After beating Philadelphia at home on Wednesday, the Detroit Red Wings went on the road to take on the New Jersey Devils for a post-Thanksgiving showdown. Here's the story of another Red Wings' comeback for a big two points.
Detroit apparently had a turkey hangover because this was not a pretty first period for the Winged Wheel. After some coincidental roughing minors to Marek Zidlicky and Tomas Jurco (yes, you read that right, Tomas Jurco), Jaromir Jagr potted a rebound home after a shot hit Petr Mrazek in the mask. That goal was the 709th of Jagr's career. Detroit might want to consider keeping an eye on him, huh?
Before four minutes were gone in the first, Riley Sheahan tied the game with a tip-in off a bomb from the point by Niklas Kronwall. Then the train started rolling off the tracks.
Kyle Quincey could have had a second holiday dinner behind his own net with the time he had on the penalty kill to clear the puck. He didn't clear the puck. Fifteen or so seconds later, Mike Cammalleri gave the Devils a 2-1 lead. Then of all people, Peter Harrold finished off a 3-on-2 rush for a 3-1 lead.
The second period started with New Jersey on another power play, and Callammeri made it 4-1 and seemed to end the game early. You know who didn't think the game was over? Xavier Ouellet, that's who. Stephen Weiss did some good work behind the Devils' goal and forced the puck to Darren Helm, who fed the rookie blueliner for his first in the NHL. Hopefully the first of many. Good job, kid.
Detroit got a definite scare in the second. Quincey and Kronwall took "slashing" penalties five seconds apart, giving New Jersey a two-man advantage for 1:55. They had their shots. Mrazek made some saves. Drew Miller deflected a puck away from a wide open net. The Red Wings killed it off and kept the score 4-2, helping the train get back on the tracks.
The Red Wings weren't done in the second. On the power play, Johan Franzen carried the puck up the wall before cutting hard to the middle. After drawing some defenders to him, he fed Henrik Zetterberg down low, and Z found Justin Abdelkader right in the slot for a 4-3 goal. Second intermission came with that score intact.
The Red Wings didn't start the third very well, but it was still a one-shot game. Then some magic happened.
Kronwall had the puck at the point and gave it to Jurco at the top of the circle. Give and go, Kronwall wheeled along the wall to the net and Jurco fed a gorgeous no-look backhand feed to a streaking Kronwall crashing the crease. After losing the puck in front, Drew Miller cleaned up the garbage for his first of the season. It was a tie game, 4-4, the Red Wings coming all the way back down from 4-1.
You wouldn't expect it considering the opponent (New Jersey Devils), but this was an exciting game. Both teams had chances to take the game in regulation and overtime, and there were some great saves by both goaltenders. This game would need the shootout, though, and Gustav Nyquist on a fabulous fake potted the winner in the third round and helped steal two points for the Red Wings.
- Rules! The Devils' first goal of the game was a classic case of the one exception under NHL rules regarding stopping play because a goalie's mask comes off. The initial New Jersey shot went off Mrazek's head and made his helmet come off. Under normal circumstances, the whistle blows immediately. The one exception is that the referee can allow play to continue if there is an immediate scoring chance by the attacking team. With a rebound in the crease and Jagr crashing, I'd say that's a textbook case of "immediate scoring chance." There's nothing wrong with that goal (except the Red Wings' attempt at defending it).
- Travis Zajac, in the span of five seconds, took full advantage of the NHL's standard of enforcement for a slashing penalty. Both times when Quincey and Kronwall "slashed" his stick out of his hand (emphasis on singular "hand") when Zajac didn't seem all that interested in holding on. The NHL needs to revisit this standard of enforcement yesterday.
- So in my last recap, we had Mickey Redmond give Tomas Tatar the nickname Fire Hydrant. Now we have Gustav Nyquist getting the nickname Poster Boy thanks to Johan Franzen.
- In the same sequence, we found out also through the FSD broadcast that Corey Perry's nickname is Worm. I repeat, Corey Perry's nickname is Worm.
- Don't look now: Stephen Weiss is on a three-game point streak. His assist on Ouellet's first NHL goal gives him five points in three games.
- How about Ouellet, by the way? The dude gets his first NHL goal tonight, and he's been solid in his call-up so far. Brendan Smith is probably coming back Sunday from his hand infection, so unless some other roster shenanigans happen between now and then, tonight's game is probably the last time we'll see Ouellet for a while. The kid has a bright future ahead of him, for sure though.
- We've talked before about the merits of putting Tomas Jurco to the fourth line. I don't care who originally came up with it, but the fact head coach Mike Babcock did it makes him look like a genius. Dare I say that we can actually roll four lines and expect any of them to put the puck in the back of the net?
- Red Wings vs. Devils in the shootout hahahahaha. I'm genuinely surprised this shootout only went three rounds. New Jersey was 1-2 on shootouts going into this game, so now Detroit and Jersey share 1-3 shootout records.
- Credit to Detroit, but also credit to Mrazek. Not all the goals were on him, but he didn't look like he had his best game ever, occasionally losing his net or losing the puck. Like the rest of the Red Wings, he battled and did his part to keep his team in the game, especially with a poke check on a break by (I think it was) Michael Ryder to keep the game 4-4 and preserve a valuable point and a chance for two.
Talk about a comeback. A night that started miserably turned out incredible. This team has its weaknesses and its needs, but this team is on its way. Get Smith back and keep the ball rolling!
Vancouver on Sunday at the Joe. Enjoy the win, and enjoy the two points.