The Red Wings welcomed the Winnipeg Jets into the Joe on a very special night... Petr Mrazek's birthday! In an attempt to make the Jets feel right at home, Michigan summoned brutally cold wind chills, and plenty of snow falling. I don't know if that's what it was like in Downtown Detroit, but that's what it's like in Northern Michigan, and that's close enough. There were some bright spots, and the Wings stayed in the game, but it still wasn't as good as they can be nor as good as they're gong to have to be to do anything in the playoffs.
The Wings have had far too many slow starts this season and ended up behind, or at least chasing because of it. After the abysmal start in Pittsburgh, I suspect Babcock throwing out the starting line of Tomas Jurco - Riley Sheahan - Luke Glendneing was an attempt to get the team started with some energy early on. For the first couple minutes, it looked like the start was going well, the Wings had a couple scoring chances on the Peg, but suddenly Winnipeg got a lucky deflection that trickled in between Jimmy Howard's pads and Chris Thorburn gave the Jets an early freaking lead.Just a coupel minutes later we got a little scare when Thorburn essentially punched Danny DeKeyser in the chest and DeKe was in obvious pain and went off the ice. It looks like DeKe got the wind knocked out of him and he did return for his next shift. Whew, disaster averted. More things happened, but nothing spectacular, then the Wings got a late period PP when Winnipeg did stupid things, the Wings got a 5 on 3 and with the top unit out there for what seemed like forever, and complete zone domination, Niklas Kronwall brought the Boom and tied the game with 3 minutes to go in the period. The period ended tied at 1 with the Wings outshooting the Jets 14-6.
Tyler Myers stupidly slashed Justin Abdelkader's stick to start the period off, and Winnipeg native (mandatory credit) Darren Helm jammed the puck past Hutchinson from right next to the post and the Wings took an early period 2-1 lead. Then, just 5 minutes later, in honor of yesterday being Friday the 13th, Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm do some Freaky Friday sh** and Darren Helm shoots from the circle, and banks the puck in off Pavel Datsyuk. Wings lead 3-1, but that 2 goal lead would last only seconds as the Wings get caught on a line change, Jimmah makes the initial save, but Blake Wheeler picks up the rebound and puts it into the empty net. Wings lead 3-2.Unfortunately, Jimmy Howard's rusty return led to a terrible, awful, atrocious Winnipeg goal only a couple minutes later and the game was once again tied. Jimmy stopped the puck in what appeared to be his chest then glove, but the puck hit him in the wrist and instead of going into his glove, Howard lost the puck, it fell to his left and went right into the net, no one else touched it. It was a brutal goal that Jimmy should have had, but in his first game back in a month, he was tracking the puck slower than usual and over committing to shooters, which are typical rusty goalie symptoms. At the end of the period Jonathan Ericsson got 2 minutes for holding an imaginary person. He looked like he was "holding" someone, but there was no one he actually held. That darn invisible man strikes again. The period ended in a 3-3 tie with the Jets outshooting the Wings 16-6 in the middle period and the Wings didn't have a shot after 7:11 of the period.
The Wings started the 3rd period on the PK with Riggy in the box and successfully killed the remaining 2 minutes. The Wings couldn't kill off a Jurco tripping penalty a few minutes later though and 4 ½ minutes into the period the Jets took a 4-3 lead. The period went on without much excitement, and it got down to 6 ½ minutes left and I started to get a little nervous , wondering if anyone would get a goal for the Wings and give them a chance to win this thing. Then, something magical happened, Pavel Datsyuk did Datsyuk things, and the teams were tied 4-4 with 6 minutes to go. Despite a few scary moments where the Jets looked like they were going to win the game, the period would end in a 4-4 tie. The Jets outshot the Wings 10-7 in the 3rd period
The Jets got a breakaway on some miscommunication / oopses by Tatar and Sheahan, but Jimmy Howard stopped the shot and was then pushed into the net with the puck, the goal was immediately waived off just as it should have been. With 2:10 left in OT, Quincey was sent to the box for "roughing" and as you'd expect, the Wings didn't score while on the 4 on 3 penalty kill. Miller, Glendening, Kronwall, and Ericsson did an admirable job stuck out on the ice under heavy sustained Jets pressure. This mother Frker was going to a shootout and with the night Jimmy Howard was having it felt almost inevitable he's lost in a shoot out in his first game back from injury. Jets outshot the Wings 6-2 in OT thanks to their power play.
Blake Wheeler- Stopped
Pavel Datsyuk- Stopped
Brian Little- Missed
Tomas Tatar- Stopped
Mathieu Perrault- Stopped
Gustav Nyquist- Stopped
Drew Stafford- Goal
Stephen Weiss- Stopped
That's the mother F'ing game and I will shoot flaming poop at anyone who blames Jimmy Howard for the SO loss. He had a bad game that helped us get to the shoot out, but he only allowed 1 goal in the shoot out and the Wings couldn't score a single one.
- Jimmy Howard had a bad 65 minutes and he looked rustier than even I expected him to after missing a month. I have no doubt he'll be back to his James Tiberius self in the next couple games, but tonight was very unlike Jimmy and it was clear he was very off his game.
- Alexey Marchenko did what he does and had a quietly solid game. In the 1st period he made a very smart play in the neutral zone to get to the loose puck, keep control, and get it to Helm in an unconventional way. He pinched wisely, He's only played 6 NHL games, but I"m already comfortable with him on the team and I think he's showing he's ready for a full time job in the league.
- Darren Helm had himself a very good game. He was using his speed effectively, and he made numerous moves with the puck that were downright impressive and had a 2 point night (1G, 1A) to show for it. Helmer tied his career season high in goals tonight and with him finally being healthy it looks like he's going to have a career season.
- Niklas Kronwall also stood out to me as very good tonight, he had at least 2 or 3 defensive plays that negated or broke up what looked like imminent quality scoring chances and he did it with incredible poise.
- I've been told to save the best for last so here comes Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk had a 3 point night (2G, 1A), he deked, he dangled, and he did Datsukian things, yet he also did the little things that make him the superstar he is and he led the team with 7 shots on goal. Having the pleasure of watching Pavel Datsyuk play night after night for our team is an honor, just sit back and appreciate how truly lucky we are.