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Wings Can’t Beat Price and the Habs

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Wings fall 5-0 in a Flat Effort

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Wings came into tonight’s Original Six matchup against the Habs looking to make it three wins in a row coming off a victory over the Canucks on Thursday and a shootout win over the Flyers. The team was looking to gain ground on the impressive Habs and others in the Atlantic division. The team was looking for this game to serve as a measuring stick against the 12-1-1 Habs. The bigger test will be beating the inhuman Carey Price.

The good news for Wings fan tonight was Anthony Mantha is making his much anticipated season debut. He has lit up the AHL with 8 goals in 10 games and earned this callup. Coming in it looked he was going to be given a legitimate chance in the top six playing alongside Tomas Tatar and Frans Nielsen. The unfortunate news is his debut came at the expense of Andreas Athanasiou who is out the next 1-2 weeks. Tyler Bertuzzi was bumped to the 4th line with Ott and Glendening but the hope is he could provide a boost to that line while fitting in with their style of play.

Jimmy Howard got the start as he looked to continue his torrid start to the season, coming in with 1.22 GAA and .961 save percentage, and he needed to keep it up matching up against Price.

First Period

A nice touch from the Habs honoring Gordie Howe before the game. As much as we love to hate them, they do these things right, always classy.

The Habs are able to apply some early pressure, nothing dangerous yet, but not the start Wings fans were hoping for. Mantha comes out for his first shift and it was definitely eventful. He hustled back to begin a breakout and then was the first one to enter the zone on the forecheck, forcing a turnover by Markov and setting up an oncoming Helm for a blast from the high slot. To boot he ends the shift with a blocked shot.

The Habs turn the pressure on and bang away at a rebound off Howard, the puck trickles under Howard from an awkward angle and Danault is able to bang it in the back of the net.

Shea Weber stumbles slightly while receiving a pass at the point, giving Nyquist a chance to take advantage and take off. Nyquist holds up a bit entering the zone looking for Glendening breaking for the net, but elects to shoot as the option doesn’t open up.

Kronwall in return bobbles one at the point and gives up a breakaway to Byron who makes a strong move to the forehand and promptly buries it. Smith hustled back but was a stride too far behind and took a penalty (possibly penalty shot?) even if Byron didn’t finish it. Blashill looking like he wants to hit the reset button on this game like me on the PlayStation when I get down early.

Tough shift for Mantha this time turning it over in his own end a couple times leading to sustained pressure for the Habs, but once the puck got going the other way he looks effective on the forecheck.

The Wings just aren’t generating much, mostly shots off the rush from way outside. Abdelkader takes a shot from behind from guess who, Andrew Shaw. To be fair Abdelkader does turn late, but draws the penalty nonetheless. His arm appeared to get caught awkwardly on the board near the benches, hopefully just a little shaken up.

This is the first sustained offense by the Wings so far. Tatar rings one off the post setup by Nielsen. That one’s upsetting because you really need the ones that do beat Price to find the back of the net. Mantha doing a good job with the net front role on the powerplay.

Glendening takes one too many digs at Price and takes a penalty. Needless to say this is a crucial kill for the Wings to make it to the intermission down only two. So obviously the Wings take another penalty. If you didn’t watch the game, I bet you can’t guess who. Steve Ott takes a really, and I mean really dumb one. He appears to be trying to get Shaw to drop the gloves in retaliation for the Abdelkader hit. The PK is a good time for that right? Please remove him from the lineup at the first possible chance, Miller can be ineffective possession wise but he doesn’t put the team down a man on such a regular basis. And as the narrative goes, Weber immediately blasts one in from the point off the faceoff on a pass across the top of the zone from Radulov. I really missed having Weber in the division.

Notes

  • Mantha looked good early, definitely with the look of a player looking to shake the mantra that he tends to stop moving his feet on shifts. Definitely being given ample opportunity as well trailing only Zetterberg in forward ice time.
  • Other than that, just not a fun period to witness, but I came in with tempered expectations for this one.
  • On more of a managerial note, the way Holland has pushed this team to within dollars of the cap has really handcuffed Blashill. I could be wrong here but if say Blashill wants to remove Ott from the lineup as punishment for being a moron, the Wings can’t call anybody up to replace him unless someone else goes on LTIR.
  • Somehow the shots are only 10-7 Habs in a period that felt a lot more tilted than that.
  • Zetterberg leading the forwards with 6:03 of ice time in the first and DeKeyser and Green leading the back end with about 7:30 apiece. Kronwall with the least minutes on defense at 5:12, good to see the team managing his minutes. Could have been a result of his turnover that led to the breakaway goal though.
  • Seriously though, Ott’s penalty was so ridiculous I am still dumbfounded.

Second Period

The Wings come out for the second period and Blashill appears to be adjusting his belt after probably laying it into the entire team after that first period.

Early penalty to Galchenyuk for a good whack on DeKeyser. Bob Cole notes Abdelkader has returned to the game which is good news. A great opportunity for Kronwall who moves in from the point to the slot and is hit with a perfect feed from Zetterberg behind the net but Carey Price does Carey Price things. The only other notable chance on the powerplay was a 2 on 1 opportunity for the Habs with Mantha as the last man back, which fortunately was fanned on.

