The Red Wings ended their 3 game losing streak with a close 4-3 road win over the Buffalo Sabres. It wasn't always pretty, and at times it was downright scary, but the Wings pulled off a 1 goal win and got their 2 points. Now we can exhale and rest easy for the time being. With Tomas Jurco sustaining an upper body injury in the 1st period against the Penguins Thursday night, Joakim Andersson slotted back into the lineup, and with the team's terrible performance the last few games, Coach Blashill changed all the lines, including defense pairings.
He went with
Tomas Tatar-Pavel Datsyuk-Darren Helm
Justin Abdelkader-Henrik Zetterberg-Gustav Nyquist
Dylan Larkin-Riley Sheahan-Brad Richards
Joakim Andersson-Luke Glendening-Tomas Nosek
We also got to witness the Kronwall - Ericsson pair reunited (hooray), while Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko were paired together, leaving Brendan Smith and Mike Green together.
The Wings started off the period better than they'd played the last few games, which was a relief to see, however they still weren't very good early on. Petr Mrazek had to make several hugs point blank stops, including a huge net front scramble on the penalty kill. Darren Helm took a dumb hooking penalty against Nicolas Deslauriers to give the Wings their first penalty kill of the period, and Blashill used 5 forwards on the PK instead of 4, keeping fresh legs on the ice. Riley Sheahan, Justin Abdelkader, Luke Glendening, Joakim Andersson, and Tomas Nosek all got PK time and killed off the penalty. The Wings were being outshot 10-4 before they got on the board and took a 1-0 lead from Brad Richards. Danny DeKeyser sent a pass up the left side from deep in his own zone, and right into Sabres traffic inside the Wings blue line. Dylan Larkin made a heads up touch of the puck to keep the Sabres from stealing it, and Riley Sheahan jumped on the puck, skated it up ice then made a slick saucer pass across the ice to Brad Richards who buried it behind Chad Johnson. The Wings were fortunate to be up 1-0 after the 1st period after their start.
Score: 1-0 Wings
Shots: 11-7 Sabres
Standout: Petr Mrazek, Riley Sheahan
Rough: Pavel Datsyuk
Buffalo took 2 penalties in the first 6 mintues of the 2nd period, and the Wings capitalized on the 2nd one. Riley Sheana tipped in a Mike Green shot from the blue line and it was 2-0 Wings. The power play still isn't good, but on the Sheahan goal they did the right thing by getting players to the inside and creating traffic in the slot. On the goal, 4 of the 5 Wings players are in the middle of the ice and this is why they got a goal. They should do more of this.
The Sabres got their first goal at 14:26 on the power play with Jack Eichel getting room to walk in on Mrazek and beating him. Eichel also tied the game on a breakaway goal at 17:27 and the period ended in a 2-2 tie. Mrazek almost made the stop on Eichel, but the rookie tucked the puck in between a Mrazek's left skate and the post. The goal was frustrating because the only reason Eichel had a breakaway was because Datsyuk was tripped by Girgensons and taken completely out of the play, allowing Eichel to skate in alone on Mrazek. That trip should be called every single time, but for some reason it wasn't and instead Eichel had a breakaway and tied the game. Joakim Andersson missed most of the 2nd period, only playing 2 shifts, so Darren Helm played in his place on the 4th line most of the period. Jonathan Ericsson tripped over his own feet at one point in the period, and Petr Mrazek made an absolutely gorgeous glove save- which not only saved the team's butt, but Ericsson's as well.
Shots: 24-15 Sabres
Standout: Riley Sheahan
Rough: Jonathan Ericsson
Henrik Zetterberg had been invisible for the first two periods, but 2:27 into the 3rd, he gave the Wings a 3-2 lead when he put in a Gustav Nyquist rebound. Nyquist carried the puck into the Sabres zone, sped right to the middle of the ice and got the shot off, Zetterberg and Glendening were both in front of the net and Hanky Panky puy home the loose puck on the rebound. The Wings started the period off on a good note. Mike Green got called for a weak hooking penalty 5:25 into the period, the Wings killed it off and had a 2 on 1 rush going right after Green came out of the box. Unfortunately Green then took an actual cross checking penalty right out of the box and instead of getting a 2on1 scoring chance, they were back on the penalty kill. Reinhart made Mike Green extra sorry about taking that penalty when he swept in a loose puck in the blue paint to tie the game 3-3 at 8:58 of the 3rd period. Danny DeKeyser cleared the puck out of the crease, but it hit Tomas Nosek and bounced right back into the scrum. Nosek had the puck in on the 2on1 when Green's penalty stopped play, then an unlucky bounce off him leads to the tying goal. Poor kid.
It was butt pucker time for the fans, wondering if the Wings would once again give up a 2 goal lead to lose the game. A little relief came with 2:50 left in the period when Tomas Tatar got his first goal in 9 games, as he beat Johnson high blocker and the Wings led 3-2. Nothing can be easy though and with 1:24 left in the period, Petr Mrazek had to make a huge stop on Zach Bogosian from 12 feet out, but Mrazek was Mraztastic and THE RED WINGS WON THE GAME 4-3!
Score: 4-3 Wings
Shots: 35-23 Sabres
Standout: Brendan Smith, Tomas Tatar
Rough: Mike Green
- Riley Sheahan played like a man possessed, and his newly formed line with Dylan Larkin and Brad Richards were probably the Wings best line in the game. We can call them the ACL (All Center Line).
- Alexey Marchenko and Danny DeKeyser were the Wings top D pairing, both at even strength and on the penalty kill, and I liked what I saw. Marchenko didn't stand out, as usual, but he was just as effective as usual, and handled the increased ice time and competition level like a champ.
- That trip on Pavel Datsyuk that led to Eichel's breakaway goal still bothers me. How that's not called a trip, I have no idea.
- Red Wings win! Suck it haters!