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Game Recap: Jimmy Howard stands tall for Red Wings in 3-2 win over Maple Leafs

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Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The final game against Uncle Mike and his merry Tank Boys. Oh, what a treat!

After the Flyers win today, it seems that the only way we're getting into the playoffs is through the Boston Bruins. Jimmy Howard drew his back-to-back start since forever ago. The Leafs are in full tank mode, trying to out-bad the Edmonton Oilers for the best chance at Auston Matthews. This should be easy, right?

Nah, nothing is ever easy.

What matters most is that the Red Wings won tonight. Let's just get into this damn thing because hockey is good, the beer is cold, and there are smiles to be had.

First Period:

Quiet arena. Almost too quiet. It makes sense, the Maple Leafs are far out of a playoff spot and their fans are completely content with that given the state of the organization. That being said, both teams did quite a bit of grab-assing to begin with. It was a pretty damn uninteresting game in the first right minutes. The Red Wings then drew a penalty when Jake Gardiner went off for tripping Gustav Nyquist. It didn't take long for the Red Wings to capitalize on the power-play chance. Brad Richards sniped a shot right through Garret Sparks' five-hold to make it 1-0. This marks the eighth-straight game the Wings have tallied a goal on the PP:

The goal seemed to breathe life into the Red Wings offense. Sparks looked a bit shaky and was letting off some juicy rebounds. Richards had an huge chance right out in front of the Leafs net-minder but he elected to take a slapshot, which whizzed wide of the net.

Later in the period, the chippy play picked back up. The Wings really played smart defensively. I noticed that the defense was collapsing at the appropriate times. Playing safe, moving the puck quickly. Call it the Leafs just being bad, but it's definitely a sight for sore eyes.

The Red Wings weren't done scoring yet. Mike Green made it 2-0 with a blast past Garret Sparks. They went to look at the goal, but there was no contact from any Red Wings players:

At the end for 40 minutes, Wings lead 2-0. Shots are 12-8 in favor of Detroit, and 5v5 shot attempts are controlled by the Leafs at 22-19.

Second Period:

The Leafs opened up scoring in the second period on a goal from Colin Greening. William Nylander used his great speed and created the chance as the Red Wings defense got caught looking like absolute hell. Nylander's pass went off of a Red Wings skate and Greening was there to shove it into the net.

Nazem Kadri is an asshole. A Big one. He decided it was a good idea to retaliate against Luke Glendening by cross-checking him in the head. That earned him a penalty, which was short-lived after Mike Green flubbed the puck in the neutral zone which sent the Leafs on a breakaway. Fortunately for the Wings, Green hooked the player as he was skating in and took a very necessary penalty.

The defense looked way different this period in a very bad way. Seems as if they were caught in the wrong position, caught making bad reads, the list goes on. It's like everything is back to normal! Good. I hate change.

At the end of 40 minutes, score is 2-1 Wings. Shots owned by Leafs (14-10) as well as 5v5 shot attempts (20-16).

Third Period:

So, I'll apologize now. My mind is in another place since Elliote Friedman reported that Pavel Datsyuk could be leaving Detroit earlier than expected. Got the shakes going on thinking about it.

Anyways.

The Red Wings managed to pull ahead by two goals after Kyle Quincey absolutely ripped a shot past Garret Sparks. As JJ would say, the best Kyle:

The game continued to be a very chippy one.

Nothing is ever easy with this team, it seems. They managed to keep their heads above water despite the Leafs skating circles around them in the third period. Jimmy Howard had a strong outing tonight, and it looks like he's going to be the starter for however long this team manages to stay alive.

William Nylander pulled the Leafs back within one. Might I just add, having Nylander in our division for the long haul is going to seriously suck. That kid can play.

With over two minutes worth of an empty net for the Leafs, the Red Wings managed to squeak out of this one despite being outshot 34-26. The fact that they didn't score more on Garret Sparks is pretty funny. Boy, does that guy suck.

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The Wings now sit at third in the Atlantic division. All eyes are fixed on the Boston Bruins' tilt with the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow. The Blackhawks won't have their starting goalie, or two of their best defensemen. So, you know. Whatever.

Two points. That's all that matters.

LGRW