The Detroit Red Wings endured the wrath of the NHL schedule-makers, once again taking part in a back-to-back. The St. Louis Blues were the host this time around, and despite the assumed fatigue that was probably affecting the players, the Red Wings hung on and grabbed the two points in overtime.
This game started off really slowly. It wasn't even so much a case of two teams that don't see each other often having a feeling out process, but both teams were basically playing a tennis match out of the gate.
Scoring chances eventually picked up, and then magic truly returned for the first time this season. Off a dump-in, Teemu Pulkkinen did a drive-by behind the Blues' net to leave it for Brad Richards. He found Pavel Datsyuk in front, and one pass later, it was 1-0 Detroit
The lead didn't last. Kevin Shattenkirk made a pass to Kyle Brodziak that just narrowly avoided being offside. Brodziak didn't miss, sniping it top corner over Jimmy Howard's glove to tie the game. A few minutes later, on a zone entry, the Red Wings came back defensively, except all of them to one side of the ice. Dylan Larkin and Henrik Zetterberg running into each other didn't help, but the puck got to Jay Bouwmeester who walked in from the point and fired a shot that Jori Lehtera tipped in for a 2-1 St. Louis lead.
When it looked like the Red Wings would head into the locker room down a goal, Darren Helm carried the puck into the zone. He lost control after a Blues defender met him, but the puck found Luke Glendening who one-timed the puck past Jake Allen to tie the game late in the first. The four goals were a far cry from how the game started, and thankfully we got some scoring chances and some actual scoring.
Score: Tied 2-2
Standout players: Pavel Datsyuk, Brad Richards
Tough period: Justin Abdelkader, Brendan Smith
After a penalty-free first period, the referees finally decided they were going to call penalties tonight. Niklas Kronwall was the first victim, getting dinged with a holding penalty early in the second, and the Red Wings killed it off.
After scaring everyone yesterday with a potential leg injury, Larkin was a game-time decision tonight. The decision was a good one because the rookie sensation tallied another G on the scoresheet. A puck battle in the corner of the St. Louis zone ended with the puck squirting out to Zetterberg. The captain curled around to avoid a defender and then fired a shot at the goal. The puck deflected off Larkin and in for a 3-2 Red Wings lead.
The rest of the period saw a few Detroit chances, but they had to kill off another penalty thanks to Brendan Smith non-subtle interference. And when that was done, Howard did his best to make the one-goal lead stand up heading back into the locker room.
Score: 3-2 Detroit
Standout players: Jimmy Howard
Tough period: Brendan Smith, Niklas Kronwall
Detroit finally got a power play. They didn't score on it, but they got some quality chances that didn't kill momentum.
The story of the rest of the third period was that the Red Wings controlled the pace of the game. St. Louis had its bursts to try to tie the game. Detroit largely had the game under control, and they also had their chances to get the insurance goal or two. The best chance was a Larkin breakaway that Allen stuffed.
Despite their best efforts, the game didn't end in regulation. A turnover by the top line at the offensive circles spurred the Blues the other direction. Vladimir Tarasenko carried the puck on a 2-on-2, but the Blues player streaking to the net occupied both defenders. Tarasenko cut across the front of the net and tied the game 3-3.
Score: Tied 3-3
Standout players: Dylan Larkin
Tough period: Jonathan Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser
Teemu Pulkkinen wins it with a Pulk-annon on the power play!
Final score: 4-3 Detroit
Red Wings Player of the Game: Brad Richards
Spare tires (pumped by Roberto Luongo!)
- Dylan Larkin once again had a major impact on this game. He's the story again because his play just keeps making us write about him. Despite whiffing badly on the backcheck on the Tarasenko goal, he still had a net positive impact for the Red Wings. One of these days, he will score a goal on a breakaway.
- The Red Wings have now won three of four. Tonight, Detroit controlled the scoring chances battle at even strength. Dare I say we're discovering an offense?
- From J.J.: "Richards and Pulkky had the only two-point nights. Richards is the one of those two who didn't make a really REALLY bad play in the defensive zone." Considering all the worry about disrupting the lineup when Richards was healthy again, he's making his presence in the lineup felt.
- Luke Glendening scored a goal. Just writing that again because it's true. It was his first of the season. Despite all the conversation surrounding his presence and role in the lineup, he does have a history of scoring goals. Hopefully this gives him some confidence to start firing away more.
- I like this goaltending tandem we have, yes, I do. I also like how the Red Wings controlled the third period despite being on the business end of a back-to-back. They couldn't finish the game in regulation, but in the grand scheme of things, capitalizing on the power play with Pulkkinen is all we're going to remember from this game.
The Red Wings have a nice (and welcome) reprieve, as they don't play again until Wednesday against the Boston Bruins. Time to use that break to heal up and figure out how to keep this run going.