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Devils Catch Fire Late, Burn Red Wings - Devils 3 Red Wings 2 OT

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Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

After a much needed win over the Canadiens, the Detroit Red Wings made the short trip over to the Prudential Center for a date with the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have surprised many this season by remaining in playoff contention this late in the season. Would the Wings be able to keep up their hot streak or would the Devils extinguish the flames? Here's how it went down.

First Period

I think I just watched a hockey game and a knitting competition broke out. Sheesh. The Devils did the best they could to limit Detroit's speed through the neutral zone by forechecking aggressively and loading up in the neutral zone. The Wings couldn't get anything going and were only successful on nine of their 26 attempted zone entries. Probably the most notable thing was Jordan Tootoo hilariously getting called for too many men on the ice when he flipped into the space between the two benches where the on-ice broadcaster stands.

Zetterberg got called for an infrequently officiated rule when he batted the puck out of the faceoff dot with his hand. I affectionately refer to this rule as the "Kris Draper rule". Nonetheless, it put the Wings shorthanded to start the second period.

Score: 0-0

Shots: 10-10

Standout Players: Jimmy Howard

Tough Periods: Brendan Smith,

Second Period

The Wings started the second period on the penalty kill to finish out Zetterberg's penalty but killed it with no problem. This period was more of the same at 5v5 with both teams struggling to get anything going through the neutral zone. The Wings went back to the powerplay and failed miserably scored a beautiful goal on a shot-pass from Zetterberg to Nyquist. The whole play was made by Kronwall walking the blue line to create space for Zetterberg.

More 5v5 mess and then another Wings powerplay! The Wings lolly-gagged around for the first bit of the powerplay and Howard had to make a MONSTER save. Then, off the rebound from Howard, the Wings skated the puck up and found a fresh from the bench Tomas Tatar who buries the wrist shot! TWO POWERPLAY GOALS.

Score: 2-0 Detroit

Shots: 26-20 New Jersey

Standout Players: Howard, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar,

Tough Periods: Mike Green

Third Period

Geez I don't know how Devils fans can watch this neutral zone mush 82 games a year. The Wings came out flat-footed and just a couple of minutes into the period, Damon Severson fired a knuckballing 58-footer by Howard for his first goal of the season. After that, the next ten minutes seemed to go by in a blur of neutral zone chaos and the odd shot on goal.

With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Devils got a penalty on a play that was originally offsides. It's frustrating that a penalty can occur after a play was clearly offside but missed by the linesman. The Devils of course scored on the PP with 5:20 remaining. Jeff Blashill challenged that the Devils player made contact with Howard's stick, but the refs determined that the contact occurred after the puck had already gone in. 2-2 game. YOU KNOW WHAT'S COMING NEXT.

Score: 2-2

Shots: 36-25 New Jersey

Standout Players: Howard

Tough Periods: Everyone looked flat-footed

Overtime

In the first minute of OT, Schneider made two MONSTROUS saves on Tatar and then Datsyuk. The Devils flew down the ice and Howard had to make a great save on a slap-pass play. After the Devils wasted a solid 1:30 circling the puck in the O-Zone, Datsyuk blew by a tired Devils defenseman but was denied at the goal line by Schneider. After a few close but no cigar chances for the Wings, Lee Stempniak flipped an aerial backhand pass to Kyle Palmieri who beat Howard on a gorgeous top-shelf backhand goal. Devils win.

Player of the Game - Jimmy Howard. He did everything he could to keep the Wings in it, but just didn't get enough help.

Observations

  • My God the Devils are a boring team to watch. There were four red sweaters in the neutral zone for almost half the game. I don't think you could pay me to watch that for 82 games.
  • However, much credit is due to the Devils who managed to churn out a win despite missing Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac.
  • The Wings just did not have their legs in this game. 5v5 shot attempts finished at 42-27 in favor of New Jersey and the Wings finished with a 5v5 score-adjusted CF% of 42.6%
  • Jimmy Howard was brilliant. I mean lights out brilliant. He got zero help from his defensemen in clearing out rebounds, and had to battle scoring chance after scoring chance.
  • Every Red Wing skater looked out of it. There was not a single skater who I thought played well. The streak should have ended tonight, but Howard made sure this team got a point.
  • This was the Red Wings 8th blow 3rd period lead of the season in just 30 games. That's not good. Not at all.
  • Despite all of the negativity, the Red Wings found a way to extend their point streak to 13 games, tied for the longest streak in the NHL this season. The next record for the Wings to chase is the 20-game point streak the Wings had in 2005-2006. Of course in that streak they went 17-0-3 on their way to a 58-win season.