Well, it's the only game in the NHL today.
The Red Wings went on with their ways of collecting at least one point over their past seven games. Unfortunately for them, the only got one against a division opponent today. It was an ugly game in a handful of ways, but the fact of the matter is that the Red Wings only managed to score one goal.
In a press scrum after the game, Henrik Zetterberg was asked a handful of questions about Dylan Larkin, who we have heard a whole lot about. Why? Because he's extraordinarily talented. We know that. We watch it happen nearly every game. Why don't we hear questions being asked about what's causing all of these late-game meltdowns that cost the team valuable points? Why not hear about what is happening with this dismal power-play?
I'm venting. Sorry. Here is my recap:
Hey, bad news. The Red Wings got scored on 28 seconds in! Good news, it was called back on goaltender interference because Jonathan Huberdeau went sliding into Petr Mrazek on his own (and unintentional.) Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant challenged the play after talking to the referees about Kronwall tripping him into Mrazek's path. After reviewing, it stood as no goal. Here's a look at the play:
The Wings got pounced on by the Panthers for much of the first period. Mike Green took two separate minor penalties, but one was offsetting. The Wings did a great job on PK, but the PP fell flat as usual. It just looks like they're not moving to make room like they were last year. Teams are closing gaps, and it's creating a lot of blocked shots, and missed chances.
In the final 10 minutes, Detroit started playing a much better structured game, and took control of possession. They had a handful of chances, but Roberto Luongo is still really good at what he does. He made some big saves to keep this one neck-and-neck in terms of the score.
At the end of 20 minutes, we're tied at nil. Shots are 10-9 in favor of Detroit who also control 5v5 shot attempts 14-10.
The Red Wings took a slew of penalties in this period, and call it what you want, the officiating in this game was atrocious. This was a relatively low-event period, but the Wings were able to break the tie with a goal from none other than the boy wonder Dylan Larkin. He capitalized on a turnover from Aleksander Barkov, and went in all alone to snipe it past Roberto Luongo. Seriously filthy stuff here. Selke smooth:
After the goal, the game got a bit more scrappy. The Wings took two penalties, and killed off a five-on-three situation, even thought the officiating was so bad that they failed to call one of the Panthers players moving Luke Glendening's broken stick out of the way. Outside of the officiating and the fantastic penalty killing, Petr Mrazek was one of the main stories in this period. He make numerous big saves, and kept his team in it when they were down a man (or two.) Watch how square he stays with the puck on this huge save early in the 2nd period when Florida was on the power play:
Mrazek stopped another shot off of that rebound, because he's just downright nasty.
At the end of 40 minutes, Detroit is up 1-0. Shots are 22-15 in favor of Florida. Detroit, however, owns 5v5 shot attempts which are 22-19.
This period was a showcase for one of Detroit's gleaming flaws: The power-play. I don't know what it is with it, but they cannot get anything going. They went zero-for-four on the man advantage in this game. When you're playing against awful officiating, you need to score when given the chance. They simply could not.
Florida was able to tie this game at 14:38 of the period on a goal from Reilly Smith (of course.) Mrazek wasn't able to get square after trying to track the puck, and it bounced right off Smith and hit Mrazek, then went in. That was enough to take this game to extra time. The way this story ends really sucks.
The Panthers were able to beat the Red Wings on a break, and a late entry by Brian Campbell who sniped it past Mrazek. The break came due to a change, which left Justin Abdelkader chasing.
I'm sorry for the lack of analysis, because this one really takes the wind out of my sails. It's easier to stomach blowing a lead when you win the game in overtime, but when you do it like this (again), it's really gut-wrenching.
The team has a serious problem, and it's the inability to score on the power-play. If I was coach Blashill, I would have a serious consulting with assistant Pat Ferschweiler on how inept this PP unit has been. As a fan, it's seriously concerning and needs to be fixed. Whether it takes the bench boss taking it over completely, or bringing in someone else, the team isn't going to be able to sustain leads without the ability to score when given the chance.