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Ace is Wild, Red Wings Win 3-2 in OT

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The Minnesota Wild visit Joe Louis Arena for the last time looking to get hot going into the post-season. Their dismal streak instead continued as the Red Wings topped them in the extra session.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the twentieth anniversary of one of the most memorable games in Red Wings history. An afternoon game just means you have time this evening to load up Fight Night at the Joe to relive the beautiful, insane memories.

First Period:

Doc Emrick was just talking about how Minnesota was 2-8-0 in their last 10 games when the Red Wings nearly caught Devan Dubnyk out of his net and without his stick. Dubnyk just barely got back in net and Henrik Zetterberg couldn’t bend physics to a near-impossibility as he shot it from near the boards on the goal line. As if the laws of mortals should disobey the will of a Norse God.

About six minutes in, the Wild had a 3-on-1 on birthday boy Jimmy Howard that saw Jason Zucker, uh, miss by a lot. I would make fun of him but I’m pretty sure the Wings have done something similar this season, so I’ll stay quiet.

I just remembered that Dubnyk is one of those huge goalies that block everything just by standing still in goal. I’m sure this will go well.

Hey, did you know Riley Sheahan hasn’t scored a goal this season? NBCSN wanted you to be aware of that in case you hadn’t heard.

A miscommunication between Frans Nielsen and Danny DeKeyser let Eric “Thunder Bay native” Staal score just before the halfway point of the period. An airborne puck and a DeKeyser decision to move up let Staal receive a pass ahead of every Red Wings sweater to rifle a shot in off the crossbar. In the locker room, one of the balloons on Howard’s locker just deflated with a fart noise. Phbbt.

I guess he felt bad for scoring on Howard on his birthday or something, because Detroit went to the power play a couple of minutes later on a Staal slash. What a nice guy.

Hey look, Pierre McGuire finally identified the correct bald guy behind the bench in his mid-period interview. I suppose #GlassesBlash is like the opposite of Clark Kent, since it’s only when he’s wearing his disguise that McGuire knows who he is.

Not quite a minute on the power play and Justin Abdelkader caught Jason Pominville in the ear with a high-stick. sigh

Neither team got anywhere on their minute of time with the extra man.

Just when you thought it was safe to mute the broadcast ahead of the intermission report, Mike Green tied up the game with 18.5 seconds to go. Nielsen won the puck back to Green, who got it over to Niklas Kronwall and immediately back for an unprepared Dubnyk to let the not-so-bullet shot go straight through his five-hole. I’d have to imagine the mess of players leaving the faceoff dot obscured Dubnyk’s vision, because he barely reacted on the play.

Shots: 10-8 Minnesota
Score: 1-1 tie

Second Period:

Back to the penalty kill less than two minutes in as Kronwall drove to the net and ended up knocking over Dubnyk in his crease. Eddie Olczyk praised Martin Hanzal for not taking a coincidental penalty after that horrific assassination attempt on his goaltender, while voice of reason Pierre McGuire pointed out that Kronwall was immediately trying to apologize for running him over.

Hey, did you know the Red Wings are really good at pick plays, aka subtle interference? NBCSN wanted you to be aware of that in case you hadn’t heard.

Andreas Athanasiou started making his presence known as the middle frame wore on, even if it was only getting a couple of hard shots in on Dubnyk from a good distance away.

Nick Jensen got yanked down to the ice on a play by Ryan White that even shocked the national announcers when there was no call. Even if the refs had blown the whistle, I’m pretty sure White only responds to duck calls ever since he wandered off the Duck Dynasty set.

Sure enough, minutes later Athanasiou was sprung by Abdelkader for a chance that never saw him get a shot off on a good defensive play by Nate Prosser.

