After an overtime loss against Washington, the Red Wings needed a win against one of the NHL's best teams to keep momentum in their division.
Petr Mrazek came out a bit "off" his game to start, but bounced back in dominant fashion to seal this win. With a handful of scary moments like Dylan Larkin leaving the game with an apparent lower-body injury, the Red Wings were able to come out with two points in regulation. The aforementioned 19-year-old rookie phenom continued his Calder-worthy rookie campaign with yet another goal, and dominant two-way play. No doubt about it, if the Calder voting measured all points of the game, Larkin would be a clear-cut winner at this point of the season. He does it all.
Let's get into my recap of the game, I've included GIFs for you to watch! Please excuse my analysis, as a lot of it went out the window after the second period. It was a really strange, and physical game. However, it was a win. So we're all happy. Right? RIGHT!
Red Wings came out well with some early chances. Jhonas Enroth stoned Gustav Nyquist point-blank, and I think he buries the puck there if he didn't have to get it to his strong side. After that, the Kings took over possession, and played great defensively. Seems like the Wings were doing a great job at cycling the puck, but were doing it a bit too much. The Kings are a team that will play hard on the puck, and push you off of it, which Nyquist learned when Jake Muzzin took him to the boards while he was trying to cycle it back to the blue line.
The Red Wings managed to get on the board first, with a power-play (!!!) goal by Tomas Tatar. Assists coming from Justin Abdelkader, and Henrik Zetterberg:
Not sure what LA was doing there. Left Tatar completely alone. He won't make a mistake there.
After the power-play, the Red Wings got sloppy. Let up a huge chance to Tyler Toffoli, which fortunately went off of Jonathan Ericsson's stick and went just an inch wide.
Wings were fortunate enough to go back on the power-play, but gave up a shorthanded goal when they were caught with four men deep in the zone. Jeff Carter went in on the breakaway, and buried it on the backhand-shelf due to his long reach. Brendan Smith was left on the chase, which is less than ideal for a guy playing his first game in over a week. Not really what you want to do, but okey-doke.
Mrazek played a strong period, making some big saves. DeKeyser took a high-stick in the closing minute of the period, so the Wings will start with just under a full two minutes of play in the second with the man advantage.
At the end of 20, shots are 14-10 in favor of Los Angeles who also hold the edge in even strength shot attempts, 18-10.
The Wings had a whole 30 seconds of power-play time before Abdelkader went off for holding. The Wings were able to keep the Kings off the scoresheet on the man advantage in this period, but it didn't take long for them to get going. Detroit made it 2-1, on an unassisted goal from Mike Green. His first as a Red Wing! I'd argue that Larkin deserves the helper on this:
Great play by Green to come in, and clean up the loose puck.
Less than three minutes later, the Wings made it 3-1 on a goal from Dylan Larkin. You know, that one kid. The wonderkid stretches out his leg to avoid an offside play, then Henrik Zetterberg carries it in. Justin Abdelkader generates a rebound, and Larkin cleans it up. Beautiful play:
The Kings were able to come within one off of another goal by Jeff Carter. Unfortunately, it was a pillow-soft goal for Petr Mrazek to let up. He doesn't do it often, but when he does, it's certainly noticeable. After that, he bounced back and made some pretty big saves to keep it at 3-2.
The Wings took three penalties in that period, but played well on the penalty-kill. Thankfully, they didn't give up a shorthanded goal on the four-minute power-play either. Little victories!
At the end of 40, shots are 30-19 in favor of Los Angeles who also hold the edge in even strength shot attempts, 35-18.
This was one of the worst periods of hockey ever. It was scoreless (so we won, which is great), but there was a flurry of scary moments. One of them being when Dylan Larkin left the ice after an ugly injury:
Larkin returned shortly after. He said on FSD "the knee is fine. Feels better with the win." I don't know what that means, but he looked fine after returning. Didn't seem to lose a step.
Another bad moment was when Danny DeKeyser took a puck right to the mug:
YUCK. Thankfully, DeKeyser returned with some patchwork.
The Kings continued to control much of the game, but played a heavy game in terms of physicality. They threw their weight around, but the Wings didn't buckle. In the closing seconds, Mrazek and the players in front of him came up with some huge saves, and blocks to seal the win. Normally I wouldn't be very happy with a win like this, but given all the possible injuries, and Milan Lucic acting like a baby, I have to say that this win feels good.
End of game, Kings owned possession. Shots on goal were 37-29. Even strength shot attempts were 48-34.
Petr Mrazek earned the first start for the game, while Dylan Larkin earned the third.
With a 3-2 final, Detroit shuts down one of the NHL's hottest teams right now. They've been playing a strong possession game up until tonight, but they found a way to win. Call it great goaltending, call it luck. Whatever you want to call it, I will call it a win. Wings earn their 10th win of the season, and look to keep it going against the St. Louis Blues tomorrow. Hats off to Dylan Larkin for his 3rd game-winning goal of his career.
Out of town report:
The Griffins won tonight, and Tomas Jurco scored a hat-trick along with an assist. Here's to hoping this amps up his confidence, and he can come back to Detroit and get himself some ice-time!