Coming off two bad losses at the hands of the Calgary Flames, and Boston Bruins, the Detroit Red Wings were in a "must-win" situation. With the Bruins trailing their tails in the standings, and no signs of slowing down on Tampa's end, Detroit simply needed to win this game in front of their hometown crowd. They did just that, even though it wasn't in the most dominant of fashion. Here's a breakdown for you:
It seemed like Detroit played down to Edmonton from the start, which isn't too surprising. It took them just under 10 minutes to register their first shot, they simply spent too much time in their own zone. Edmonton was able to notch the first goal of the game, coming from Rob Klinkhammer. Jimmy looked to have the puck locked up between his legs, but Klinkhammer thought otherwise and chipped the puck in by sticking his stick right between his legs. You could say it referees probably should have blown the whistle sooner, but it is what it is. Justin Abdelkader had a breakaway chance on a gorgeous stretch pass from Danny DeKeyser, but Abby fumbled the puck and couldn't register a shot, as it sailed wide from Ben Scrivens. Detroit saw two power-play chances (one carrying over to the 2nd), but could not get on the board. A poopy start, as most scientists would say. Shots in favor of Edmonton, 14-8.
That's more like it. Detroit came out with a MUCH better 20 minutes here. With the carryover power-play, at 0:21 Niklas Kronwall sniped himself a beauty of a goal on a drop-pass feed from Erik Cole to tie the game up. Detroit went on to play a much better game, controlling the puck more efficiently, and spending less time in their zone. I think the third line performed quite well in this period.. Riley Sheahan scored his 11th of the year on a feed from Gustav Nyquist and Teemu Pulkkinen (his first career NHL assist) to make the score 2-1. Tomas Tatar had a great breakaway chance, but Ben Scrivens bested him. After 40 minutes, the score remains 2-1. Shots in favor of the Oilers, 27-17. Red Wings will start the 3rd period with around 1:30 of time on the man advantage.
Detroit continued to keep the game simple in this period. They stayed with it, and created chances. At 10:40, Teemu Pulkkinen scored his 3rd goal of the season, and achieved his first career multi-point game at the NHL game. It wouldn't be a game, without the other team scoring to make a "clencher" of a game. Nail Yakupov scored at 18:05 to bring the Oilers within one goal. Fortunately, Justin Abdelkader and Pavel Datsyuk were able to score empty-net goals to win the game for the good guys, 5-2. Kind of amazing, because Pavel scored the goal from the other end of the ice. He's good, I tell you.
It was a slow start for Detroit. Lots of sloppy play in the opening minutes, but they made it happen against a very bad Edmonton team. The Wings now have a two day break before seeing the wounded Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. You could call this a worrisome win, because the team was outshot, but at this point of the season, a win is a win. Jimmy Howard stood tall and gave his team the best chance at winning as he could. It was a great way to nix the team's first back-to-back regulation loss all season. Keep it going, fellas!