Red Wings come in tonight on a four game winning streak, and look to make it five right before they get a nice week-long break to rest up, and think about things non-hockey related. Minnesota hasn't been good as of late, their last two wins were against some of the league's worst teams, and goaltending is a huge question mark still. Even though Detroit is missing their two starting goaltenders in Jimmy Howard and Jonas Gustavsson (wait, oh yeah.. he's our backup. bleh), goalies Petr Mrazek and Thomas McCollum (!!!!) have stood tall and given Detroit a very strong core of goaltending youth. LET'S GO!
The game started off a bit dull. Not many shots, not too many chances. Red Wings cycling the puck very well in both their zone, and Minnesota's. Red Wings were the first to get on the board.. And who else, but Teemu Pulkkinen with his first career NHL goal at the 9:09 mark of the period. An absolute howitzer via a great feed from Stephen Weiss and Brendan Smith:
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Shortly after, Mikko Koivu knotted the game up with a power-play goal. Right through Petr Mrazek's five-hole.. Not the prettiest goals for Petr to give up. Goal came at 13:22. About a minute later, Detroit was able to take the lead again on another ripper-of-a-shot by Jonathan Ericsson. Assists come from Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg. *SWEDEN!* Period ends with the Wings ahead, 2-1, and the shots in favor of Minnesota, 10-6.
This period was a lot of fun. Why? Because more goals! (Red Wings goals) Despite not having the edge in shots, Detroit was able to capitalize on some great special teams work, going two for two on the PK, and one for one on the PP. First goal of the period came at 3:41, when Kyle Brodziak took a penalty by interfering with Gustav Nyquist. Of course, Goose took it to heart and potted his 11th power-play goal of the season on a feed from Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg. The next goal came via The X MAN! Xavier Ouellet rips a shot and it bounces off of Justin Fontaine's foot and changes paths to hit the twine. Assists to Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader on this one. At that point, Mike Yeo had enough of the goalie who was brought in to apparently save the team, and put in Darcy Kuemper. 2nd Period ends with Detroit on top 4-1, despite still being outshot 22-13.
This period fucking sucked. Detroit entered up by three goals, and ended tied. Classic case of score effects, Jonathan Ericsson sucking at hockey, and playing on your heels. Atrocious play in their own zone, and no bite like they started the game with.
No goals, big saves by Petr Mrazek. Shootout? Ok.
Petr stands tall and denies both Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, while Pavel Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist scored and sent Darcy Kuemper and the Minnesota Wild home with another loss.
It was a pretty bad way to win, and Detroit was horribly outshot, which is bad.. But hey, a win is a win. Wings go onto the All-Star break with a five game winning streak, and a heap of happy fans. Rest up, boys. All of you! (Seriously, who isn't thankful that none of our guys are in the ASG? Because if you aren't, you should be.)
No one is happy that they blew a 4-1 lead, but we can just sweep that under the rug and try our best to believe that it will never happen again. I'm sure Mike Babcock will address that at some point. Or he won't. Or he just might kind of address it. Who knows. Anyways...