Before we get started on the last recap of the 2017 calendar year, I want to start out by asking anybody reading this who has plans of taking part in festivities tonight to please don’t get behind the wheel if you’re even buzzed. The risk simply isn’t worth it. Take a few minutes to prep a plan that involves only sober people operating the means of transportation and make everybody safer. Please.
Now, let’s get started on an end-of-year game recap between two teams currently out of the playoffs.
FIRST PERIOD SUMMARY
We start off the game with Mike Green making the Penguins mad shooting the puck after an offside whistle, but the first scoring chance comes 2:08 in off a Hagelin chance fed right out front from behind the net by Riley Sheahan, who we’re all expecting to score at least one in this game. Interestingly, this first chance comes against the Nielsen shut-down line, which is only out against Sheahan because of an icing.
This created a problem on the next shift as Larkin’s line got caught out against Crosby’s, creating another good scoring chance on a net-front shot by Sheary.
It took until 8:02 of the period before the Wings were able to record a shot on goal, a net-front stuff attempt by Nyquist that Murray stopped which took us to commercial break. The teams came back with Booth blocking a shot with his face and going off followed shortly by a Malkin penalty for taking Trevor Daley down behind the Wings net.
The power play wasn’t able to accomplish anything but passing around the perimeter, which wasn’t helped by Niklas Kronwall’s insistence on always remaining within two feet of the blue line and never collapsing to make it harder on the PKers. Fortunately, the Wings took momentum out of the PP and started controlling play. The Wings got on the boards first as Tyler Bertuzzi chucked a puck up ice to get Henrik Zetterberg into the zone. Hank gets caught at the boards, but finds Nyquist jumping in for a chance from the high slot that he snipes past Murray to make it 1-0 Red Wings.
On the very next shift, Bertuzzi found himself headed to the box for high-sticking, as Ian Cole took a run at him on a zone exit and Bertuzzi dodging the hit ended up getting his stick up for a four-minute penalty. This created a nice rant by Mickey Redmond about how players’ inability to feed lumber to guys who take runs at them makes the league more dangerous (about two minutes later they show a replay that makes it clear Cole really didn’t run at Bertuzzi, BTW).
The Wings kill off both penalties, allowing just one shot in the four minutes, but then give up two frightening scoring chances in the continuation after Bertuzzi comes out of the box.
The Period Summed Up in One Sentence: Penguins setting up shop behind Howard but only the Goose got loose.
Score: 1-0 Detroit
Shots: 12-6 Penguins
Standout Players: Zetterberg
Sitdown players: Kronwall, Ericsson
SECOND PERIOD SUMMARY
The period starts out with a chance from Nielsen off a Green shot rebound that hits the post, but we don’t have to wait too long for good news, as Larkin absolutely torches the Pittsburgh D up the right wing side off feeds from Tatar and Daley as he gets around Malkin and Cole, cutting across Murray and sliding it in to make it 2-0 Red Wings.
From there, things were pretty back-and-forth for about five minutes before Crosby and Zetterberg get the crowd riled up with some physical play. With the boos still raining on Crosby for a punch to the back of Hank’s head, Jensen takes a penalty for interfering with Sheahan that almost doesn’t get to the power play except for a wonderful stop made out front by Jimmy Howard coming across is crease and stretching out to stymie Matt Hunwick.
The Penguins’ PP moves it around the edge better than the Wings’ PP does and about 90 seconds in, Kessel finds Malkin on the back door for a one-timer that Jimmy Howard gloves down on a beautiful stretch that’s found to be a little too late after a review finds it was in the glove but across the line, making it 2-1 Detroit.
