The Wings started their second week of preseason games with an impressive special teams performance as they knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Joe Louis Arena on Monday Night. Two power play goals and an empty netter were more than enough for Petr Mrazek, who shut out the Leafs for the 3-0 victory.
Overall, the refs called 19 penalties on the two teams and each team had eight power play chances. The Detroit penalty kill rose to the task, allowing only six shots on goal. Where they did give chances, Mrazek was there to make the stops. All this happened even with the Leafs having 55 seconds of 5-on-3 time and another 1:27 of 4-on-3 power play.
Detroit's first goal came during a man advantage situation both drawn and finished by defenseman Nick Jensen. The former 5th rounder turned the corner coming out of his own zone and protected the puck well with his body, drawing a trip from Josh Leivo. Once on the power play, Jensen took an Andrej Nestrasil pass at the point and got a lucky tip off a Maple Leafs stick which found its way through traffic into the net.
The score held there at 1-0 until 5:45 of the third period when Riley Sheahan tipped a Ryan Sproul point shot in on net and then collected the rebound off to the side of James Reimer to put it home (off another Josh Leivo penalty which was drawn by Nick Jensen BTW). The final score happened as Tomas Jurco fired a puck into the empty net from just on the wrong side of center. Jurco had Tatar streaking on the far side, so he knew he was going to be safe from icing anyway.
Overall, shots favored Toronto 27-17. Here's the full box score from NHL.com.
Observations from the Game
- The Leafs didn't put a top-tier team out there, but they had plenty of talent on their roster. They did find the post behind Mrazek a couple times and made him make some very good saves throughout the game. This game could have easily gone the other way.
- The Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco line was very good all game. Tomas Jurco looked like a bit of a weak link through the first period, but his game got much stronger as the night went on and by the end, I thought he was perhaps the better winger of the two (which is saying a lot because I was again very impressed with Tatar's play, especially a first period hit that he laid on Dion Phaneuf).
- Aaron Rome was injured early in the game and didn't return. If it's his groin, then we can probably expect him to sign a six-year deal any time now (note for Yahoo readers: that's a joke). Tomas Nosek also didn't get to play the entire contest after being ejected early in the second period for a boarding hit on Stuart Percy. I'm glad to see that Percy returned to the game looking no worse for wear. The Nosek hit was reckless. It's really too bad too because Nosek was having a good game up until that bad decision.
- Brendan Smith looked strong in his 25:57 of play and Xavier Ouellet continues to look every bit the part of a competent NHL player. Jensen was impressive in spurts and doesn't look like he's too far from ready. Sproul is offensively intelligent. Marchenko played almost 21 minutes and I don't remember a damn thing about him (which is a good thing)
- At forward, I thought Mitch Callahan played a good grinding game. Joakim Andersson does look healthier and more physically aggressive (although going 44% in the faceoff dot isn't going to do it). I was not impressed with Drew Miller. He played his defensive role exactly as expected, but didn't do anything outside of his own zone. Dan Cleary made one good defensive play in the third but otherwise looks like Dan Cleary from last season. Nestrasil drew some praise from Ken & Mickey in the booth in this one and he was pretty good, but he looked like he could use some additional seasoning to get used to making plays just a little faster.
- Stephen Weiss was an interesting case for me. I thought he played well in his own zone and I thought he was very good in the neutral zone while backchecking. Offensively, he looked like he would have gotten good results if he were playing with more offensively talented linemates, at times making drop passes to guys who weren't quite there for them yet. He's got to learn to throw pucks at the net from just above the high slot when given the chance. He had two opportunities to do this with his teammates driving toward the posts and didn't take either one.
Detroit's next game is on Wednesday night against Pittsburgh. This one will be on FS-D and on NHL Network in the US. We'll see you then!
(stick tap to @andrewcieslak for the "Nosek in the Champagne Room" promo title)