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Devils Burn Wings Early, Hold Third Period Lead - Devils 4 Wings 3

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Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

After going 0-1-2 in their previous 3 games, the Detroit Red Wings bounced back in a big way, beating the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Sunday. That win marked just their 5th win by 2 or more goals this season. Additionally, they managed to hang on to a 3rd period lead for the first time in forever. Now the New Jersey Devils come to town, a team that rallied from a 2-goal 3rd period deficit just over a week ago to steal 2 points from Detroit. Would the Wings be able to put away the Devils this time or would the Devils have another trap trick up their sleeves?

First Period

The Red Wings kicked off the first period extremely well. Just 7 minutes into the period, the 5v5 shot attempts were 10-2. Even the 4th line had some great looks but Joakim Andersson just couldn't bury them. The Wings got a powerplay opportunity and immediately you could see that it was more dangerous. The switch they made was to run the powerplay from the left boards as opposed to the right boards. However, the momentum was killed when Henrik Zetterberg took a bad holding penalty.

Just as the 4-on-4 was expiring, Kyle Palmieri threw in a weird shot off the end boards. Instead of smothering the puck, Jimmy Howard elected to let it bounce off of his paddle. Palmieri snagged the puck and shoveled it past Howard.

Then 42 seconds later, Jordin Tootoo scores after he laid a big hit on Brendan Smith. Nothing Howard can do about this one. 2-0 Devils. You would hope they were done, but nope the Devils had more in them. Just 1:30 after that, David Schlemko scores on a beautiful far side wrist shot.

Why was Schlemko so open? Re-watch the beginning part of the video and look at Palmieri knock the stick out of Nyquist's hand. This makes Nyquist late for the backcheck. Should Nyquist have held on to his stick tighter? Sure. Should that have been called a slash? Probably not. Still worth noting. But yea, that's 3 Devils goals in 2:12. Howard's pulled and in comes Petr Mrazek. Just when all hope was lost, our lord and savior Dylan Larkin finds the back of the net on the powerplay!

See what happens when you run the powerplay off the left boards! Magic.The Wings tried to ho-hum it and get to the intermission. Well this is what happens when you do that.

A bad flat-footed challenge by Joakim Andersson when he knows Jakub Kindl has pinched is just stupid. Mrazek saves the day. The Wings finally escape the period down only 3-1 but it was pure luck. If you removed the score from the period, the Wings look like they dominated. 5v5 shot attempts were 17-6 Wings and 5v5 scoring chances were 11-3 also in favor of the Wings.

Score: 3-1 New Jersey

Shots: 13-7 Detroit

Standout Period: Dylan Larkin

Tough Period: Joakim Andersson, Jimmy Howard

Second Period

This was the period of special teams. The Wings started the period by quickly going back to 4-on-4 as Abdelkader and Adam Henrique took coincidental minors. The Wings survive that before taking their 6th too many men penalty of the season, 2nd most in the NHL. The Wings actually executed a great penalty kill and were rewarded when the Devils took a holding the stick penalty. Unfortunately the Wings zone entries were so terrible that they never even got the chance to setup and registered zero shots.

We managed to make it almost a full minute before Danny DeKeyser and Mike Cammalleri took coincidental minors to put us back at 4v4. After finishing up with that, the Wings swiftly returned to the powerplay. Off of a mad scramble, Datsyuk and Richards found Mike Green wide open and he blasted a rocket past Cory Schneider.

After the Green PP goal, things got real chippy with the worst of it coming after Larkin got driven into the boards by John Moore. The play didn't appear dirty to me, but certainly wasn't good. Coming out of that scrum, the Wings were back on the PK as Abdelkader got the extra 2 minutes.

Finally, the period ends. The Wings had the better play in the period, but they still need one more to even the score.

Score: 3-2 New Jersey

Shots: 18-13 Detroit

Standout Period: Mike Green, Pavel Datsyuk, Gustav Nyquist

Tough Period: Justin Abdelkader

Third Period

The energy was in the building, the fans were electric...andddddddd 2:24 into the 3rd, Kindl makes a horrendous giveaway and the Devils go up 4-2. That's great, That also puts Mrazek on the hook for the loss if it were to happen.

Not only does he give it away, but Kindl actually slides into Mrazek, preventing Mrazek from getting a full push over to that second shot. Mrazek was square and there's a chance he may have stopped it. Who knows? I'm just mad at Kindl.

The Wings got a PP with 12:14 to go but once again they generated 0 shots. It's damn infuriating to watch. The zone entries are so bad that the Wings waste roughly 40% of the powerplay just trying to get into the zone. New Jersey is excellent at it. Just watch them.

Justin Abdelkader decided that he didn't spend enough time in the penalty box so he decided to take a cross-checking penalty. Those were penalty minutes 7 and 8 for him on the night and he now has 41 in 34 games. Abdelkader almost spent as much time in the penalty box as he did on the ice at 5v5 during this game. I guess that's one way to earn $28 million.

Just when you thought the game was all over, Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan put together a little magic to bring the Wings with a goal with just over 5 minutes remaining.

Jurco and Sheahan have always had magic together. For their careers, when they are on the ice together at 5v5, the Wings have a 5v5 CF% of 57.5% and score 3.04 goals/60 minutes. After the Sheahan goal, the Wings continued to press but never really had a great chance. Then, with just under a minute remaining, Kronwall took an unnecessary interference penalty to seal the Wings fate.

Score: 4-3 New Jersey

Shots: 28-17 Detroit

Standout Period: Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan

Tough Period: Jakub Kindl, Justin Abdelkader

Player of the Game: Nobody

Observations:

  • Wow that was infuriating to watch. The Wings thoroughly outplayed the Devils at 5v5, finishing the game with a score-adjusted CF% of 60.7%. The 5-minute breakdown in the 1st period really cost the Wings
  • I have no idea what was going through the mind of Justin Abdelkader tonight. All of his penalties tonight were boneheaded and just plain stupid. The Devils were the 11th ranked PP team entering the game and he took 8 PIMs and essentially took himself out of the game. That worries me given that the Wings are stuck with him for the next 7 years thanks to his unmovable contract.
  • Tomas Jurco needs more playing time. He's starting to play more confidently and he has real chemistry with Riley Sheahan. I'm fine moving Tatar up to play with Datsyuk and Richards and moving Helm down to the 4th line. Let Jurco shine.
  • Jimmy Howard can be faulted for the 1st goal, but he had no chance on the 2nd or 3rd goal. This wasn't his fault, but I have a feeling that if that first goal doesn't happen, the Wings don't melt down
  • If I had my way as general manager, this would be the last time Jakub Kindl and Joakim Andersson see the ice in a Red Wings uniform. They made no redeeming plays and essentially were turnover machines. Kindl's turnover in the 3rd really cost Detroit any chance of sustaining a comeback. Terrible. With Nosek and Ouellet up, now's the time to give them a chance.
  • Had the Wings won, they would have likely moved into 1st place in the Atlantic thanks to losses by the Bruins and the Canadiens being down 2-0 in the 3rd to Minnesota. Can't miss these glorious opportunities