We were all looking forward to the line of Larkin-Datsyuk-Tatar until Tomas Tatar was a late scratch with illness. The Blues also had a last-minute change to their lineup as Colton Parayko was held out after being expected to play, so the Blues were down to five defensemen before the game even started. Detroit wasn't able to take advantage of what should have been a more tired Blues defense as their scoring woes continued.
The Wings came out looking good early with a lot of pressure in the Blues' zone early. Dylan Larkin decided to try and be Gustav Nyquist and carry the puck around the zone twice all on his own, but he wasn't able to get far enough out from the goal to get a good shot away. Vladimir Tarasenko had a moment when he was the only Blue in the Wings' zone with the puck ahead of him, and Petr Mrazek came out of his goal in a daring move to play it away from the approaching forward.
Tomas Jurco took a cross-checking penalty with about seven minutes left, so the Blues' 8th ranked power play took to the ice. As the diggers really want you to know, the Miller-less penalty kill units were able to kill it off, a sure sign of miracles or something. Witchcraft, perhaps.
The Blues took the lead with 1:59 left on a lucky deflection off of Ty Rattie's pants from an Alex Pietrangelo shot. Can't blame Mrazek for that one. Datsyuk came within inches of tying it just seconds later, but the puck barely slipped through the crease and off the post without harm. The Blues really pushed to pad their lead in the last minute and a half, but Mrazek told them to stuff it.
Score: 1-0 Blues
Shots: 11-7 Red Wings
Standout Players: Larkin, Datsyuk, Green, Smith
Tough Period: Jurco
Nyquist had a pretty pass all the way across the zone to Zetterberg that he got back in the slot that would have been a perfect one-timer if the shot hadn't been blocked for what feels like the twentieth time this game.
Speaking of young Wings trying to earn more opportunities, Teemu Pulkkinen decided to make Jurco feel a little less bad when he took an lazy offensive-zone penalty to give the Blues their second PP of the night. Mrazek was especially aggressive on the kill with how much movement he had in the crease. A Stastny deflection from Steen ended up being the first shot on the PP for the Blues that Mrazek stopped nicely as the penalty ended.
The Wings finally drew their first penalty when Patrik Berglund high-sticked Brendan Smith after a scary Dylan Larkin turnover that Mrazek had to fight off in close. It took a bit for the Wings PP to get set up, but they were immediately collapsing toward the goal more than I've seen them do in a long time. Sadly, Brian Elliott didn't pull a Marc-Andre Fleury and sit on a puck that trickled behind him to put it in the net.
Elliott continued to make frustratingly good saves against the Wings on their absolute best chances. Another PP opportunity for Detroit again saw a long time to set up and then way too much pass-y and not enough shoot-y. Backes and Abdelkader took coincidental minors before the PP again ended without a tying goal, as did the period.
Score: 1-0 Blues
Shots: 20-16 Red Wings
Standout Players: Datsyuk, Mrazek
Tough Period: Sheahan, the power play
The Wings' struggles with getting to rebounds continued into the third period, in case you were wondering. Mrazek made a couple of good saves with his glove hand on Tarasenko in the first few minutes, and then Smith broke up what started as a 2-on-1 with a sliding poke check before it could get to the Wings goal.
Dmitrij Jaskin made it 2-0 after slicing through the Wings defense right on top of Mrazek from the neutral zone. Alex Steen threw an arm backwards into Marchenko with just over 3 minutes to go for an elbowing call to give the Wings a chance to get within one. Amazingly, it worked when Zetterberg got the puck past Elliott with Abdelkader providing a good screen. The Blues challenged for goalie interference, but it failed to overturn the goal when the review showed there was no contact with the St. Louis goaltender.
The comeback fell short when Larkin took a hooking penalty with only 57 seconds left in the game. The shorthanded Wings were able to gain the Blues zone and pull Mrazek for 5-on-5 play in the last 40 seconds, but an offsides play killed much of the chance the Wings had to tie it.
Score: 2-1 Blues
Shots: 30-20 Red Wings
Standout Players: Mrazek, Datsyuk, Zetterberg
Tough Period: Ericsson
- I thought the Wings started out strong but it's looking more like the team as a whole is snakebitten.
- It didn't help that Brian Elliott decided to play out of his mind tonight. He was good at preventing rebounds on the shots that actually made it through to him, and any he did kick out the Wings weren't in position to get to.
- The Wings still haven't been shut out this season. Have you heard? It's only been mentioned on every broadcast for the last five games or so.
- Mrazek continues to be excellent in goal for the Wings. He deserves infinite more goals from the team in front of him that he just isn't getting.
- The Wings did a good job of keeping Tarasenko mostly a non-factor in this game.