First off, best wishes to anyone watching tonight’s game from Mount Washington in New Hampshire, where the wind chill is predicted to get to -100 degrees. That’s not a typo.
While the temperature in New Hampshire is freezing, the Red Wings have been heating up the last three games (John Keating, eat your heart out). Leading the charge has been Andreas Athanasiou. Here’s hoping to another great game from him and the youth. Dylan Larkin is playing in his 200th game.
Athanasiou, Larkin, and Tatar start the game.
GOAL! Mike Green throws a lob pass to Athanasiou from the defensive zone. The puck bounces at center ice and Ekblad can’t control it. AA pokes it free and gets around Ekblad before sliding a backhand five hole. 1-0 Red Wings and some of the fans who are planning on sitting in their seats haven’t had time to get there.
If burning Erik Karlsson wasn't fun enough, he's decided to blow by Aaron Ekblad pic.twitter.com/8QSUS7PMOt— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 6, 2018
A minute later, Bertuzzi has a nice hustle play to chase down a dump in and throw it in front for another chance. The Red Wings have been using the high lob pass to clear the zone a lot lately. It’s not going to continue to have this level of success, but if the defense adjusts by backing up, that should give Detroit an easier time making an entry pass to gain the zone.
Abdelkader takes a penalty for slashing that is one of the weakest slashing penalties I’ve seen in a while, and we’ve seen a lot of slashing calls this year.
Howard robs Barkov on a turnaround shot just outside the slot. It was a great save, but it’s another example of Howard having to bail out his team.
Detroit kills the penalty, but they allow 5 shots on the man advantage. So far, Florida has had more good chances, but Detroit has converted their best chance. The Red Wings need to pick up the play or this game will be tied pretty quickly.
With just over 8 minutes left in the period, Howard is bailed out by the goalpost as he was laid out. Looking at the replay, Howard was also bailed out by Ekblad’s stick getting caught in his own skate before he could bury the open rebound and also by Abdelkader getting his stick on the puck just enough to keep the defender from a clean shot.
At the commercial break, we’re still in the same position. Detroit leads, but Florida has had far more good scoring chances and has carried more of the play. Florida could easily have at least 3 goals. Detroit has to take advantage of the breaks they’ve gotten and solidify their play defensively.
Trocheck hits Green behind the net. They are not showing a replay, but it looked like a bad hit because Green was a few feet out from the boards, which is always dangerous. Trocheck was rewarded by receiving the puck out in front of the net for a good scoring chance.
Detroit finally got another dangerous chance as Larkin drove the net and threw the puck back into the slot where Tatar missed it and Athanasiou also missed, but by much less of a margin. If either had gotten a shot off, it could have easily doubled the lead.
Athanasiou was involved in another scoring chance, as he led an odd man rush with Tyler Bertuzzi. He tried to get the puck to the rookie, but Florida broke it up.
The period ends 1-0. Detroit had the goal, but Florida had the better of play.
Detroit starts the period off with a Tatar tip from a Green point shot that Reimer saved.
Howard was forced to make a save on Barkov on a two-on-one after a Detroit rush was broken up. Jimmy not only made the save, but also steered the rebound past the second Florida player.
Detroit has had flashes of life through the first 6 minutes of the second period, but they still only have 7 shots on goal. Athanasiou continues to be involved with many of the Detroit chances.
Larkin makes this goal happen, as his effort gets the puck deep into the zone. He chips it to Athanasiou, who finds Tatar for a wide open shot. Tatar makes no mistake and buries it. It’s Athanasiou’s second point of the night and another goal for that line.
The Athanasiou-Larkin-Tatar line continues to dominate the scoresheet. Great passing play from Larkin to Athanasiou to Tatar pic.twitter.com/V5nkAoggM6— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 6, 2018
On his next shift, Athanasiou has a chance to make it 3-0, but his sharp angle shot is stopped by Reimer.
Man, that lob pass almost worked again. Athanasiou seemed to be on the end of a shift and he couldn’t separate from the defenseman to get a good scoring chance.
