Tonight, the Red Wings have an election night tilt in the cradle of democracy: Philadelphia. Does anyone actually call Philadelphia that? Does it even make sense?! I don’t know, it sounded cool for a second.
Anyway, the Wings are back in Philly after dropping a 4-3 stunner in overtime just last Wednesday. If you recall, Mark Streit tied the game for the Flyers with a little over a minute left on a controversial goal, with Brayden Schenn stuffing the crease. Despite review and Jeff Blashill’s impassioned rebuttal, the goal stood. A Darren Helm goof lead to a Claude Giroux rush ending with a Jake Voracek one-timer and ball game.
The Wings will be looking to wrap the tourniquet and stop five games worth of bleeding tonight.
After the Red Wings go through another middling power play where they fail to get any real pressure, the Flyers get a make up call when Abdeldaker goes off for hooking.
The Flyers currently have a top five power play in the league shooting at 27% clip. One of the reasons why they’re so good—superior personnel aside—is their perimeter puck movement complimented down low by Wayne Simmonds creating traffic in front. This particular power play was exemplary of that, as Voracek finds Giroux just inside the circle and he snaps it bar down over Howard’s shoulder. Nothing Jimmy could do. Possibly went off Marchenko’s stick with how it seemingly ticked upward.
1-0 Flyers (Giroux (4) PP at 6:28 from Voracek, Gostisbehere)
The Red Wings did a great job responding to the goal. That’s something we haven’t been able to say often this young season. It seems like the Wings are a reactive team and do have moments where they get back on their heel in shifts immediately after opponent goals. Aside from a quick rush from Philly, the Wings controlled play back into the Flyers zone. Nyquist did a great job keeping the puck alive against two Flyers in deep, Zetterberg proceeds to find Tatar with a perfect cross-slot pass and he pops it in shot side of Mason....YES! TATAR FINALLY SCORED! Can you think of a Red Wing who’s needed a goal more than Tatar right now? That’s not to criticize him, I believe he’s consistently been the Red Wings best forward far as creating chances and sustaining offensive pressure, but the poor guy has struggled to finish on some golden chances. Hopefully this gets him on that next level.
Flyers 1, Red Wings 1 (Tatar (2) at 8:42 from Zetterberg)....and I’m personally awarding an assist to Nyquist. Great hustle Goose, pickled herring on me after the game.
As the period concludes, Dylan Larkin caps off one hell of a period where I’d argue he was the best player on the ice for either team. He drove a lot of pressure for the his line with Abdelkader and Nielsen. He also set up Helm with a beautiful pass alone in the slot that, again, Helm didn’t seem to know what to do with. Hmmm, maybe it’s the lighting? Larkin led all players that period with three shots.
PHI- Giroux (Hooking, 1:42), Manning (High-sticking, 19:44)
DET- Abdelkader (Hooking, 6:14)
DET- 9 (nice.)
Wings open the period squandering 7/8ths of a power play on a fresh sheet of ice. And I’ve noticed Tyler Bertuzzi has jumped back up with Nielsen and Larkin after Abdelkader was promoted to that line for a few shifts. Blashill has done a bit of juggling but the Wings are off to a strong start to this period—really have been using their speed to pin the Flyers back in their zone.
OH GOD SIMMONDS IS GOING TO SMASH ERICSSON’S FACE.
And he did.
Don’t fight Wayne Simmonds. Really. You never should. But yeah, Ericsson is trying to be a fighter now because he realized he skates like busted shopping cart or the beat writers fluffed him up after that one fight he had in the opener—I’m not sure. He did go through a stretch where he was using his size well, and making sound positional plays and actually looking like a damn good defenseman. That’s the Ericsson I want to see. I don’t care about this fighting BS. It’s a smokescreen, that’s all, and judging by what Simmonds just did to him, it’s not a very good one.
Back to the hockey!
The Red Wings continue to play well. Athanasiou gets multiple rushes but is unable to convert. Then DeKeyser draws a penalty on Travis Konecny. Wings have great puck movement, get a couple decent chances but are maybe playing a bit too frantic for their own good. I am loving Athanasiou on the powerplay. He’s really starting to look comfortable in that role as his multiple chances (including a hit post) have dictated. It remains tied 1-1 but the Wings have sound control of the play.
