start the play up ice.
Now let's jump forward a brief moment and take it all the way through to the goal:
Ok, so let's watch the pretty happen here.
- Abdelkader dragging Letang away from the front of the net is a crucial part of this play. Letang has to cover his man, but it leaves the most-dangerous scoring area on the ice completely open if somebody were to happen to make a perfect pass.
- Oh, hey there Pavel Datsyuk having the perfect sense to feel that Blake Comeau has taken up a position directly behind you hoping to ride you too deep in the zone to make a difference. I wonder what you're going to do with this information. Cut to the front? Let's see how it plays out.
- Holy moly that soft beauty of a pass by Hank to put it directly on Datsyuk's stick as he cuts over. That pass makes me feel feelings in my no-no touchy places.
- To Greiss' credit, he tracks Datsyuk absolutely perfectly across his crease. This should have been a tie game moments earlier except the goalie doesn't bite. I bet Fleury would have bitten.
- No fear, as Datsyuk knows exactly what to do after getting everybody to watch him. The Magic Man simply drops it back to Kronwall jumping up on the play. I love Datsyuk's willingness to make this play, considering it was a play just like this that led to the first goal against. The confidence to not let that first one get to you is huge here.
- It looks like Malkin is in La La Land on this defense, but he's actually coming off the boards from watching DeKeyser to make up for Pascal Dupuis having no clue where he's supposed to be. By the time either figures it out, Kronwall's got it in a perfect position.
Let's appreciate how discombobulated the defense was one more time with the behind-the-net high angle gif too, just for good measure.
Check out the entire highlights package at NHL.com, including the game-winner in overtime that featured a great backcheck by Justin Abdelkader followed by a great forecheck by Zetterberg to create the turnover which led to Abby's winner.