Here's the replay they used to overturn the call on the ice pic.twitter.com/Llg3g0OrXO— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 1, 2018
From here, we get a stretch of play where the only really interesting thing is Nyquist trying to trick Kessel with a stick tap that I’m pretty sure caused Kessel to make gas face at him with an “are you serious?” before not falling for it. Fortunately, it got more exciting from there as Frans Nielsen makes it 3-1 off a defensive zone faceoff where Green gets it out to Helm at center and Helm feeds Nielsen across the ice for a semi-challenged rush. Nielsen fakes the slapper and then slides it under Murray as he has to move to adjust to the shot that didn’t come.
Frans with the sweet shot fake and then he slides it under Murray's pad for the goal. 3-1 Wings pic.twitter.com/xz5NvbgzjJ— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 1, 2018
The next two minutes, things opened up pretty well; Tatar and Athanasiou got a 2-on-1 rush that ended with a pass just going too far behind AA for a finish followed immediately by a Pittsburgh odd-man that stopped at the attempt for Sheary to make the cross-ice pass himself.
The Period Summed Up in One Sentence: Pittsburgh won the fancystats, but Detroit won the fancier stats in a well-played 2nd.
Score: 3-1 Red Wings
Shots: 12-10 Pittsburgh (24-16 overall)
Standout Players: Nielsen, Helm, Howard, Larkin
Sitdown players: Jensen, Abdelkader, Tatar
THIRD PERIOD SUMMARY
The Penguins came out for the third playing a patient game and the Wings were all too happy to oblige them in that, merrily cycling back against a one-man forecheck instead of skating into a neutral zone trap. It took almost five minutes for the Wings to put a shot on goal, but during the same span, the Penguins only managed two floaters from distance themselves.
We did get some excitement before the first commercial break on a good shift by Bertuzzi, Zetterberg and Nyquist in the offensive zone followed by a Penguins scoring chance on a rush after they were able to break the pressure and get a shot on Howard that gave him a little trouble with the rebound.
The next five minutes or so was marked by a very good backcheck by Athanasiou and a solid defensive play by Tyler Bertuzzi as the Penguins started to add more pressure to their game via more-aggressive forechecking and defense-activation, but we got to the 10-minute mark with no changes to the scoresheet... and then to the five-minute mark with the same (with this stretch defined by more good play by the Zetterberg line and nothing really of note from the Penguins).
Gustav Nyquist scores his 100th career goal on a play that starts with a Bertuzzi offensive zone steal and then a great Zetterberg forecheck to free up a puck. Hank feeds Bert who takes a shot stopped by Murray. Goose is on the doorstep to pot the rebound on the backhand and it’s a goal.
Nyquist gets his 100th career goal and he's now back on a 25-goal pace pic.twitter.com/R2sjbB9omq— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 1, 2018
That’s all she wrote for this one.
The Period Summed Up in One Sentence: One of the most-complete third period efforts from the Red Wings all year.
Score: 4-1 Wings
Shots: 14-7 Penguins (38-23 overall)
Standout Players: Bertuzzi, Nyquist, Howard
Sitdown players: Nobody
The Red Wings have found success with a short outlet pass from a harried defender to a forward right in front of his goaltender to start a breakout, but the Pens really keyed on that in the first period and nearly got three goals off attacking that play alone. Fortunately, they did seem to make the adjustment for the second and went more vertical.
I keep waiting for my dislike of Patric Hornqvist to grow into begrudging respect and every game I see him it just doesn’t get there. The guy is good and all, so I suppose I have to respect him, but mostly I want to see him swallowed by the universe and spit back out as the chicken turd he is. This is not an objective thing and I accept that.
I haven’t really fretted much about the smallish lower bowl crowds at the LCA and the relatively quiet tone of them, but the energy in the building for this game did make me sad that it’s not like that more often because it honestly made watching the game more fun. Even if most of what I was doing was feeling along with the folks in attendance hating on Crosby, it was more fun than usual.
One of these days, I’m going to get blasted for gushing about Tyler Bertuzzi, but I don’t care. He’s fun and I like him.
Again, please do not drink and drive. Not even buzzed. I beg of you.
Happy New Year and we’ll see you again on Wednesday against Ottawa.