Streit gets a solid shot off the wing set up for a wide open rebound to Konecny who somehow misses then throws his hands up in frustration. Konecny has been a great rookie addition for the Flyers who, similar to Tatar, has been getting his chances all season but his two goals haven’t spoken for it.
Schenn and Ol’ Dutch Gretzky Dale Weise team up with great work behind the net to set up Micheal Raffl in the slot but Howard makes the confident stop. Jimmy hasn’t been tested much so far tonight, which is a welcomed change for him, but good to see him sharp when called upon.
DeKeyser commits a lazy holding call on Voracek along the boards. Bad, bad, bad penalty to take along the boards at the end of the period. Flyers going back to work on that lethal power play. Jimmy makes a couple big stops on Voracek from the right side. Annnnnd then Konecny ends the period nearly putting Ott through the boards tehehehehe.
Flyers will start the third with a very short power play.
PHI- Simmonds (Fighting, 5:39), Konecny (High-sticking 7:40)
DET- DeKeyser (Holding, 18:12)
After a dull first seven minutes, the Red Wings slip into the lull and the Flyers sustain possession in the offensive zone. Voracek makes a power move in deep and tucks it to Sean Couturier who slips it in under Howard.
Flyers 2, Red Wings 1 (Couturier (4) at 6:51 from Voracek, Streit)
After the Wings control the play for over two periods, the Flyers sustain zone pressure for a small stretch and that’s it, they have the lead. You have to capitalize on your chances, and the Wings have to figure out a way to finish more often. It doesn’t make sense that Vanek has been so integral to this team so far. They’ve been fruitless without him.
Howard just made a pretty big diving save on Voracek but what do all these saves mean if you can’t give him some damn support?
THERE’S YOUR SUPPORT.
Andreas Athanasiou is a damn fine hockey player and I’m tired of reading quotes from the Red Wings organization insinuating otherwise. Speed through the middle and there’s that finish. He’s been getting many chances since the second period. I can’t be that surprised he cracked one, but the tenor of this game became disheartening for a moment (and I criticize the Wings for being too reactive).
Flyers 2, Red Wings 2 (Athanasiou (4) at 11:11 from DeKeyser, Green)
The pace of play has exploded. Both teams are charging and getting chances off rushes and my commentary can’t really keep up. I will say that finally we have a whistle after a Giroux breakaway where Howard stuck with him, making an incredible toe save. A big difference I’ve notice in Howard is his patience on shots; he’s not over-committing or cheating like he would occasionally get caught in the past. Howard waited Giroux out, couldn’t have played it better. Another huge save for Jimmy, 3 minutes left, tied game.
Wings muster a couple nice chances toward the end of regulation but nothing significant cooking. Just like last Wednesday, we have overtime in Philadelphia.
An excellent overtime with two teams well equipped for 3 on 3. DeKeyser is not one of them and maybe not Bertuzzi yet but everyone else looked really fun and cool. Howard made a great save on another Giroux breakaway and Mason made one hell of a stop on Tatar from the circle. I love watching Athanasiou in overtime, you can see how big his eyes are from your couch.
That was fun. Let’s get this second point in a shootout.
Howard stopped Giroux on three breakaways tonight. That’s remarkable.
TALK MORE ABOUT ATHANASIOU. SAY SOMETHING NICE ABOUT HIM, JEFF. HE ONLY SNAPPED YOUR LOSING STREAK, JEFF. ANY ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS YOUNG MAN, KENNY?
Uh, excuse me, sorry, I got worked up. I’ll take it down a notch.
Hey, Red Wings win! Now I remember what that feels like! Pretty good.
The Red Wings deserved that win tonight. They didn’t get it the easy way but when you’ve lost five in a row, take them how you can get them. They use their speed, moved the puck through the neutral zone well and really had a strong forecheck tonight. Larkin shined with seven shots and of course Athanasiou had the two big goals. I also believe Nyquist, Tatar, Zetterberg and Smith were all strong at various points tonight too. Bertuzzi had a shot in his first game with just a little under 10 minutes of ice time.
Howard also stands out. He got his first consecutive start of the season and could very well be asserting himself as the starter for the time being. When your team is struggling I believe you have to put your best lineup out there and right now he’s out playing Mrazek. Tonight he made the big saves when needed again and could’nt have looked more composed in the shootout—even when the Voracek try slipped underneath him for a second. I’m a big Mrazek fan but if Howard’s outplaying him, that’s who I want starting.