Jimmy Howard makes another good save, this time on Dadonov. Florida has really been pushing the play even more than they had before, and Jimmy Howard is a huge reason why Detroit is still winning.
I have to wait for the replay because I have no idea what happened.
The point shot was deflected by Abdelkader off his glove up high in the air and arced into the net behind Reimer. The puck went about twenty feet up into the air.
The ruling on the play is that the puck hit off Abdelkader’s stick (which the replay showed it did) which was above the crossbar (which it was). I was hoping it would count, but I don’t have an issue with the call.
This puck literally hits Abdelkader in the glove, goes straight up in the air, and comes down in the net. Ridiculous pic.twitter.com/I0dvmjd5XE— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 6, 2018
Welp, we go from a three goal lead to entering the second intermission with a one goal lead as Michael Matheson goes nearly end to end, blowing by Mike Green (who was doing something other than playing defense) and tucking it in with just over a second left in the period.
Not to take anything away from Matheson because that was a hell of an individual effort, but what was Green doing there?
This is the type of goal that is hugely deflating, so let’s hope Detroit can re-group in the locker room.
The period ends with Detroit still being outplayed but with a one goal lead. I mean, look at this...
Abdelkader gets Detroit’s first chance of the period a minute in by pushing his way to the net. It was a nice attempt, but the angle was too tight for him to get the shot on net.
Tomas Tatar had a really bad turnover, but fortunately Florida could not make Detroit pay.
Ericsson gets burned at his own blue line and Huberdeau races the other way then passes to Barkov who puts it by Howard to tie the game.
On the next shift, Ekblad gets his stick up and goes to the box.
On the ensuing power play, Tatar hits the outside of the post, then Nyquist can’t put a screened shot past Reimer.
Detroit gets nothing off the power play. Shortly after that expired, Athanasiou took a breakout pass and nearly had another breakaway. Florida got back in time to force him to take a slapshot from the circle instead of go in on Reimer. Just after that, Florida takes another penalty, and Detroit goes back to the man advantage.
Nyquist nearly regains the lead off a deflection from a Zetterberg slap-pass.
The younger unit gets set up and keeps the pressure on Florida. They move it to Green who gets it to Frk for the one timer from the left point. The puck deflects off Mantha’s stick in front and goes in to re-gain the lead for Detroit. At first, it looked like the puck went straight in, but it turns out that it broke Mantha’s stick.
Credited to Anthony Mantha, but Martin Frk is great. 3-2. pic.twitter.com/6a3Ch1k851— Kyle M. (@KyleWIIM) January 6, 2018
Closer look at how it was credited to Mantha.. Stick clearly busted. pic.twitter.com/ML7jkT9w4f— Kyle M. (@KyleWIIM) January 6, 2018
Wow. Athanasiou and Larkin nearly made it 4-2, but Reimer made an acrobatic save to keep the puck out. Detroit is still leading with about 8 minutes left.
Howard maintains the lead after Dadonov beats Jensen to set up a shot from in close.
Barring some late collapse, it feels like Howard will be the POTG, so I wanted to make sure to get at least one of his saves in here.
We head to the last commercial break of the game (maybe) with Detroit still holding onto a 3-2 lead.
Zetterberg gets to a puck in the defensive zone and backhands the puck to Nyquist who streaks down the ice on a breakaway. He does the leg kick and tucks the puck five-hole to increase the lead to 4-2.
Nyquist breaks out his favorite breakaway move to put the Wings up 4-2 pic.twitter.com/isCKqaTSH7— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) January 6, 2018
Florida pulls their goalie. Ekblad hooks Abdelkader, whose stick clips Ekblad in the face, so both go for two minutes with 1:57 left.
Larkin and Athanasiou are the forwards out with under a minute left with Florida’s goalie pulled.
If you are a fan of offside reviews and Red Wings wins, then the last minute is for you. Detroit looked to score on the empty net but Helm was offside before passing to Nielsen who put it in. After a review, the goal was waved off, and Detroit wins 4-2.
The final shot attempt numbers were still heavily lopsided in favor of Florida, but Detroit did make up some ground in the third period. The Panthers were the better team for most of the game, but Detroit scored more goals.