The Red Wings came into tonight off of an impressive rout over the New York Islanders where the offense surged for six goals. The good guys continued their upward trend in a commanding 3-0 win over the Florida Panthers in front of a hometown crowd.
With strong performances by Petr Mrazek, and Pavel Datsyuk, things are looking up again. Unfortunately, Justin Abdelkader had a questionable hit on Aleksander Barkov. Since Barkov did not return to the game, I wouldn't be surprised if Abdelkader ended up with a one-game suspension, but that remains to be seen.
We're going to get into what was mostly a boring, chippy game that turned into an exciting third period display of skill now. Let's do it! You can dance along if you like. That's up to you.
Florida is really good at forechecking. The Red Wings get pinned by them because of that.
Detroit had the first power-play of the game, and they didn't score. They managed to get one shot, which is the same amount of shots that Florida got shorthanded. The Panthers drew a penalty almost immediately after Detroit's power-play had expired. Detroit did a real good job killing off the penalty, holding the Panthers shot-less.
Blashill made some big line changes in this period. He put Dylan Larkin with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, then had Justin Abdelkader with Brad Richards and Tomas Jurco. Not a bad look. Seems as if coach is starting to understand he needs to make adjustments.
The Red Wings had another great look on the penalty kill. They've done a great job at limiting chances. Certainly looking a lot better than when they met the Panthers just last week.
WE SCORED! Just kidding. We didn't score. Almost, though! Gustav Nyquist appeared to have scored on Al Montoya, but the NHL saw it as "inconclusive" so it was never called back:
We're scoreless after 20 minutes. Shots in favor of Detroit (9-4), 5v5 shot attempts also owned by the good guys (11-6).
The Panthers were a bit more lively to start. Once things settled down, Detroit started to push back and create some chances. Montoya stayed real sharp for the Panthers. The adjustments Blashill has made have made a noticeable difference so far. The team looks quicker, they're making better decisions, and believe it or not they are creating more chances for themselves. Imagine what it would look like with Mike Green and Niklas Kronwall healthy. We could be onto something!
The quality of scoring chances began to dwindle as the period went along. Detroit had yet another successful penalty kill, which seemed to give them a nice bit of momentum. The EuroTwins look magnificent. It feels really good to say that. Coaching has done a great job at getting their line matched up against a much lesser-caliber Panthers line.
There wasn't much to write home about in this period. Petr Mrazek and Al Montoya are both playing very well. Here's two GIFs to close us out. First one is Riley Sheahan displaying his skill with Darren Helm launching the puck into the sun, and the second is Justin Abdelkader's hit on Aleksander Barkov, which will most likely end up getting a look from the league:
We're still scoreless. Red Wings still own edge in shots (21-15), and 5v5 shot attempts (27-25).
We entered scoreless, and no end to that in sight. The Red Wings had a strong outing again with the penalty kill, and Petr Mrazek continued to be absolutely fantastic.
The Red Wings opened up the floodgates in this period. It was bound to happen, as they controlled the puck for the entirety of the game. It was a complete turnaround from what was the last matchup against the Panthers. Tomas Tatar broke the tie with this tip-in goal off of Jakub Kindl's shot:
The power-play didn't do so well for most of the game, but it was bound to change with the way the team had been playing. Pavel Datsyuk sniped home a beautiful goal with the man advantage. Just watch and marvel:
We all hate two-goal leads. Fortunately for us all, the Red Wings didn't hold back. They continued to push, and Al Montoya was left all alone with no chance against the EuroTwin's return. Henrik Zetterberg setup Pavel Datsyuk for his second of the night, and oh man was it ever a beauty:
That would do it for scoring in the game. The Red Wings make yet another statement win in back-to-back fashion with a 3-0 victory over the Atlantic-leading Florida Panthers.
Red Wings owned possession in this game. Shots on goal were in favor of Detroit (31-23), and 5v5 shot attempts (37-32).
It's really crazy what adjusting the lineup will do for a team. They've looked completely different on offense ever since Jeff Blashill decided to mix it up, and with the return of Andreas Athanasiou. Not to take anything away from Petr Mrazek, who earned his 8th career NHL shutout. He was simply Mraznificent tonight.
The team is firing on all cylinders right now. Funny because the defense made a handful of dumb-dumb mistakes tonight that could have cost them. They're not perfect, but if they keep making adjustments, things could really start to roll the right way for the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings will face the Senators on Wednesday. The Sens downed the Lightning tonight, so they're likely to have their hands full with that tilt. With the way the team is playing, I think we like the matchup.