The Red Wings enter tonight’s game on a three game winning streak. Howard is in goal following a stellar performance at MSG.
If the Wings force Howard to stop as many high quality scoring chances as he did in his last start, it could be a long night.
Many people have talked about the Wings’ predilection for fights through the first five games of the season, but nobody talks about how the team reaches out to its opponents in an effort to help them feel at home.
I mean, just today Detroit left a few plates from Nashville’s team meal for the Sharks to snack on when they arrived at the rink.
During warmups, we find out the lines are:
Nyquist - Nielsen - Larkin
Sheahan - Zetterberg - Tatar
Athanasiou - Helm - Vanek
O - M - G
Abdelkader is out with an undisclosed injury, and is listed as day-to-day.
Larkin is looking to break his scoring slump. He’s doing all the right things, but the goals aren’t going in.
Tatar gets the first scoring chance of the game a minute in off a nice pass from Sheahan, but Jones swallows it up.
Athanasiou uses his speed to create a scoring chance, but he loses the handle at the end.
The Sharks want to set up in the offensive zone, and so far they Wings have done a good job of keeping them from getting their cycle started.
Larkin lifts up his jersey, revealing a replica WWE championship belt, so last night’s bout may have gone to his head.
After giving up too many odd man rushes the last few games, the Wings are getting them tonight. Larkin almost scores on a wraparound, then misses a rebound. He probably should have scored the second one, but it’s a positive sign that he’s getting chances.
Vanek gets a penalty for interference, although I’m not sure with what he was said to be interfering.
The Sharks power play is something you don’t want to mess with, and they look dangerous in their first attempt. Darren Helm get a shorthanded break and very nearly scores a shorty.
Steve Ott makes a nice diving clear. After making some very bad defensive plays earlier in the season, it’s good to see Marchenko stay with his man to prevent a tap-in, and we are still at 0-0.
Pavelski takes a penalty for interfering with Tatar, and the Wings go to their first power play.
Detroit spends almost a minute in the zone in the first half of the power play, and create several great chances. Athanasiou is out there with the first unit, and he sets up a few chances.
Dillon boards Nielsen and Detroit has 15 seconds of a five-on-three. That’s a play that should not happen any more in the NHL. Players should know better by now.
Nothing doing on the five on three, but Detroit looks dangerous during the remainder of the power play. The Wings are doing a good job of keeping the puck in at the line, but they didn’t look like they had enough urgency during the short five-on-three.
Helm gets a penalty for using his hand on the faceoff.
The key to beating San Jose is not letting them get set up, both on the PP and at even strength. So far, Detroit is doing an excellent job of putting pressure on the Sharks early in the play. That, combined with a few key saves from Howard allow the Wings to escape the latest Sharks power play without giving up a goal.
Larkin has his fourth solid chance of the game off a Zetterberg pass. If he keeps doing what he’s doing, the goals will come.
There is a nice little piece on Chris Osgood’s young son Max, also a goalie, who participated in this morning’s morning skate. After seeing the piece, the Kings signed him to an entry level contract.
Shortly before the end of the first, Athanasiou and Vanek almost combine for a goal in close.
The period ends 0-0. Wings lead in shots 11-6.
Less than thirty seconds in, Larkin takes a hooking penalty.
Detroit kills it off, although they gave the Sharks too much time to set up, which is playing with fire.
GOAL! Ericsson makes a great carry out of the zone, pushes it ahead to a streaking Nyquist. Vanek drives the far side, but Nyquist holds it and rips a beauty top shelf short side. It’s what Detroit fans have been waiting for. 1-0 Wings. (4:14)
If you didn’t watch, you’ll have to trust me. Ericsson made a really great play to set up the goal.
We get a game break of Anthony Mantha slapping Jeff Blashill in the face six times.
Larkin gets yet another chance on yet another wraparound, but it’s yet another miss.
Tatar steals a SJ pass and gets off a wide open shot, but he can’t beat Jones. He really should have buried that.
Athanasiou is having his best game of the season so far. He’s looks dangerous and hasn’t made any big mistakes.
The officiating continues to be biased against reality.
A lot of back and forth, then Ryan Sproul goes beast mode. First he nearly puts in a rebound off a Larkin shot, then recovers to bowl over a Shark, steal the puck, and leave it for Nyquist, who walks in and beats Jones five hole. 2-0 Wings! (15:10)
Tatar misses another glorious chance off a sneaky feed from Zetterberg. Z looked like he was going around the net, then slide the puck into the slot.
The Red Wings’ speed is too much for the Sharks to handle without committing penalties. This time, one actually gets called, and Detroit goes back to the power play.
Nyquist nullifies the power play with a holding call. He could have been called for tackling.
The Wings dodge a bullet as time expires as Burns nearly scores a ridiculous backhand goal that hits the post. From the replay, it looks like it would have gone in with 0.1 seconds left. Wings escape with the score still 2-0.
Larkin emerges from the locker room with what looks like chicken blood on his hands. During his time on the bench, he is maniacally poking pins into a small doll that looks like Martin Jones.
The Wings kill the penalty, and Glendening drives the net, nearly scoring, but he draws a penalty. Cross checking from Burns.
Larkin nearly sets up Helm in front of the net, after Vanek just misses a couple from in close. Even though Detroit doesn’t score, their power play looks light years better than last season.
Howard makes a few big saves at the other end, then Mike Green makes a save on Joe Thornton to keep the score 2-0.
GOAL! Vanek sends a two line pass to Athanasiou, streaking down the left side. He winds up and blows a slapshot by Jones and just under the crossbar.
With the Wings up by 3, and the game seemingly well in hand, Steve Ott decides it’s a good time to take a penalty. Fortunately, the penalties offset and Ott doesn’t put his team shorthanded.
I seem to say this every recap, but it’s true. Dylan Larkin is blatantly interfered with over and over, with no calls.
Zetterberg gets hooked, and Detroit goes to a power play.
Man, Vanek is good. Especially on the power play, he uses his size to shield the puck, but his quick hands allow him to dish the puck off or take quick shots.
The Wings have set their season record for longest time without a fight. Smith is humming “Eye of the Tiger” as he heads to the bench.
Another SJ penalty and another Red Wing power play. Let’s see if they can put the Sharks away here.
Nope. Howard decides he’s a little bored and passes to a Shark behind his net so he can see some action.
Speaking of Howard, he’s 4 minutes away from making as many saves as San Jose had shots. I don’t want to be blamed for jinxing the....thing...by talking about it.
Of course, I could just edit this part out later, but I’d know. I’d know.
San Jose pulls their goalie with three minutes left. The Sharks are swarming, and I realize I should get some credit for not making shark puns or comments on how stupid Thornton and Burns’ beards look.
Nyquist nearly scores into the empty net, but Burns blocks it.
The horns sounds and the Wings win 3-0! They move to 4-2 on the season, and we end the night with a Howard shutout and good feelings.
Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when Detroit’s on a streak!