A should-be-harmless puck shot by the aforementioned Prosser from the point ended up tipped by Dylan Larkin on the way to Howard and just like that, the game was no longer tied with 3:46 to go. It was Prosser’s first goal of the season, of course, and his first in over two years. I’m pretty sure Riley Sheahan is collecting frog spleens and bat livers to try and break whatever dark magic has been used against him.

Drew Miller was hoping to get the second Budd Lynch goal of the game for his team, but Dubnyk made the quick save on the shot from just outside his crease. 45 seconds to go and the Wings went to another power play on a Mikko Koivu holding penalty.

Shots: 18-14 Minnesota
Score: 2-1 Wild

Third Period:

The Wings spent most of their power play to start the third in the Wild zone like good little hockey players, and 55 seconds in Tomas Tatar did what he couldn’t do in the opening minute of the second and put the biscuit in the basket. His 22nd goal of the season came off a pretty series of passes as Zetterberg flung the puck to the middle for Gustav Nyquist, who while falling down got it over to Tatar for the one-timer.

A scary rebound on a Charlie Coyle shot nearly went straight to an incoming Zach Parise, but the opportunity was cancelled out by Miller. Not exactly the line matchup you’d like to see, but you’re not going to complain too much on a no-harm play.

Nyquist attempted to fight through Marco Scandella and Matt Dumba on the way to the net but was only able to send the puck wide once he got there. Should have just high-sticked them both in the face if you ask me.

Anthony Mantha appeared to put his team in the lead for the first time this afternoon on a huge shot from the blue line, but a certain alternate captain was in a shoving match with Dumba in the Minnesota crease and bumped into Dubnyk to cancel out the go-ahead goal. More pushing and shoving and then it was time for a challenge from the Detroit bench that really couldn’t be argued with the overhead shot.

Xavier Ouellet very nearly had a behind-the-net giveaway to break the tie the other way, but Tatar was in the perfect position to take away Pominville’s chance off the Zucker pass. Exhale.

Koivu decided he wanted to try and chirp Zetterberg on the way back to the benches, though I didn’t see Z look back at the Wild captain once. The announcers tried to pass it off as some long-standing Scandinavian rivalry or something, even though I’m pretty sure it was just Koivu being a big frustrated baby.

Howard made two great stops in about ten seconds during the last minute to keep the game tied. The first was on Staal looking for a stick-side snipe, and then on Zucker after a giveaway. Not a fan of these late-game heroics being necessary, but hey.

Time for free hockey!

Overtime:

The Wild controlled the extra time early until Green and Tatar had a chance together out of the zone. Larkin and Nyquist had a slowed-down play of their own that Nyquist missed high on. Then Russo got caught back as the lone man as Minnesota got their own two-on-one with Parise and Haula, but they were unable to convert as Howard made the save.

Nyquist immediately got it ahead to a streaking Athanasiou, who ended it with an easy goal into the gaping cage, Dubnyk prone on the ice after a failed poke-check. There’s not much more you can say about this kid. He’s simply, absolutely electric.

Shots: 26-19 Minnesota
Score: 3-2 Red Wings

Final Thoughts:

  • Somehow the so-called “State of Hockey” seems to employ the most players that have non-hockey sounding names. Scandella sounds like the next disease to make its 21st century comeback and I’m pretty sure Pominville is a city in rural Pennsylvania with an annual pomegranate festival. Do they grow pomegranates that far north? I don’t even know.
  • NBCSN only very rarely shows the shots on goal and that is maddening. And to think we were annoyed at FSD when they first started showing that during games!
  • Poor little Larkin after the Prosser goal. He tucked himself into the corner in front of Mrazek next to the bench door and all but made himself disappear under the dasher. Someone get that kid an emergency puppy.
  • All the jokes I made earlier this season about carryover power plays and the Red Wings had to go and have one with Doc Emrick in the house. Good thing he was able to contain himself because the new arena isn’t ready yet.
  • Quick shots were shown of LCA as construction enters its final months. And yes, there was video evidence of cupholders on the seats. True luxuries, my friends.