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CoLOLorado: Wings 5, Avs 1

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A close game turns into a laugher in the third period, and for once the Wings are the team laughing.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Pre-Game

I wasn’t able to see the last two games, and from the recaps and highlights, that was a good thing. So today, Detroit returns home to face the same Avalanche team that they lost to early this week.

Tomas Nosek was re-called this morning from Grand Rapids, and it sounds like he may play today due to injuries to Callahan and another unknown forward.

I hope it’s not Riley Sheahan because I am calling it right here. Riley Sheahan is scoring today. Hopefully for our team. If he doesn’t, at least respect that I didn’t go back and change this when you start mocking me in the comments.

Whether or not it’s realistic, I am going to be optimistic. In the immortal words of a character from a show that also had seasons I like to forget happened:

Yes. Yes I do.

First Period

So we’re going with Kronwall and Green as a pairing again. Typically, you would think that if you have a defenseman with a max of one working knee, you would pair him with your strongest defensive defenseman, but that makes too much sense.

I know you’re probably asking yourself “well, who is our best defensive defenseman?” That’s a question well worth asking, but I doubt many people would say Green.

You do you, Jeff.

Oh also, Nosek is not playing, so the injury to the mystery forward must not be too bad.

We’ve moved from Steve Ott getting punched in the face inspiring Detroit players to the Big 10 logo at center ice inspiring our players. Progress?

Larkin and Athanasiou get chances right off the hop, and Justin Abdelkader takes a high stick to put Detroit on the power play 35 seconds in.

Even though they don’t score, the power play looked better than the last game I saw. If they played that way on all their power plays, they wouldn’t be 29th in the league on the man advantage.

Detroit nearly scored six minutes in. Zetterberg held the puck under heavy pressure, but got it to Nyquist for a zone exit. Nielsen nearly put a centering pass from Nyquist past Calvin Pickard at the other end, but the score is still 0-0.

Something happened that I haven’t seen in my thirty years of watching hockey: Francois Beauchemin shot the puck out of the zone off the glass, but the puck went through the small hole for photographers and hit a fan in the fact. Luckily, it looks like the fan will be ok, but that was crazy.

Fun fact: today is the 125th anniversary of the creation of the Stanley Cup. Due to a mixup, the first trophy was an athletic supporter, and not the bowl we know today. After a Colorado hockey fan broke into the winning locker room and drank out of it, the tradition of drinking out of the Cup after winning it was established.

I bet you didn’t know that.

Luke Glendening takes a penalty for tripping with 6:39 left, and Colorado goes to their first power play.

Colorado used an interesting zone entry strategy to start the power play. They flip it into the corner and have their forwards race to get the puck and then get slammed into the boards by the defense. Their next entry strategy is to ice it, so maybe that first one is better than I thought.

Colorado takes no shots on the power play, and for a moment I’m glad I signed up for this recap because I get to laugh at another team’s power play.

It hasn’t been anything close to a “fight night” or “melee day” I guess, but there’s been enough physical play that it wouldn’t be surprising to see one last fight at the Joe between these two teams.

Mike Green decided that Jimmy Howard was having too easy of a period, so he turned the puck over 10 feet in front of Howard with 6 seconds left. Howard made the save, and we go to the intermission 0-0 in what has mostly been a snoozer so far.

Riley Sheahan goal watch has not borne fruit yet, but I’m still a believer. It’s going to happen today. I know what you are thinking about Sheahan scoring a goal this year, but I refuse to give up:

I want to believe.

Second Period

I haven’t been able to watch too many games the last few weeks, but Anthony Mantha is not playing anything like he was earlier in the season. I think a substantial part of it is not playing with Zetterberg. The captain hasn’t been great every game this year, but he’s been the Wings’ most consistently strong player over the entire season, and I don’t think it’s really close.

On his first shift of the second period, Mantha made a strong move to the net. Let’s see more of that, please.

The 71-72-8 line has created a large chunk of the Wings’ scoring chances today, and Larkin and Athanasiou nearly combined to break the scoreless tie, but the puck deflects and floats over the net.

