It was a special night in Toronto, Ontario for Red Wings legends Sergei Fedorov, and Nicklas Lidstrom for their induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
I thought to myself "the Wings are playing in front of two former-Detroit legends? This could be ugly." Well, I was right. It was ugly. The team didn't play very well, and didn't do a great job at controlling the game. It took extra time to get there, but they came up with a very big win against a much-improved Toronto team. Let's go through my very vague recap (sorry, folks.)
You'd swear this was a game of curling. Both teams just shooting the puck down the ice for icing. It was almost painful. Lots of the 4th line getting pinned in their own zone, which is nothing new. The Red Wings did a good job at keeping the Leafs honest, and low event. Gustav Nyquist and Darren Helm both had great chances, but James Reimer made sharp saves to keep it tied at nil.
The first goal of the period came from the CAP! Captain Henrik Zetterberg scored his 300th NHL goal on a complete flub by Reimer. Assists came from Dylan Larkin, and Justin Abdelkader. Watch it HERE. The best part was probably Henrik Zetterberg giving Larkin a little wink right after the goal:
At the end of 20, Wings lead the Leafs 1-0. Shots in favor of the Leafs 12-9.
The Wings started the period with a penalty to kill, which turned into a five-on-three. Detroit was efficient with their penalty-kill, and got out unharmed in terms of the scoreboard. After the penalties, the Leafs very-much maintained momentum and kept Detroit from getting anything going. Because of that, puck possession was in favor of the blue team. Petr Mrazek remained solid for the Wings, pretty much keeping everything together for the team.
The Wings played like crap. They only had three shots the entire period. Unacceptable. Here's to hoping they change things in the 3rd.
The Wings came out drawing a penalty right off the face-off when Zetterberg took an unintentional high-stick to the face. But alas, it came up short when Jakub Kindl gave Shawn Mathias a short-handed breakaway chance which Mrazek shut the door on. Even with multiple chances on the man-advantage, they just couldn't pull away from the Leafs.
The Leafs were able to tie the game late in the 3rd on a very lucky goal, which came from a number of failed attempts to clear the puck. The Wings have played an absolute chickenshit game up until now.
The Wings did a good job of cracking down, and getting to business. They had some great chances, which includes an unbelievable stop by Reimer on Nyquist. If you saw it, you can attest. I thought it was in, even though it was a weirdly broken play. It didn't take long for the Red Wings to bounce back, and win this game. Who did it, you ask? Take a guess. I'll bet you guess wrong. Jakub Kindl goes nearly-end-to-end, and seals this game. That's right, Jakub Kindl, the guy who didn't exactly have a banner game scored the game-winner. Assists came from Tomas Tatar, and Teemu Pulkkinen. Watch it HERE.
So, it wasn't exactly a pretty win. The Wings were outplayed nearly all game-long, and couldn't get it going on the power-play. It is what it is. It's not a sustainable way of winning, but the fact of the matter is that they won, and it's early in the season. There is plenty of room for improvement, and we have some key players coming back from injury.
We draw the Dallas Stars next. A team who are absolutely lighting it up as of late, so it's not going to be easy. The Wings will need to play a more honest way of defense in order to make this happen. I think Petr Mrazek has earned the start with this one, but who knows. He was absolutely brilliant tonight in every facet. For now, WE DANCE!