The Wings traveled into Montreal on Saturday to play an undefeated Habs team in the aftermath of Detroit suffering their first loss to Carolina. Here's how it went
After about three minutes of both sides feeling each other out, Joakim Andersson decides that using his first shift to hit a guy in the numbers is a good idea. It isn't. Fortunately the Wings kill it off on some very good PK work by Jonathan Ericsson. A bit later the Wings get their own PP chance on a Semin slash but don't do anything with that advantage either.
Helm takes the next penalty to make it three calls in the first ten minutes, this time for holding the stick. The PK is again dangerous, but the game stays tied thanks to Markov flubbing a great chance on a rebound. Thing calmed down from there until Nyquist missed on a breakaway.
Overall, Montreal outplayed Detroit in the first.
Shots: 12-8 Montreal
Standout Players: Ericsson
Tough Period: Pulkkinen, Kindl
The 2nd started off fun for both sides until Dylan Larkin threw a centering pass trying to find Abdelkader that instead found the inside of Price's five-hole and then the back of the net to put Detroit up 1-0 at 4:47 of the period. Not long after that, the Habs get a power play on a brutally soft call. During the advantage, Brendan Gallagher slide-tackled the puck into the net and after a lengthy review it was counted a good goal to make it 1-1.
Detroit responded to the bad call by playing like shit for the next few minutes until Gustav Nyquist draws a penalty cutting across the middle in the offensive zone. It took a while to get going, but this PP got a couple good looks while still managing to do nothing. Then later they got another chance to not score on the power play thanks to Torrey Mitchell boarding Teemu Pulkkinen.
The Wings had a chance to respond to the bad call and passed on it.
Shots: 21-17 Montreal
Standout Players: Larkin
Tough Period: The refs, Nyquist
Oh you know. Just a 19-year-old, making a grown-ass play against the best goalie in the world. pic.twitter.com/QyEsJPmaH8— Ky.L. Stine (@KyleWIIM) October 18, 2015
The third started sloppy but promising until Ericsson takes a tripping penalty about 5 minutes in thanks to a broken play turned breakaway. Petry scores a minute into the PP to make it 2-1 for the Habs. The next ten minutes were mostly run by the Habs, leading to another power play for Montreal on an interference call in front. This one led to nothing, but gave the Habs two minutes to keep Detroit away from Price.
Just over two minutes left to go in the game and Plekanec salts it away on a centering pass from a Mike Green turnover deep. Just when you think it's going to end 3-1, Brian Flynn backhands it from center into the net just before time expires.
Score: 4-1 Habs
Shots: 40-22 Habs
Standout Players: Nobody
Tough Period: Everybody
- - -
- I wish Brad Richards still had the step he's lost because you can still see the hockey IQ is there and the stick-handling is capable of handling the extra speed, but that step just isn't there anymore so the hockey smarts have to be redistributed to get him in safer position rather than taking advantage of what he knows.
- Nyquist and Tatar are doing impressive things between the tops of the circles in each zone and not much exciting outside of that area. Those impressive things will come, but I'd rather see them sooner than later.
- Jonathan Ericsson still doesn't move the puck up ice well, but man oh man is he good at defending on a PK. He saved a goal with a glove stop tonight after the puck got behind Mrazek and pretty consistently eliminated sticks on the back door when Mrazek kicked rebounds out there.
- I wrote that last bullet before the last ten minutes of the third period where Ericsson really imploded. I don't want to erase the thought, but I feel I should mention the good and the bad.
- The aggressive defense in the offensive zone backed up by forwards being willing to jump back and help out their blueliners has disappeared. Part of that is because the Wings' offense has largely been one-and-done in the last two games, but there's a disconnect between the forwards and the defense lately and that's causing problems all over.
- The Wings getting consistently outshot stems from the aforementioned disconnect and also from an unwillingness to take a shot for the purpose of creating rebounds in traffic. The Wings are content to skate around the outside and the cuts across the zone aren't timed to when the puck-carrier is facing the right direction.
Peter Mrazek is your Red Wings PoTG
Next up: The Wings travel out west for a visit to Edmonton on Wednesday