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Evgeny Svechnikov Makes NHL Debut, Wins Game in Shootout

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Ottawa Senators v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Tonight’s game was the first of a home-and-home series against the “most-likely playoff bound” Ottawa Senators. Adding a little more intrigue to the matchup, both Evgeny Svechnikov and Colin White made their NHL debuts in this game. The Senators came into this looking to solidify their spot in the postseason whereas the Wings hoped to play spoiler as the last season at The Joe winds down. So how’d things go tonight?

1st Period

The Wings came out with some strong play in the initial four or five minutes. Henrik Zetterberg had a nice opportunity from the slot just over a minute in and a shot from the point nearly ricocheted off the end boards and into the Senators net shortly thereafter.

Petr Mrazek did get some work about 6 minutes in when Derrick Brassard rang a puck off the post on a 2-on-1 and then Mike Hoffman almost capitalized on the rebound in front of the net. (For those of you who were forced to watch the Toronto-Buffalo game, this was roughly around when the Leafs had just scored 3 goals in 43 seconds).

Soon after the Wings had a few great shots in front of the net. A tic-tac-toe play that was finished off by Tomas Tatar nearly found twine and Mike Green came all the way from the point and into the slot to take a big shot that Anderson just got a piece of and turned away. A Danny DeKeyser turnover at the Red Wings blueline forced Mrazek to come up big again for the Wings, keeping us tied up.

Going into the final minutes of the period, the Senators had four or five odd man rushes that resulted in scoring chances whereas the Wings had more sustained pressure.

The Wings generated a few more shots within 5 minutes to play but we ended this period tied.

I thought Evgeny Svechnikov looked good overall in the first period. His line looked dangerous in the closing few minutes after a bit of a rocky start where he had two giveaways deep in the Senators zone. Svechnikov had lots of jump in his step and definitely got better as the period went on. You can’t really ask for more from a kid making his NHL debut.

2nd Period

Right off the opening faceoff Riley Sheahan found himself with the puck all alone in front of Anderson. But unfortunately he sent it high and off the glass. In the ensuing laughter at Sheahan’s awful luck, Mickey suggested he try aiming right for the goalie’s crest at this point, the puck was cycled below the Senators net, sent out in front and into the net.

At first it seemed like Sheahan had managed to get a piece of the puck before it found its way into the back of the net. However upon further review, Frans Nielsen’s centering attempt went off a Senator, off Anderson and into the net. 1-0 Wings.

This lead wouldn’t last long as the Senators came right back down the ice and Alexandre Burrows sent a knuckle puck (perhaps a deflection off Tatar’s stick) that beat Mrazek high glove. 1-1.

Just a few minutes later Bobby Ryan had a superb scoring chance from the slot when he rifled a one-timer that nearly beat Mrazek. Svechnikov and Larkin combined to make a little bit of magic as Svechnikov sent Larkin in on a breakaway that was thwarted by a last-second backcheck from the Senators defense. Unfortunately, the Wings simultaneously took a penalty for too many men, so it’s doubtful any goal would have counted anyways.

But the boys made amends for their mistake with a shorthanded goal courtesy of Jensen and Larkin. Jensen showed off his skating prowess, took the puck into the zone and left it for Larkin who just shoveled a backhand shot from below the faceoff dot towards the net. Somehow the puck found its way into the back of the net. 2-1 Wings.

Soon after Nyquist was nearly able to put the Wings up by 2 after some slick passing from Tatar and Zetterberg set him up in front of the Senators net, but a timely stick check put an end to that scoring chance. Minutes later, Nyquist came in on a breakaway but wasn’t able to get the puck past Anderson after showing “shot” the whole way.

As was the case in the first period, the Wings controlled the majority of the chances in the second but still did allow Ottawa a few nice opportunities here and there. The Senators really started to show some teeth as we approached the end of the second period but Mrazek continued to play well and get a little lucky every now and then.

With time winding down in the period Nyquist was sent off for tripping, and the Senators went to work on the powerplay with 49 seconds to go in the second frame. Apart from an Erik Karlsson shot that caught the glass and a Mark Stone chance through traffic which Mrazek snagged with his glove, the Senators didn’t put much towards the net on this short stretch of a powerplay and we went to the second intermission up a goal.

Larkin and Svechnikov had some nice chemistry in this period, so that was pretty exciting to see. As with other young players making their way into the NHL, he’s going to have mistakes here and there but he definitely looks like a player who belongs in this league. His pass to spring Larkin on a breakaway was great.

