The Detroit Red Wings staged a less dramatic comeback tonight against the Washington Capitals, tying the game early in the third and finishing it off with some beauties spearheaded by The Magic Man Pavel Datsyuk.
The Detroit Red Wings opened the scoring for the second time in the game, though this time it would actually count on the scoreboard. A shot block missed Marcus Johansson's stick but found Justin Abdelkader's. He found Gustav Nyquist all alone with Braden Holtby. Gus wouldn't miss.
Washington took the lead on a power play goal and a goal as a power play was expiring. Holtby caught Detroit in a line change, and the puck was in the back of the net faster than you read this sentence. The Capitals' second goal came when John Carlson skated into a passive defense and found Troy Brouwer on the left circle for a one-timer past Jimmy Howard.
Then the third happened. Three goals, all for the Red Wings, and all featuring Pavel Datsyuk. The top line had a tenacious forecheck, leading to a puck squirting out in front. Andre Burakovsky got to it, and Abdelkader got a poke on it before tying the game on the takeaway. The Red Wings would take the lead for good on the third goal. Henrik Zetterberg intercepted a saucer pass in the air and left it for Datsyuk to skate in 1-on-4. Pav skated to his left and made a drop pass that Abdelkader hammered for a 3-2 lead. Datsyuk would salt the game away on a nasty snipe from the right circle. Filthy stuff.
- Kudos to the fourth line tonight. Drew MIller, Luke Glendening, and Joakim Andersson weren't just "hard on the puck" but generated some offensive zone pressure until the top guys stepped it up in the third period. Too bad Miller couldn't get rewarded with the first goal of the game.
- Speaking of . . .Heyoooooo!!!!
For those who didn't see, Miller had this goal called off because of a goalie interference penalty on Glendening. I know, I know. This would have been the first goal of the game (on the first shot of the game!). That flubbed up call is the third time in nine games this season that a referee's call impacts a goal on the Red Wings, whether it shouldn't have happened (Anaheim) or it took it away (Montreal, tonight). The calls can even up any game now.
- I had the recap all written out, then the machine ate it. Here are some of the other bullets I had that I can remember.
- Dude who had a tough night: Danny DeKeyser. Decision-making wasn't great at times, and he had a turnover into a dangerous scoring area. Still, he made a nice break-up on Alexander Ovechkin at the end of the game, when he could have made the game 4-3 with time left to give Washington hope.
- Ovechkin: five goals. Nyquist: five goals. Abdelkader: five goals. Tonight was the fifth game in a row Ovechkin was held point-less, the longest stretch of his career.
- Hahahaha, the Red Wings make another appearance on Wednesday Night Rivalry next week against *wait for it* the New York Rangers.
- Nyquist scored again for the first time in four games. He started with four goals in the first four games, then went goal-less the next four. So expect him to score Friday, Sunday, and whenever the Red Wings play again after Sunday.
- You know how Troy Brouwer scored his one-timer goal? He's a right shot!
- I hope the last minute goaltender interference that denied Washington its third goal of the game (with 00.9 seconds left) doesn't become a factor in whether the Red Wings get even up calls or not. That "goal" would have impacted the final score, but not the outcome.
- Best for last: How about Justin Abdelkader, ladies and gentlemen? Look at all this production when it feels like yesterday there was all the gnashing of teeth when he joined Datsyuk and Daniel Cleary on the top line. "Why punish Datsyuk like that?" we would ask (and yes, I'm guilty of that). You can say he's only producing this much because he's playing with Pav and Z, but give him credit for making the most of his time on the top line.
Head coach Mike Babcock told Pierre McGuire after the game, "We didn't look anywhere near good enough tonight." That's all of our cue to get ready for Friday when the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings come to Joe Louis Arena. Come to the rink dressed as the winning team, then go to sleep with another two points in the standings. Make it happen, Mike.