The Wings headed into Montreal on Monday night looking for their first win of the season against a backup goaltender, an injured/sick team, and a squad that’s not expected to make many waves without Carey Price continuing to stand on his head. Let’s see how well this opening paragraph holds up now that I’ve written it.
It’s time for a journey through Detroit’s sixth game of the season!
Michael Rasmussen got a good view of some nice Red Wings hockey to start the game as the Helm-Larkin-Mantha line started off with an extended stay in the Montreal zone before things settled into more back-and-forth play. The next few chances were for the Habs before Tyler Bertuzzi made a good backcheck that created an opportunity to spring Andreas “now I’m Darren Helm” Athanasiou for a chance that Niemi stopped.
Several minutes later, Athanasiou proved that he can create rush chances at both ends, as a bad turnover inside the Habs’ blue line created a breakaway for Drouin in which he was fouled from behind by Filip Hronek earning a penalty shot that he scores on to make it 1-0 Canadiens. Personally, I think it’s a soft call to give the penalty shot, but it’s not exactly the worst ref decision to favor the Habs in Montreal I’ve ever seen.
The Wings were able to grab the momentum for a short period following the goal but things again settled to more back-and-forth (with the better chances going to the Habs) until a slashing call on Thomas Vanek gave the Montreal power play a chance to extend the lead. After an initial flurry, the Wings’ PK was able to settle and kill off the rest of the penalty, but the celebration for a successful PK would be short-lived as a scoring chance for Dylan Larkin turns into a lost stick for Joe Hicketts and a goal from Tomas Plekanec in his 1,000th game up the left wing side after outwaiting Howard and banking it in off Hronek crashing back. 2-0 Canadiens on the goal.
Fortunately, Detroit made it 2-1 Habs while the arena announcer was still rattling off the scoring on the Plekanec goal, as Tyler Bertuzzi and Andreas Athanasiou work hard at the net-front and AA is able to jam it in just 28 seconds later with a backhander.
Andreas Athanasiou gets the proverbial monkey off his back and notches his first goal of the season. pic.twitter.com/uKsx6M5PAU— Tom Mitsos (@tom_mitsos) October 16, 2018
Just after that, Detroit gets their firs power play chance as Tomas Tatar cross-checks Dylan Larkin in the corner of the Wings’ zone, creating hope of a tie game before the period ends. Frk hits the goalpost on a one-timer so hard you can hear the ringing in Nova Scotia to start things off, but nothing else doing for the Wings on this chance. Unfortunately, before the period ends, Tomas Tatar makes it 3-1 with just 8.7 seconds left as a net-front battle finishes off with a puck bouncing up in the air then down and in off Howard.
Summing up the period: Frk-Ehn-Abby happened.
Score: 3-1 Habs
Shots: 15-9 Habs
Standout Players: Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Dennis Cholowski, Tyler Bertuzzi
Sitdown Players: Martin Frk, Filip Hronek, Jimmy Howard, Nick Jensen, Joe Hicketts
The first 2.5 minutes of this period would certainly have you fooled about which team is trying to overcome a two-goal deficit, with Detroit not getting a shot on goal until a nifty move by Athanasiou gets him in for a backhand chance on Niemi. Unfortunately, less than 90 seconds later, Brendan Gallagher makes it 4-1 Canadiens off a feed from Tatar at the net-front.
43 seconds later, Charles Hudon makes it 5-1 finding an open net off a cross-ice feed while the defense plays grabass and Jimmy Howard’s night is finished. This goalie change doesn’t do much to stem the tide of Montreal scoring chances though, as the new netminder finds himself under siege until the next commercial break.
Out of the break, Drouin and Bertuzzi take matching slashing minors for saying hello to each other using their sticks, so we go 4-on-4 for a bit before Martin Frk turns it into a 4-on-3 power play for Montreal as he takes down Paul Byron to prevent a breakaway he would have caused. Detroit is able to kill off those two minutes, but can’t get settled before taking yet another penalty, this time a panicked slash on Cholowski. Montreal spends a lot of time in the Wings’ zone on this power play, but isn’t terribly dangerous, as those two minutes pass without incident.
You’ll never guess this, but Detroit takes the next penalty too. This time, it’s a puck-over-glass penalty on Larkin. This time the mistake is... costly? Is that even the right word? Do you care about “costly” when it’s already 5-1? Whatever. Drouin picks a loose puck out of a scrum and scoops it into the net to make it 6-1 Canadiens.
Proving he has a great sense of humor, Jeff Blashill decides to challenge for goaltender interference on Brendan Gallagher. It’s a stupid challenge in a stupid spot and the goal stands.
To the Wings’ credit, they do manage to add another two shots on net before the 2nd period ends.
Summing up the period: No.
Score: 6-1 Habs
Shots: 30-16 Habs
Standout Players: Nobody
Sitdown Players: Everybody, Martin Frk,
Detroit starts the first four minutes of the period increasing their shot total by 25%, looking like they’re at least playing to try and gather some pride off another ugly showing. This pays off several minutes later as Athanasiou makes it 6-2 off a feed from Glendening, who is wide open to make the play to AA crashing the crease thanks to an uncalled high stick which bloodied Jeff Petry. Not exactly the kind of play to take pride in.
On the next shift, Jonathan Drouin is felled by a shot block; he gets up to clear a puck and is shoved by Tyler Bertuzzi, which pisses Xavier Ouellet off and the two of them fight.
9:19 into the third period, Detroit earns their 2nd power play of the night as Larkin picks off a pass and gets hooked trying to create a chance the other way. Victor Mete sits and watches while Thomas Vanek makes it 6-3 coming out from behind the net after taking a feed from Mantha.
The next notable play is Filip Hronek taking a penalty for fighting back after Paul Byron throws a gloved punch at the young defender in front of Bernier. The Habs don’t score on this power play and Hronek comes out of the box to immediately create a scoring chance for Larkin by lifting the stick of a Montreal player and springing Dylan the other way for a shot that goes wide.
The comeback is looking a little sputtery as time winds down and gives its final death rattle just under the two-minute warning as Joel Armia feeds Paul Byron in front of the net to make it 7-3 Canadiens and a goal that’s gotta make Hronek even angrier.
And that’s all there is to it.
Summing up the period: Wings nearly double their shot total, get more-than-doubled-up on the scoreboard.
Score: 73- Habs
Shots: 35-28 Habs
Standout Players: Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou
Sitdown Players: Michael Rasmussen
Well at least Detroit will get another chance on Thursday to win their first of the season against the.... Tampa Bay Lightn....