RIVALRY NIGHT! Who doesn't love a good heated rivalry between two teams who never actually had a legitimate rivalry? The last time Detroit saw the Capitals, they came out with a 1-0 win where Petr Mrazek was lights out, and Andreas Athanasiou played the game-winning heroics. Fortunately, Mrazek came out and played another solid game. But unfortunately, it wasn't enough to bring home the W.
Detroit played dominantly at even strength tonight, but had their fate sealed with all of the SIX (6!) penalties they took. Washington took this game into overtime, and it didn't take long. Here's my breakdown of the game:
Wings came out with guns-a-blazin', controlling and managing the puck very well. At 2:48, the Wings struck first. Dylan Larkin takes the puck in and snipes it past Braden Holtby's blocker. Pavel Datsyuk picks up the only assist on the goal, and the play that he made to create the chance was absolutely gorgeous:
There were five penalties in the first period, and four of them were called on Detroit. Thankfully, the PK stood tall and held the Capitals to only one goal, which came from Justin Williams. Bit of a tic-tac-toe play that Mrazek just didn't have much of a chance on.
At the end of 20, score is tied at 1-1. Shots are in favor of Washington, 10-7. Detroit controlled even strength shot attempts, 9-5. Gotta stay out of the penalty box. Oh, Alexander Ovechkin had five shots on goal in the first period.
Washington outshot the Wings in the first part of the 2nd period, despite the Red Wings sustaining very strong possession at 5v5. Thankfully Detroit did not take anymore penalties, and had one look on the man advantage when Karl Alzner went off for holding Justin Abdelkader. But you know, they didn't score. I will say that they did look very good in that sequence. Moved the puck well, got it to the net, but Holtby stood tall.
Henrik Zetterberg found Teemu Pulkkinen who was cherry-picking, which sent him on a breakaway. He was so close. He even thought he scored:
Braden Holtby remained to be the story for the Capitals, as he made a huge save on a somewhat pillow-soft shot by Darren Helm. If Backstrom wasn't doing such a good job at back-checking him, I think this goes in:
At the end of 40, the score is still knotted at 1-1. Shots are shifted to Detroit's favor, 19-18. Detroit controlled even strength shot attempts yet again, and they now sit at 27-16.
The Wings played well, but this period was very much a goaltender's duel. Actually, the entire game was. Both Braden Holtby and Petr Mrazek made huge saves to keep their teams knotted-up. I would argue that Holtby had to make the bigger saves, as Detroit pushed way harder.
Detroit took two penalties in the 3rd period, which brought their total to six for the game. That was the game-breaker right there. You cannot take penalties and expect to win in this league. If you take away half of them, this guy could very likely end up like the last meeting with Washington. This game was decided in overtime, but at the end of 60 minutes, shots are even at 26 a piece. Detroit still in control of even strength shot attempts, 36-31.
It took the Capitals all of 45 seconds to end this game. Evgeny Kuznetsov torched Henrik Zetterberg, went to the net, and squeaked it past an out-of-position Petr Mrazek. This happened for a few reasons - Pavel Datsyuk blew a tire, and tumbled to the ice, Jakub Kindl went off for a change at the worst possible moment, and by the time Kuznetsov had the puck, Zetterberg had been on the ice for 45 seconds, and was completely gassed. Players like Kuznetsov won't make a mistake. He was absolutely in a perfect situation to score that goal.
Wings escape with the loser point after dominating practically all of the game. It happens. For now, I'll be happy about the point, but the penalty-calling was absolutely atrocious, whether they were warranted or not. Additionally, someone needs to fix this power-play. It's not doing much, in my opinion. Ah well. Until next time!