The Wings headed into Anaheim with an 0-3-1 record against the Ducks since they ousted them in the 2013 playoffs. With a three-game winning streak on the line and the promise of another tough game tomorrow night, Detroit was looking to nab another important two points to keep pace with the Atlantic-leading Florida Panthers. The game ended up a close affair without a lot of special teams play, which was kind of surprising considering the history between these two games. Here's how it all happened.
I barely had time to even start this recap when Tatar got the Red Wings on the board only 16 seconds in. He was going for a cross-crease pass to Darren Helm that Hampus Lindholm got a stick on and pushed through the five-hole of John Gibson. A couple of minutes later, in which the Wings looked like the better team, they got a chance on the power play after Henrik Zetterberg got a high stick from Livonia native Ryan Kesler (who was obviously just jealous of how good Z looked with his new haircut). The man advantage ended without a goal, but the puck movement between the players was promising.
A second penalty by Anaheim gave the Wings another chance to break the Ducks' penalty kill streak, and a hurried pass in the zone gave Nate Thompson a shorthanded chance in on Mrazek that clanged off the post. The Wings still weren't able to convert, but hitting the post kept the Ducks without an official shot on goal nearly halfway into the first period. There was a slight delay after a Wings shot in which the officials were looking to see if the puck had gone through the netting, but it was determined it had not. Still 1-0 Wings.
Of course, the Ducks tied the game on their second shot of the night, with a goal scored by the lord of the trash heap behind the arena Corey Perry. The goal gave some serious jump to the home team, who had several dangerous chances following that were only very near misses or slid just wide of the net. Brendan Smith took a hooking penalty with just over three minutes left, so we had to see even more of Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on the ice. Gross. Mrazek made a heck of a save with about 40 seconds left by a falling Rickard Rakell, preventing the Wings from giving up a last-minute goal.
Score: 1-1 tie
Shots: 7-6 Ducks
Standout Players: Datsyuk, Mrazek
Tough Period: [retroactively adding in the refs and whoever's in the "War Room" in Toronto, those idiots]
The second period started out with FSD showing how the Wings actually should have been up 2-0 with the Sheahan shot that "hit the post" behind Gibson. So, theoretically, that Perry goal never happened and everything we know from now on is a lie. I really don't know how you have an entire team with tons of camera angles in Toronto still miss that.
The Ducks came out strong again, with Mrazek again having to be sensational in net to keep the game tied. Kronwall tried to dance through a couple of Ducks in the zone, resulting in a prompt turnover and a chance the other way for Anaheim. Then the pipes sang again as Getzlaf rattled the iron to the right of Mrazek, who later drew the most obvious tripping call in the world from Luke Glendening. The resulting power play included whiny baby Ducks fans twice calling for another penalty on the Wings, but they didn't get that or a goal.
The Wings finally got a penalty called in their favor this period after the refs decided to let a whole bunch go all of a sudden, when Justin Abdelkader was held as he was going after a Nyquist rebound. The Wings' power play for the last minute of the period wasn't as good as what we saw in the first period, but maybe getting a chance to regroup and come out on fresh ice will change that.
Score: 1-1 tie
Shots: 18-14 Ducks
Standout Players: Mrazek, Jurco
Tough Period: Kronwall, Kindl
Haha, just kidding. The Wings weren't able to convert on the shortened power play either. Both teams kind of seemed like they were getting bogged down in the ice, as players were losing edges all over the place. Tomas Tatar was able to get a near-breakaway chance that Gibson stopped from well out, but there were no Wings coming in to go for the rebound.
As soon as Ozzie said he liked the line of Abdelkader-Sheahan-Glendening for their necessary grittiness in third periods I was sure that they were going to do something dumb like give up a goal. Fortunately they didn't and that line wasn't kept together for the next shifts, but man is that ever asking for something bad to happen.
It started to feel like time was getting tight on both of these teams, and more and more like this game was going to end up in overtime again. Someone must have shown Sheahan the tape of his goal from earlier, because he decided that such an injustice would not stand. Dylan Larkin put pressure on the Ducks when entering the zone, and then had a pretty set-up to Sheahan for the go-ahead goal.
Now up by one goal for the fifty-seventh time this season, the Wings decided to make it interesting by icing the puck with just under two minutes left. The Ducks pulled Gibson for the extra attacker, and then the Wings iced the puck twice more because they live for the adrenaline rush, or something. Fans do not, however, and they were also treated to more great saves by Petr Mrazek through a lot of traffic. Detroit finally locked it down in the last 40 seconds by holding their blue line and not letting the Ducks an easy zone entry, and then blocking any attempted shots Anaheim took. Pucker time over, Wings win their 17th one-goal game of the season, half the fans at the Honda Center go home happy.
Score: 2-1 Wings
Shots: 31-24 Ducks
Standout Players: Sheahan, Mrazek
Tough Period: Miller (see the bullets below)
- Still irked that the league didn't take the time or the proper angles to make sure the Sheahan goal was actually counted. Take the time to get the call right. And anyone that actually believes that the league will feel awful about that mistake obviously doesn't know how this stuff works.
- I thought Jurco looked good tonight despite his linemates. Let our own Prashanth illustrate just how good he looked through two periods:
- Niklas Kronwall was not good tonight. Weird decisions, puck kept going over his stick, didn't do much to help the power play.
- Speaking of Kronwall, he and Jonathan Ericsson may have seen the most minutes overall, but the so-called "top pair" wasn't always seeing the toughest minutes. Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko saw the most minutes against Getzlaf and his line.
- Drew Miller didn't see the ice after the two-minute mark in the third. He was apparently missing from the bench, but as of the writing of this recap we don't have a reason as to why and only know that he's being evaluated. My guess: the mumps virus was still lurking around the Honda Center and he's now infected. Thanks, Perry!
- Player of the game: Riley Sheahan, for an all-around good game and a multi-goal one at that. Only one counted, but we know. We'll always know. [gives the league annoyed side-eye]
Tomas Jurco has been on the ice for 23.5% of DET's 5v5 shot attempts for and 3.2% against despite playing only 14.8% of available 5v5 mins— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 11, 2016
Simpler: Jurco's been on the ice for 8 of DET's 34 5v5 shot attempts, and only 1 of their 31 against, despite playing the fewest 5v5 mins— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 11, 2016