Mantha has another strong shift and drops a pass to Helm, who is laid out and limps to the bench. At first, it looked like he hurt his shoulder, but it appears to be lower body. I’ll have to see a replay, but I didn’t see anything dirty about the hit. The replay showed that Johnson’s knee caught Helm in the thigh, just above the knee, or at least I hope so. Helm couldn’t put any weight on that leg while getting off the ice.

Nick Jensen jumped into the play with just under 12 minutes left and centered to Abdelkader who was driving the net. Landeskog tied him up, keeping Detroit from getting a shot on goal. It looked illegal at first, but I’d have to see a replay.

Shots are 14-10 Colorado at the halfway mark, and I’m seriously considering making up goals to have more to write about.

With six minutes left to play, the crew at Joe Louis Arena put up an old picture of Ken Daniels on the scoreboard. It was the most entertainment the crowd has seen so far.

A minute later, some of the crowd can be heard audibly booing the home team, and I’m pretty sure they’re not yelling “Booo-urns.”

The Wings draw a power play just before the last TV timeout of the first period, and Darren Helm returns to the ice to test his leg.

So, let’s go to another Detroit power play:

No, wait. I said I would be positive.

And my optimism was rewarded almost instantly! Justin Abdelkader scores a goal. And it’s on the power play! I know I said I was thinking of making up goals, but I swear those are both true statements. Henrik Zetterberg and Kronwall get the assists.

1-0 Detroit.

Helm could put some weight on his leg, but it wasn’t good enough to play, and he returned the the dressing room.

The period ends 1-0.

Other than the goal, most of the game has been like this:

Let’s hope the third is more entertaining.

Third Period

Mike Green nearly scores a highlight reel goal a minute into the third period. Zetterberg floated a cross-ice pass to the defenseman, who hit it out of mid-air, but Pickard kept it out, even though he didn’t know where it went.

Tyson Barrie shoots a blast from the point that’s going wide until it hits Nathan MacKinnon’s skate in front of the net and deflects in to tie the game at 1-1.

Hopefully the Wings play through it, but this sure feels like the Avalanche are going to score three or four in the next few minutes.

Don’t listen to anything I say because Tatar makes it 2-1 moments later. Luke Glendening chips the puck out of his zone and off the boards. Colorado’s defenseman hits Glendening with his clearance attempt, and LGD finds a wide open Tatar for an easy tap in. I’m not going to say I’m not happy about the goal because of course I am, but that could have been Sheahan.

Man, we have played some really bad hockey this year, but holy shit the Avalanche are even worse. Tatar scores his second of the last 2 minutes, and Pickard will really want that back. Still a nice shot by Tatar, and the score is 3-1.

DeKeyser takes an interference penalty, which is apparently now being called after being ignored all game, so the Avs go to a power play.

Mickey and Ken spend a minute talking about their Light the Lamp contest, which is a minute longer than most fans care to hear about.

Detroit kills the penalty, and Howard makes several saves. He’s been strong all game, and it’s nice to see the offense give him a little margin of error.

After the Avalanches spend an entire shift attacking Glendening, Luke has enough and goes after Blake Comeau. They don’t really fight, which the fans are angry about, but Comeau gets a minor penalty for one of the ten infractions he committed on the shift.

Abdelkader sets up Nyquist for a beautiful chance, but he misses putting it by Pickard by a couple inches.

Dylan Larkin scores a minute later on the power play. Green’s shot rebound was sent over to an open area by Sheahan, and Larkin ripped it by Pickard to make it 4-1. Athanasiou picks up the other assist.

Jeff Blashill considers challenging to see if the puck deflected off of Sheahan in front, but decides against it. If you watch the replay, Larkin’s shot came a couple inches from deflecting off Sheahan on its way in. So close.

Gustav Nyquist makes it 5-1 off a beautiful feed from Zetterberg.

By the way, if you aren’t following @helmerroids, you really need to. She cracks me up at least twice a period, usually more.

And that’s the final whistle. A boring game turned fun really quickly, and Colorado’s defense was destroyed just as quickly as if it had been suddenly covered by a great deal of snow.

They should make a word for that.

So, my theory that the black oil would take over Riley Sheahan’s body and he would finally score this year proved to be unfounded, but whatever.

I’ll leave you with an overheard quote from the Avalanche defense prior to the start of the third period.

LGRW!