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Game Recap: Say Whaaaaattttt?!?!?! Red Wings 3 - Canucks 2

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Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to the Calgary Flames, the Wings continued their trek through western Canada, meeting the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks and Wings generally have very entertaining games, as the Sedin wizardy is countered by the magic of the Euro twins. Unfortunately the Wings were minus one magician, but could wizard-in-training Dylan Larkin help slams the brakes on the Wings skid?

1st Period

The story of the 1st period was turnovers. In the first 3-4 minutes of the game, the Wings gave up several 2-on-1's and breakaways, forcing Petr Mrazek to come up big, which he did. Can we stop for a moment and talk about how it's absurd that he has a 3.07 GAA AND A .922 SV%. That's just not fair to him. Ok, back to the action. The Wings in-zone coverage once again looked sloppy as players ran into each other on multiple occasions. The Wings got a chance to go up early on an Alex Edler holding penalty but ultimately squandered away the powerplay with too much perimeter play and then for good measure, Gus Nyquist took a hooking penalty. On the ensuing Canucks' powerplay, the Wings had another breakdown in defense as Joakim Andersson skated too deep into the zone and wasn't able to get out to the point to stop the shot from Vancouver's Chris Tanev. The rest of the period was largely uneventful for Detroit, aside from Mrazek making an unbelievable stop with 7 seconds to go on a bad Danny DeKeyser turnover.

Score: 1-0 Vancouver

Shots: 9-7 Vancouver

Stick Taps: Petr Mrazek, Drew Miller

Ice Packs: Gus Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Danny DeKeyser, Jonathan Ericsson

2nd Period

So the 2nd period was essentially a carbon copy of the 1st period. The Wings spent a large majority of the time trying to identify what the little black disc on the ice was and how to advance it 60 feet, while the Canucks continued to press. Mrazek stood on his head once again, making several huge saves on the Sedins and on the powerplay. The Wings had 2 opportunities to cash in on the powerplay but were as dangerous as a small puppy. The only real positive for the Wings is that they didn't close the period down 3-0, as Danny DeKeyser made a miraculous goal-line save.

The only skater for the Wings that did anything other than twiddle his thumbs was Henrik Zetterberg, but unfortunately he was not able to do it alone. I'm starting to get very depressed as I ponder whether or not Charlie Conway, Goldberg, and the rest of the Mighty Ducks might blowout this team. Oh and Daniel Sedin tried to play volleyball with the puck and bat one in but the ref gave him the 'ol Dikembe Mutombo fingerwag and waved off the goal.

Score: 2-0 Canucks

Shots: 22-11 Canucks

Stick Taps: Petr Mrazek, Henrik Zetterberg, Danny DeKeyser

Ice Packs: Brendan Smith, Alexey Marchenko

3rd Period

Umm what. Did I just watch the same time that I had been watching for the previous 40 minutes? The Wings came fast out of the gate, with Abdelkader-Nyquist-Zetterberg setting the tone from the very first shift. Then BANG, Pulkkinen makes a marvelous play, spins off a Canucks defender and buries a breakaway on Ryan Miller. Then a few minutes later, the Wings go on the powerplay and Tatar scores on a beautiful wrist shot! Tie game, 2-2. The Wings continued to keep up the pressure but could not break Miller. However, you could argue that it was the best period they've played all season. There were minimal giveaways, few good chances against, and a lot of the play was in the Canucks zone. To overtime we go!

Score 2-2

Shots: 30-23

Stick Taps: Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader, Gustav Nyquist, Teemu Pulkkinen, Tomas Tatar, Petr Mrazek

Ice Packs:

Overtime

After last night's OT loss to Calgary, I really wasn't expecting Detroit to have much energy in the tank. Fortunately, just seconds into the frame, Daniel Sedin took a tripping penalty and the Wings went to a 4-on-3 powerplay. There was a lot of movement, shiny lights, and bright objects but little substance and the powerplay flamed out. Then we went back to 3-on-3 and the end-to-end rushes began. The Canucks had a great chance, but Mrazek robbed them with a right pad save. Then, as the Canucks pushed the puck ahead to come down, Mrazek darted out of the net and fired a rocket pass to Nyquist who came in on a breakaway and scored on a beautiful low glove-side shot! Wings win!

Player of the Game: Petr Mrazek. If Mrazek doesn't stand on his head in the first 40 minutes, the Wings aren't in position to win this game. To top it off, Mrazek gets the primary assist on Nyquist's game winning goal.

Observations

  • The first 40 minutes was easily the worst hockey I've seen the Red Wings play in nearly 20 years of watching them. So many turnovers, guys didn't know where they were supposed to be...it was a mess
  • Petr Mrazek is unreal. His goals against average will finally go down as he didn't give up 3 goals! His save percentage on the other hand will increase to a sensational .925 SV%.
  • Gustav Nyquist seems to be getting his legs going again. He lead the Wings forwards with 12 successful zone entries through 60 minutes - no other forward had more than 5. In fact, he had 25% of the Wings zone entries on the night at 5v5. If he can keep it up, the Wings will start to rediscover that offense.
  • Dylan Larkin finally had an off night. The kid seemed to lose his balance a lot tonight so I wonder if there was a problem with his skates. He just couldn't generate anything at all.
  • Henrik Zetterberg is an amazing leader. He was the only forward playing through the first 2 periods and something must've been said in the locker room given the way the Wings started the 3rd period. Sensational man, sensational beard.