The stage was set for the Detroit Red Wings in their last game. They had three days off and were facing a Vancouver Canucks team who had been one of the worst possession teams since the start of December. The Canucks had played the day before and were going to be without their captain Henrik Sedin. Perfect, right? Well, the Wings got rocked early and managed to rally for a point before losing in the shootout. Now, the Calgary Flames, winner of seven straight prior to their loss on Saturday to the St. Louis Blues are in town. Would the Wings be able to douse the Flames? Here's how it went down.
The Wings started off much better and earned an early powerplay opportunity just 4:11 in. However, the Wings who have converted just 6 of their past 35 attempts (17.1%) were unable to generate a shot on goal. That's been fairly consistent the past few games and has a lot to do with poor zone entries. However, as soon as the powerplay ended, the Henrik Zetterberg had a couple of good chances, but could not bury them.
The middle of the period was largely uneventful, save for another lackluster Red Wings powerplay. I don't know what it's going to take to get these guys going but the zone entries are awful and the players are stagnant.
With about 4:30 left in the period, Luke Glendening had the opportunity for a routine clear, but elected to try a drop pass through his legs in traffic. The following ensued.
Yes, not only did the Flames get several fantastic chances, but Glendening took a penalty to put the Flames on the powerplay. I have no more words as you all know how I feel about Luke Glendening. Thankfully for him, the Wings killed off the powerplay and got to the end of the period unscathed.
Shots: 15-13 Calgary
Standout Period: Henrik Zetterberg, Dylan Larkin
Tough Period: Jakub Kindl, Luke Glendening
The Wings started off the second period a step slow and Larkin took a hooking penalty just a minute and a half in. Good news for Larkin, it was his first minor penalty in 10 games. Bad news is Calgary's Dennis Wideman found the back of the net on a seeing-eye shot on the powerplay. 1-0 Flames. Brendan Smith tried to get in the way of the shot, but he was late and I really didn't like that play. Ended up creating more of a screen.
The Wings didn't like getting scored on and turned on the jets. Just 5 minutes later, Larkin found the back of the net on a rebound tap-in.
Not to be outdone, Brad Richards scored just 45 seconds later on a rocket of a slapshot! 2-1 Wings!
The Wings continued to apply heavy pressure, hemming the Flames in their own zone for long periods of time. Finally, the Wings broke through again, this time Gustav Nyquist!
The Wings continued to push and got to the end of the period with a 3-1 lead!
Score: 3-1 Detroit
Shots: 28-21 Detroit
Standout Period: Zetterberg, Larkin, Brad Richards, Brendan Smith, Mike Green
Tough Period: Glendening
The third period started off with a terrible call on Darren Helm for tripping. His skates got locked up with the Flames player and the refs decided that was a trip. The Wings faced a few dangerous chances but survived the penalty kill.
The Wings then got a powerplay of their own when Larkin got under the skin of Sean Monahan who retaliated by taking a roughing penalty. Obviously the Wings failed to do anything on the powerplay as is the norm. In fact, the Red Wings only have 42 shots on goal in their last 29 powerplay chances. That is absolutely brutal.
As the period dragged on, the Flames started to make a bit of a push but never really threatened. Then, with 4:12 to go in the 3rd, Justin Abdelkader and Kris Russell were sent off for minor penalties to put the teams at 4-on-4. However, Flames coach Bob Hartley elected to pull goaltender Karri Ramo and it paid off. The Flames maintained possession in Detroit's zone and found a wide-open Dougie Hamilton for the one-timer goal. Flames pull their goalie and score on a one-timer from Dougie Hamilton
Great, the Wings were going to make me white knuckle through another third period. Fortunately, Abdelkader said enough is enough and nailed a 110 foot empty net goal to seal the win!
Score: 4-2 Wings
Standout Period: Zetterberg, Larkin, Abdelkader
Tough Period: None
Player of the Game: Henrik Zetterberg
- The Wings won a game by more than one goal! That almost never happens. No seriously. Of the Red Wings 17 wins, this is only their 5th by more than one goal and first since December 3rd's 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
- After being questionable to even play the game, Zetterberg absolutely dominated the game in all three periods. He was an offensive dynamo on almost every shift and basically willed the Wings to play better in the 2nd period.
- Speaking of the 2nd period, it was probably the Wings best period of hockey in more than 2 weeks. They were flying in that period and dominated the puck. 5v5 shot attempts were 19-7 in favor of Detroit in the period.
- I'm really starting to like Blashill and his quick on-the-fly decisions. He started the game with the Kindl-Marchenko pairing, but in their first 3:35 together at 5v5, they were on the ice for 10 shot attempts against and 0 for. Basically they were getting slaughtered. Blashill quickly realized this and switched to Kindl-Green and Smith-Marchenko, who were substantially better.
- Petr Mrazek finally got some goal support! No seriously. The Wings have scored 2 or fewer goals in 11 of Mrazek's 19 starts. Give him some goal support and he'll steady the ship. The Wings have earned 18 of a possible 26 points (69.2%) in his starts since the beginning of November.