The Detroit Red Wings are 4-5-1 and are poised to be sub-.500 through October for the first time in 22 years. After a tough loss last night against the Ottawa Senators, the Wings have a chance to exact quick revenge tonight in the Canadian capital. Would the Red Wings be able to generate a better effort in the 2nd half of the back-to-back or will they continue to struggle to generate anything offensively?
The first period started with a bang as Dylan Larkin undressed Senators' captain Erik Karlsson and almost finished a beautiful play.
Anderson stops Larkin pic.twitter.com/YWJtGbA0ls— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 31, 2015
The Wings continued pressing, and showed signs of life before being derailed by a soft interference call on Niklas Kronwall. The Wings managed to kill the penalty off and were rewarded later with a soft slashing call on Ottawa's Cody Ceci. Unlike the Senators, the Wings were able to capitalize off a great wrist shot by Tomas Tatar and a great screen by Justin Abdelkader.
Tatar PPG pic.twitter.com/BfoODolkS4— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 31, 2015
On the goal, Henrik Zetterberg picked up his 500th assist, putting him at 799 career points. Zetterberg became the 7th player to reach 500 assists in a Red Wings uniform, joining Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Alex Delvecchio.
Of course, the Wings elected to roll Glendening's line for the shift after the goal and the Wings were immediately hemmed in their own zone. Brendan Smith took a bad high-sticking penalty and the Senators went right back to the powerplay. One of the things that drives me nuts is when you put your worst offensive line on the ice immediately after a goal. I understand that most of your top players just played on the powerplay but you are setting yourself up to kill all momentum. Nonetheless, the Wings were able to kill off the penalty thanks to some big saves from Petr Mrazek.
After he got out of the box, Smith started to join the rush, pulling off a nifty toe drag and then having a near breakaway with 10 seconds left in the period. Overall, this was the best period from the Red Wings in a long time.
Score: 1-0 Detroit (not a typo)
Shots: 13-9 Ottawa
Stick Taps: Dylan Larkin, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, Petr Mrazek, Brendan Smith
Ice Packs: Darren Helm
The Wings started off where they left off but had their momentum killed by an early high-sticking penalty to Nyquist, However, the Wings had a fantastic penalty kill. The Wings were rewarded for their efforts when Ottawa's Chris Neil got called for goaltender interference. It was a soft call as Mrazek flopped big time, but shut up I don't care. This powerplay looked like the Wings powerplay circa 2009 with some brilliant tic-tac-toe passing that concluded with a perfect slap pass from Zetterberg to Nyquist for the goal! 2-0 Red Wings. That assist was Zetterberg's 800th point, becoming the 7th player to hit that in a Red Wings jersey.
The momentum continued as the Wings were able to trap Ottawa in their own zone for almost 90 seconds. This is by far the best effort from Detroit. Play continued for awhile at an uneventful pace until Ottawa's Mark Stone caught Landon Ferraro with a really bad elbow to the jaw. Ferraro went to the quiet room and Stone somehow only got 2 minutes for the hit. I think Stone will get a phone call from the league office and could be looking at a 1-2 game suspension.
Unfortunately, the Wings could not make the Senators pay as they got really sloppy with their zone entries. After the powerplay ended, Kindl shot the puck into the Ottawa zone so the Wings could change lines. The Glendening line came on and immediately got hemmed in the D-zone. Karlsson took a slapshot from the point that rocketed into the slot where a wide-open Kyle Turris buried the puck for his 100th career goal. I refuse to comment again on how bad it is to put that line on the ice after a powerplay.
The Wings were able to recover and reclaimed control of the period and nearly converted on a Brendan Smith breakaway. He has easily been Detroit's best defenseman tonight and is reaping the benefits of playing with Nik Kronwall. With two minutes left, Darren Helm won an offensive zone faceoff (not a typo) and DeKeyser slid the puck over to Ericsson who rocketed a slapshot off the back of Jared Cowen and past Craig Anderson, 3-1 Red Wings! The period ended with some fantastic pressure by Detroit but they just could not find the back of the net. Doesn't matter, it's still the 2nd best game Detroit has played all season. Detroit's on pace to record more than 30 shots for the 1st time this season!
Score: 3-1 Detroit
Shots: 22-20 Detroit (not a typo)
Stick Taps: Brendan Smith, Henrik Zetterberg, Dylan Larkin
Ice Packs: None
The period started off with a quick 2-on-1 rush with Larkin and Abdelkader but they just weren't able to finish it. Then just seconds later, Larkin took a quick pass and zoomed into the offensive zone, put a subtle deke on Anderson, and then wrapped the puck into the net! 4-1 Red Wings just seconds into the period!
The Wings kept up the pressure and just minutes later, the Wings came down with a 3-on-1 and this time DeKeyser roofed one top shelf! That's a 5-1 lead for the Wings! The Wings offense finally clicked and they are taking it to Ottawa.
The rest of the game fell victim to score effects as the Wings just sat back a bit and allowed Ottawa to bring it to them. Ericsson and Alex Chiasson got into a bit of a scrap and Chiasson gave Ericsson a good spear to the crown jewels. Both players were given matching minors, but you can expect the league to take a look at Chiasson's play for a possible fine.
With just under 5 minutes to go, Jakub Kindl had a bad giveaway up the middle of his own zone and Mark Stone made them pay. 5-2 Detroit. Stone shouldn't even be in the game but whatever. Chris Neil tried to start some stuff with Ericsson, go figure. Both players were given game misconducts but at this point of the game, it really didn't matter. Bobby Ryan added a meaningless goal with 1:09 to go. The Wings managed to escape without any further extracurriculars and got their 5th win of the season!
Score: 5-3 Detroit
Shots: 36-28 Ottawa
Stick Taps: Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith,
Ice Packs: Jakub Kindl
Player of the Game: Henrik Zetterberg - had to give it to him for his 500th assist and 800th point. The captain just keeps churning along and now has 14 points in the first 11 games and is tied for 4th in NHL scoring.
- The Wings support in their own zone was phenomenal. The forwards provided great outlets to the defensemen and as a result the Wings were able to exit their zone cleanly for most of the night.
- Dylan Larkin was flying and had a great scoring opportunity in the 1st and 2nd periods before finally burying his great chance in the 3rd period. The kid looks great.
- This might have been the best career game for both Brendan Smith and Jonathan Ericsson. Both guys were jumping up in the offense, playing aggressively in their own zone, and made great plays all-around. Just a fantastic game for both guys.
- The Glendening line was just awful. I don't want to beat a dead horse but this line has been terrible the past few games. Blashill should really look at making additional changes focused on this line.