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So Close, Yet So Far: Wings 1, Jackets 2

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NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The pre-game show tonight was dominated by a remembrance of Mike Ilitch, as well it should have been. John Keating and Chris Osgood started off the show with an in-studio segment, then segue’d to interviews with Red Wings players about their memories of Mr. I.

If you didn’t get a chance to see the pre-game show, and you can go back and watch it, you really should.

And I really want to know who decided that a Papa John’s ad during the pre-game was a good idea.

So we’re starting today’s game on a somber note, as is fitting. Hopefully the team can take this news and come out to play this late afternoon/evening.

First Period

Nielsen is in for Jurco, Kronwall is in for Sproul. I am a fan of one of those decisions.

I’m really not a fan of how the team is treating Ryan Sproul. He seems to have a lot of offensive potential, but he can’t get an extended look. Maybe he needs to start injuring goalies.

Last recap is used “Always Sunny” as my through-line. Today it’ll be Doctor Who. Now, I really hope I’m wrong, but here’s how I’m realistically feeling about our chances today:

But because of the potential energy in the dressing room to “win it for Mr. I,” I hope to be feeling like this:

Petr Mrazek is starting tonight. He didn’t play as well as he can last game, so here’s hoping that he can bounce back tonight.

They showed a replay of the Backstrom hit on Ericsson. Still looks like a bad accident. It should have been a penalty, but I don’t think there was any malice from Backstrom.

Tatar and Nielsen had a 2 on 0, but Tatar couldn’t lift it high enough to get it past Bobrovsky. It looked to me like he was trying to slip it through the five hole, but Bob waited him out.

So far, Columbus does not look like their normal self, at least on defense. The Wings need to take advantage of that before the Jackets can settle down.

Mrazek with a nice save off Seth Jones from the right point. Petr nearly got caught out of position on the follow up, but things worked out ok. .

Now it’s Mantha’s turn to break in on Bobrovsky. The Blue Jackets are having defensive breakdown after breakdown. Columbus is taking liberties after the whistle, which is really shocking from a John Tortorella coached team.

Man, they’re talking about how Tortorella is really into rescue dogs. Stop making me like things about him!

Having Nielsen back is already paying dividends, as he was in the perfect spot to cut off a Columbus breakout.

Booooooooo. Columbus scores. Boone Jenner tips a long shot from Brandon Dubinsky, and Mrazek can’t react quickly enough. Xavier Ouellet should have cleared the zone, and Dubinsky outmuscled Larkin at the point. The Wings should have cleared it, and Mrazek was too deep in his crease. Oh well, let’s come back.

1-0 Columbus.

The top line has looked really dangerous today.

David Savard takes a penalty, and the Red Wings will go to their first Belle Tire Futility Play.

Did I say Futility play? I meant Super Awesome Happy Fun Time Play!

Helm draws two players to him and dishes to Zetterberg. The captain puts a shot-pass onto Vanek’s stick, and he re-directs it over Bob’s shoulder for the tying goal.

1-1!

Nothing doing the rest of the way, and it’s still 1-1 at the end of the first period.

Second Period

At the beginning of the second period, here’s my mood. We scored a PP goal?

We are underway in the second period.

For the first four minutes, not much really happened. Mrazek made one nice save, and we are still at 1-1.

Kronwall had the best chance so far, putting a feed from Vanek into Bob’s chest.

Mrazek with a big save off Dubinsky, with the Jacket’s best chance of the period so far.

Zetterberg took a redirect off of Zach Werenski and carried it around the net, but couldn’t find the right pass.

So far in the second period, the game’s been pretty even. Both teams have had some good chances. Brandon Dubinsky has had the majority of the Jackets’ scoring chances.

Jeff Blashill is trying to get Dylan Larkin and Thomas Vanek jump-started by putting noted scorer Riley Sheahan with them. Surprisingly, it was not successful on their first shift together.

Josh Anderson tripped without any help from a Red Wing, and thankfully it wasn’t called because that would have been terrible.

Speaking of terrible, the Jackets score again. Dubinsky controls the puck behind the net and throws it in front. Boone Jenner and Ouellet were tied up in front of the net, and Cam Atkinson picked up the loose puck off Jenner’s skate and put it by a helpless Mrazek.

2-1 Jackets

Josh Anderson takes a penalty, and the Wings go to their second PP of the game.

Somehow Nielsen didn’t score on a rebound. It looked like it was 100% going in, but then the red light didn’t go on.

Mrazek had to make an acrobatic save he shouldn’t have to make, as the Jackets stole a Green miscue and set up a one-timer. Mrazek’s mask ended up on the ice, so the whistle blew right away.

Kronwall drives the net and is taken down, drawing a penalty. Let’s see if they can add a PP goal before the period is over.

It’s a four minute penalty.

Athanasiou nearly scored off a redirect from a Green shot from the point.

By the way, it’s super awesome that Kronwall is still on the power play. Surprisingly, we didn’t score yet on the PP.

We end the second 2-1 Columbus.

Third Period

My third period starting mood:

And....we didn’t score on the power play.

Larkin nearly set up Sheahan for his first goal of the season, but Riley put it just wide. Zetterberg put a backhand shot over the net shortly after.

Vanek heads down the tunnel five minutes in because of course.

Uggggh.

The replay of the Vanek injury does not look good at all. The Blue Jacket player fell on Vanek’s ankle from behind, and it looked like he could be out a while.

I hope I’m wrong, but it looks like Vanek could easily be out past the trade deadline, which is a little less than ideal.

Not really sure what’s going on with the shot counts in this game, but right now, it’s supposedly 33-32 in favor of Columbus. I don’t think that’s accurate.

And there’s one of the softest penalties you will see all year. Zetterberg is called for...something. You got me.

You can see why the Jackets’ power play is so deadly. They keep possession and move the puck quickly. The Wings dodged a bullet as Mrazek somehow put a shot over the net. It looked like Columbus was going to score, but it’s still 2-1.

Abdelkader was destroyed from behind. Puck nowhere near. But, that’s cool.

Good news. Vanek is back. Wait, what? How? I’ll take it.

Bad news. Red Wings took a penalty. I guess it maybe was a penalty? Maybe? I don’t think so, but oh well.

Good news again. The Wings killed the penalty, and looked good doing so.

According to the official Columbus scorer, the Jackets now have 79 shots on goal.

Mrazek stops the Jacket’s 104th shot, on the second breakaway in the last few minutes. I think we should stop letting those happen.

After looking at the replay of Vanek’s injury, I really think that the trainer gave him the shot that they gave the running back in Varsity Blues.

Tatar is absolutely robbed by Bob. Tatar does not like Bobrovsky’s post save celebration, where he attempted to raise the puck to the rafters. Surprisingly, one of the Jackets jackasses got in his face.

With two minutes left, Blashill pulls Mrazek.

The Wings can’t get anything going for the first 40 seconds with the extra attacker, and Blashill calls timeout. About 1:20 left.

Detroit left it all out on the ice, but the team couldn’t overcome at least one blatant hook on Zetterberg, and the game ends 2-1. Vanek hit the goal post as time was expiring, which really sucked because he had Bobrovsky beat.

My final mood: