The game tonight had a delayed start because of the retirement of Daniel Alfredsson’s jersey. I thought it strange the Wings would retire a jersey at an opponent’s rink but I suppose he played some games in Ottawa too. The Wings came into tonight’s matchup 4-5-1 in their last 10 and just one point up on the Devils for the basement of the East. They are 6 points behind Boston for a playoff spot with a lot of teams to jump in between. If there is a time to begin a push, tonight would be a good place to start.
The Wings have some bodies making their way back into the lineup of late with the return of Brendan Smith last game, and some others getting closer. Coreau got the start after a lack luster display by Mrazek in his outing against Buffalo. I’m anxious to see what Coreau’s massive frame can do, hopefully he’s learned from the game tape and as noted in the broadcast to challenge to the top of his crease more.
One thing that caught my attention in the pregame was the brief appearance by Maltby when he stated Athanasiou would be counted on for the rest of the season. Not that his word should be treated as gospel but hearing that from someone within the organization can’t be a bad thing. Hopefully they don’t mean on the wing with Ott and Miller.
Glad to see the line of Z, Mantha, and Tats has stayed in tact, that line has at least been fun to watch. And the teleprompter kindly points out that I was slightly wrong on my lead in......Athanasiou will be center between Ott and Miller. But that does mean with the late Sheahan scratch Jurco is being given a chance with Larkin, curious to see what they can do together.
Ericsson with a good first shift looking mean against Karlsson and doing his best to drive the net in the offensive end. Kronwall steps into Lazar at centre ice and feel like we’re beginning to see a bit of a renaissance with him doing that again.
Ericsson slides one just wide from a tight angle through the crease with the goaltender down and out, but even if it did go it may have been called back for interference. The Zetterberg line with a good follow up shift and the Wings have had the early pressure.
The Nyquist-Vanek-Nielsen line with a good follow up shift with some sustained pressure. Smith with the shot pass from the point that Vanek deflects perfectly through the wickets of Condon. Yes folks, the Wings scored the first goal! 1-0 Wings! Let’s hope there’s more of this to come.
As Osgood notes the Wings have definitely been showing a shot first mentality which is a necessity when you’re as hard up as this team is for goals.
The play starting to go a little back and forth now as the Sens are starting to wake up after their slow start. Glendening gets absolutely lit up at the red line by Borowiecki (sorry if I butchered that spelling). That was a huge hit. However it results in a Wings powerplay. Nothing going on the powerplay, no noteworthy chances.
Ottawa with a good shift after the kill and Coreau makes a nice save on a one timer from the slot on a pass from behind the net. His first big test of the game and he comes up big. Ottawa keeps the pressure going and Coreau with another big time pad save on Ryan crossing through the slot. Turnover by the Wings defence into the slot, didn’t catch who it was and Coreau comes up with the save yet again. Mantha tries to turn the tide with a nice drive to the net that Condon just gets his glove on after it deflects off the defenseman’s skate. Glendening takes a big hit from Neil and he’s been taking a beating early.
Turris with a good chance in the closing minutes after being left open in the slot but takes way too long to pull the trigger and it’s blocked. DeKeyser can’t maintain control late in the period in his zone and the puck gets turned over. Karlsson with a quick pass to Brassard who beats Coreau short side to tie it 1-1 with 16 seconds to play.
The Wings started the period strong but Ottawa came on strong in the latter half, game tied as it probably should be.
Not a whole lot going on early with the teams trading failed rushes. Nyquist to Nielsen to Vanek with a good chance and a second whack to boot but Condon with the saves. Dzingel with an uneventful rush but demonstrating outstanding speed. On the follow up shift Brassard throws it from behind the net to a driving Stone who makes no mistake and hammers it far side. No chance for Coreau, 2-1 Sens.
Ouellet with a couple good point shots on a good sustained pressure shift by the Wings, his second shot rings the post. Ottawa with a good chance on a shot that deflects off Smith that appears it would’ve likely found the back of the net if not for Smith. Out of nowhere Zetterberg springs Tatar for the break with a gorgeous stretch pass and Tatar makes no mistake burying it blocker side low, tied up 2-2.
Larkin with an attempted rush through the middle and you can definitely tell teams have keyed on that play by him this season, working together to slow him through the neutral zone and forcing him outside. He’s going to have to further develop his repertoire to maintain his success from last season.
Wings manage to get a powerplay with 7:00 to go in the period in a game that has let a lot go. The powerplay with some good possession and puck movement but passes were all at the perimeter except for a puck that pinballed to Nielsen in the slot who slid it just wide. As expected shortly following the conclusion of the powerplay the Sens draw one and will go to work on their first powerplay. On the kill Ott does what he does best and takes another penalty, seriously how many times has he put this team down two men? The Wings kill off the 1:06 two man advantage doing a really good job of closing off the shooting lanes. The Wings kill off the remainder without much opportunity for the Sens.
Mantha with a fast break and absorbs a good hack from Methot crashing hard into Condon, the Wings go back to the powerplay late in the period. No meaningful chances and they’ll head to the third with a 50 seconds left in the powerplay.
The Wings don’t manage to generate much of anything with what remained of the Methot penalty. But no matter, Phaneuf to the rescue dropping Tatar for two minutes of his own. Not match happening (again) on the advantage, Jurco getting some time on the 5 on 4 and manages to get a half break but no shot off. Shortly after Tatar gives one back to the Sens with a high stick on Methot behind the net. Mantha with a crafty move at the end of the 4 on 4, recognizing the Ottawa penalty was expiring skated it back to his own zone to kill off a few seconds. The remainder of the Wings penalty is killed off without incident.
Tatar draws yet another call, he’s on his A game tonight. Let’s see if they can generate anything this time. The Wings do manage to get a few good shots off this time with shots coming from the point with traffic in front. But once again none find the back of the net, back to even strength.
The middle section of the period ticks away with nothing noteworthy to report. I’ve seen Mantha take advantage of his long reach in the defensive a few times this game which is good to see. As the game approaches the final 5 minutes the pace is decidedly slower with both teams looking like they want to make sure they get at least a point. Haven’t seen AA I think all period, really wish they’d give him an opportunity here. Time runs out in the third with not a single thing happening to even make your heart pace change.
Nielsen, Nyquist, and DeKeyser to start overtime. Time for some action after a dull third. Zetterberg, Kronwall, and Mantha late come on. Good cycle game by the Wings. Zetterberg forces Ryan in the corner to turn it over to Kronwall at the blue line. Kronwall drives the net, slides it across to Mantha who buries it past a sprawling Condon. Wings win 3-2! Oh lord have mercy that feels good to say.
This and That
- Coreau’s grandmother with an appearance on the broadcast and God bless her little heart, she seems like a delight. With a nice line for all of us during this time “Stay happy”.
- Maltby going by “Malts” in the broadcast and they’re pushing the nickname hard. I don’t like it.
- Jurco didn’t do anything awful this game, but didn’t appear to make any plays either. He’s going to have to be noticeable to stay in the lineup.
- Karlsson didn’t make much of an impact in this game, save for the setup of one of the goals which considering his talent, I would say they played him successfully.
- Ericsson had what I thought was a quietly good game.
- If you didn’t see it, do yourself a favor and get a look at the Zetterberg stretch pass to Tatar and Tatar’s finish, I’ll remember that one for awhile.
- Those are big points against the second in the division Sens, please let there be more of this to come. A generally strong game from the Wings who didn’t give up much to the Sens, just need to get the PP rolling.