The Wings go back to the powerplay at the 5 minute mark on a clear high stick to Nielsen. The stick draws blood so it’s a double minor, Wings need to capitalize here. Mantha nearly sprung after sneaking behind the defense, but it skips past him and Price freezes it. Zetterberg with an excellent zone entry and walks right in and throws it back to Green coming in from the far point, but he bobbles it just enough to lose the opportunity. Tatar with a tricky play coming in for a rebound that was up in the air, he choked up on the stick and bunted it towards the net, no luck though. The Habs manage to kill off the entire penalty, the Wings had a few chances, but when they did Price was there.

Shortly after the penalty expires, Glendening with a nice deflection on a shot from the point that Price somehow reacted quickly enough to casually glove it. Looks like Mantha is playing with Zetterberg now. Bob mentions Wings are outshooting the Habs 9-3 this period, but they’ve also been on the powerplay for 6 minutes of this period.

Just as the ice is tilting in the Wings favor, Howard gives up a pretty soft one. It gets shoveled in off Howard’s pad by Byron on a puck he should’ve had when it was pushed to the net by Radulov from the back boards. But Byron also got to go hard to the net with virtually no hindrance from any Wing on the ice. The Wings challenge that Byron pushed Howard’s pad rather than the puck which resulted in the goal. I see what they’re looking at but I think it’s a stretch to overturn that. This challenge is taking a long time however, 7 minutes to be exact, so maybe they are giving it merit. The eventual result is they overturn it! I once again get the call wrong. That’s a tough one to swallow for the Habs. Mrazek had been warming up to come in but with the overturn on the call Howard gets to keep the net for the time being.

The Wings respond to this fortunate bit of luck by immediately allowing the Habs to bang away repeatedly looking to put the 4th in for good this time. Any time they’re ready to play like the team that’s trailing would be good. Zetterberg with a veteran play holding the stick of Mitchell not allowing him to clean up a rebound in the crease, and it goes undetected by the officials.

Radulov goes Globetrotter mode on the Wings for a shift doing everything but actually find the back of the net. Ericsson eventually take a high sticking penalty that was only a matter of time with the amount of pressure the Habs are having. The Habs once again promptly score on the powerplay on a shot from Galchenyuk that deflects off Shaw’s foot at the top of the crease. The Wings were completely out of position on this limited penalty kill.

Howard stays in for now, but I suspect Mrazek finds his way between the posts for the third. Aaaaaannnnd Montreal buries another off a play to the front of the net that deflects off Helm’s skate. The suck continues...

With a minute left, Larkin dropping the gloves with Emelin. Zetterberg wisely slides into the scrum to stop it before it becomes a full blown fight. Weber puts Z in a bit of a headlock, I guess at least this time he didn’t turnbuckle him.

The buzzer goes and we just need to make it through another 20 minutes of this exciting affair.

Notes

  • Zetterberg has been showing a little vintage Z making some tough plays.
  • The powerplay continues to be the only source of offense in this game for the Wings.
  • The Wings PK has looked like a mess of late and the results back up that story.
  • Regarding the Larkin fight, this is where he’s got to be careful. Yeah Emelin gave him a bit of a rough go, but nothing all that dirty, we can’t afford to have him hurt because of a fight. Teams are going to see that he can be goaded into this stuff, and are going to make sure to target him knowing that.
  • Hope Howard went into the room and just gave a big thanks to the guys, he’s been left out to dry here.
  • Usage doesn’t appear to be the problem tonight, with the 4th line receiving the least minutes thus far, the Habs have just been better.
  • Shots are 25-17 Habs after two periods.
  • Remember that 10-0 loss Montreal had, it might not be as funny after the third period tonight.

Third Period

As expected, Mrazek comes out to start the third. I don’t think Howard played that poorly to be honest, just wasn’t making the timely save, not that it matters in this one.

Both teams clearly looking to just get this period over with and move onto the next one. Hoping for a little more from the Wings to try to break the shutout but I understand mailing the third in at this point.

Just as I say that Nyquist with a breakaway, big save from Price. The guy is just clinical at the position. He never seems to have to make a huge save because he’s always in perfect position.

Montreal with a bit of a flurry but Mrazek holds strong and makes a string of saves. Detroit snags another powerplay chance with about 8 minutes to play on a trip to Green. The Habs kill it off.

Helm gets a good chance off a keep on a 2 on 1 but nothing going. Detroit making a late push to try to break the shutout but might be too little too late to get one. The Wings jamming it hard to the net late and have to wonder where this was all game. But they are unable to find a way through Price.

The clock mercifully winds down and that’s it for this one. Oy.....

Notes

  • I may have missed some of the third period because I strained by eyes from rolling them too many times.
  • I know the team was mailing it in during the final frame but the amount of turnovers in their own end was atrocious.
  • Mrazek had a shutout, for what that’s worth.

Wrap-Up

  • The Wings were simply outclassed in every facet of the game tonight, period.
  • The team has dropped these duds too often so far this season, just look flat.
  • Andrew Shaw had a goal and two assists....
  • I always try to view the glass as half full but it was honestly hard to find much to like in this game. Zetterberg making some plays was nice to see, and Mantha looked decent before this game got out of hand. Nyquist seemed to be generating a decent amount offensively. I can’t really think of anything else.
  • The way the Wings have played against the legitimate contenders this season is concerning. Not that this is surprising, but they continue to prove they are a bubble team at best.
  • I like that Blashill is still trying to implement his higher tempo style of play and I think the team needs to continue to push it to see who fits it and who doesn’t and shape the team accordingly. Resorting to low event style hockey to scrape out whatever points they can will harm this team in the long run. I want the team to try to make the playoffs, but at some point you have to consider the long term effects.
  • Onto the next one and let’s make this one a distant memory quickly