3rd Period

The Senators started this one with just over a minute left on their powerplay, courtesy of Nyquist tripping Ryan. And the night of weird goals continued to unfold. Fifty seconds into the period and Erik Karlsson sent a puck towards the Wings crease that somehow found its way underneath Mrazek’s pads and into the net. This was pretty similar to the goal Dylan Larkin scored on Anderson earlier in the game. Hockey is weird sometimes. 2-2.

The Wings did get a small stroke of luck when Karlsson tripped Sheahan at center ice and the Wings were given their first powerplay of the game. And boy was it an entertaining powerplay at that.

Too much happened for me to describe concisely, but the Wings possessed the puck for the entire first minute, nearly scored a few times (Zetterberg hit the post on a wide open net) and finally converted after the puck popped into the air, Nyquist got a stick on it to poke it over Anderson and into the net. The puck went off Anderson’s stick, hit Nyquist’s skate, hit Anderson’s elbow, knocked off Phaneuf’s stick before finally going into the net. 3-2 Wings. Suffice to say that going on the powerplay with the other team’s best defenseman in the box is pretty desirable.

Only seconds later it appeared as if Nielsen was tripped up in the Wings’ zone (he stepped on Brassard’s stick) and the Wings were given another powerplay with a chance to put a stranglehold on this game.

And they did exactly that. Sort of. Just over a minute into the man advantage, Green sent a puck towards the net that Nyquist tipped in the slot. 4-2 Wings. But the two goal lead was rather short-lived as Nick Jensen failed to clear the defensive zone on the ensuing Senators possession and Kyle Turris wired a shot into the back of the Red Wings net. 4-3 Wings. This game had a lot of energy going into the final 10 minutes of the third period.

Unfortunately for the Wings, it was the Senators who rose to the occasion in the final minutes of the game. Immediately off a defensive zone faceoff, the Senators sent the puck back to the point, Fredrik Claesson laid into a shot that beat Mrazek high glove and just like that, we had ourselves a hockey game with 7 minutes to go. 4-4.

As we entered the last 3 minutes of the period, the Senators had opened up a 37-27 shot on goal advantage after the Wings outplayed the Senators earlier in this game. Ottawa took hold of this game after the Red Wings’ two powerplay goals.

Nothing much happened in the last few minutes, and this one went to 3-on-3 overtime all tied up at 4.

Overtime

Karlsson opened things up with a contested shot that Mrazek fought off. Zetterberg found Athanasiou at the other end for a big shot that just went wide. Mike Green then walked in on Anderson but Anderson stayed with him the whole way to keep the game going. Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson were then stopped on consecutive breakaways by Mrazek. And in an absolute crazy finish, the Senators nearly scored on multiple chances, the puck got kicked out to Nyquist who went in on a breakaway with under 10 seconds left. Unfortunately for Goose, he couldn’t bury the shot and we went to a shootout in order to decide this one.

I have to say, this was one of the most entertaining 5 minutes of hockey I’d ever seen, so I highly recommend you find a place where you can watch it. Words cannot do everything that happened justice. No whistles in 5 minutes was absolutely insane to watch.

Shootout

Through the first three rounds of the shootout, neither team managed to score. Athanasiou sent one high and off the glass, Nielsen missed on his chance to pull even with Radim Vrbata for most shootout goals of all-time and Gustav Nyquist couldn’t fool Anderson on his chance.

Zetterberg went fourth and just missed a wide open net on a backhand-forehand deke that had Anderson fooled. But Mrazek fought off Pyatt’s shot at the other end to keep things going.

Tatar started the fifth round, came in slow, tried to fool Anderson with a few dekes but was stopped. Mark Stone failed to win it for the Senators at the other end, however, as his shot rang off the post.

Larkin opened up the sixth round and looked like he had Anderson beat five-hole but the puck never went into the net. Hoffman came in with another chance for the Senators to win the game but Mrazek got just enough of the puck to keep the game alive.

Svechnikov was given the nod to start the seventh round and holy shit he actually scored! Svech was able to sneak the puck under Anderson to give the Wings the lead. Colin White, making his NHL debut for the Senators, had his number called next by the Senators but Mrazek stood tall in net to preserve win. Red Wings win 5-4!

Check out the game winner below:

It won’t count as his first NHL goal, but man was that a cool moment. Also very cool: A large crowd of people chanting “Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie!” behind the FSD booth after the game for some reason. This might not have been the way we all hoped to say goodbye to The Joe, but it sure has been fun nonetheless.