The Wings came into the night still looking for their first win, and hoping that the Ducks (missing Kesler, Getzlaf, Perry, Eaves, and Kase) could provide. It was a night to celebrate in Anaheim, what with it being the 25th Anniversary of their first game, which was against Detroit. In commemoration of the event they wore those hideous purple/teal/black monstrosities, which really just serves as a reminder that Ducks have never in their history really been sure what their signature color should be.
Unfortunately, it didn't break the Wings way. Here’s how it went down:
45 seconds into the game Nyquist got called for slashing Lindholm’s stick while competing for the puck. Shortly later Max Comtois hooked Nielsen, though, which resulted in the end with Detroit getting about 1:20 of power play time, but they failed to register a shot.
The remainder of the first half of the period was a lot of skating and not much shooting. There was a loose puck in Anaheim’s crease, but it was cleared out before Larkin could crash it in, which was the most exciting chance either side got in the early going.
The Ducks got their own chance early when some good puck movement and some miscommunication by Hronek to cough up a puck in the slot, but Howard stood tall and stopped the Ducks’ grade-A scoring chance to keep things even.
Back in Anaheim’s end shortly after, Gibson misplayed the puck in Nielsen’s direction, who held the puck in just in front of the blue line. Nielsen dished it to Rasmussen at the top of the left circle, who made a nice spinning pass to Bertuzzi who did his best impression of Uncle Todd with a sick spin move to wrist the puck past Gibson and make it 1-0 Red Wings! And Rasmussen with his first NHL point! First lead of the season for Detroit!
What a goal by Tyler Bertuzzi, and great work from Rasmussen to set it up. pic.twitter.com/SSDyPRYoSD— Kyle M. (@KyleWIIM) October 9, 2018
And a second gif of the goal just to appreciate the flow after that fist pump.
Grade-A chance shortly thereafter via a two-on-one featuring Larkin and Mantha, but Gibson followed Larkin’s cross-ice pass all the way and slid easily from left to right to cover Mantha’s shot. And then Nielsen nearly scored by deflecting a shot from Bertuzzi. Suddenly, the Wings had some swagger and flow not unlike Bertuzzi’s mullet.
Detroit mostly controlled play for the remainder of the period with a number of excellent scoring opportunities. Detroit controlled play for the rest of the period. I typed it a second time because it feels good, and we don’t get to write that as much as we used to. Overall it was a very strong period from Detroit, the best they've had thus far in the young season. The Ducks should have considered themselves fortunate to be trailing only by a goal.
Score: 1-0 Red Wings
Shots: 8-6 Red Wings
Stand Outs: Bertuzzi, Howard, and the team effort
The period opened with a nice face-off win by Ehn, which I think says something about Blashill’s faith in Ehn that Blash is putting Ehn out there to take an opening draw for a period. The kid is quietly doing his job.
Libor Sulak had everyone’s favorite penalty called against him when he accidentally put the puck over the glass for a delay-of-game call. Anaheim shot themselves in the foot once again though when Cam Fowler slashed Helm to put the game back to 4-on-4 just 30 seconds into the Sulak penalty. Then they started playing Tom Sawyer by Rush, which is one of the greatest songs ever, so you knew good things were coming. Athanasiou had a great breakaway opportunity but threw it a little too high when he tried to roof it. I blame the Honda Center. Play Limelight and that puck is in the back of the net.
Anaheim finally got a powerplay they didn’t screw up off a Luke Glendening interference, and while they didn’t score, it did give the Ducks a little momentum. They built this momentum into a few sustained shifts over the middle portion of the period , eventually leading to Hampus Lindholm firing a shot from high on the right circle, deflecting off Larkin’s stick, over Hicketts head, and past Howard to make the game a 1-1 tie.
At first I thought the Wings’ defensemen might’ve screened Howard, but then I saw who it was and realized that was impossible. Yeah, the puck went over Hickett’s head. Do with that one what you will.
Vanek nearly gave the Wings the lead back, but the breakaway pass from Abdelkader was sent just a little too far for him. The puck did take a weird angle off Vanek’s stick, though, and seemed to hit Gibson awkwardly on his blocker hand.
Silfverberg nearly gave the the Ducks the lead with 6:00 remaining in the period off a Sam Steel redirection, but the post came to save the Wings’ hide. Rakell had a great attempt on the following shift before leading into the TV break, and you began to hope that Blashill had something good to say to say to the guys behind the commercials, because you could feel the game had, by now, really swung back towards the Ducks’ favor.
And coming back from the break we caught Ken Daniels saying the pre-season was overrated, which was a little awkward.
But awkwardness melted away to elation as Ehn, Glendening, and Helm rushed the net. Helm released a wrister that Gibson stopped, but he gave up such a juicy rebound that Helm got another opportunity on the back hand, sending it past Gibson to make it 2-1 Red Wings! Assists from DeKeyser and Howard!
The period closed out with some fierce but clean competition between the two squads, which left viewers really thinking “man, who do I hate on this team when Perry, Getzlaf, AND Kesler are out with injuries?”
A good problem to have, I guess.
Score: 2-1 Red Wings
Shots: 16-14 Red Wings
Stand Outs: Howard, Helm
The third started the way the second ended with two teams seemingly equally matched due to injuries. The ice seemed to tilt the Ducks way until Larkin’s line came over the board for the second time in the period to give the Wings the momentum back. Jensen also played aggressive and confident to get things going back in the right direction.
At times the game began to feel like a track race between the two squads chasing and racing and shooting. The Ducks hit a crossbar to save the Wings’ lead, but Mantha was also denied on Gibson’s doorstep. Jakub Silfverberg did it a little better than Mantha did with 11:31 left to score. The Wings called for goaltender interference, but no dice on the overturn, so the game got knotted at a 2-2 tie.
The tense pace continued as the Ducks slowly kept pushing harder and harder against the Wings. Jimmy had to make a couple exceptional saves against the Ducks.
Then, a funny thing happened. The Wings’ effort increased. Blashill shortened the bench and the drive was there. Several Ducks interfered with Detroit skaters to slow them down, because they just couldn’t keep pace. But, mother of god, neither team could seal the deal in the closing minutes, so we were headed in a West Coast game on a work night. I was not bothered by this one bit! No sir.
Score: 2-2 Tie
Shots: 24-21 Ducks
Stand Outs: Howard. The Fourth Line
OT started with Nielsen, DeKeyser, and Athanasiou. Nielsen won the faceoff and created some great pressure in the offensive zone, but Athanasiou tried doing too much and coughed up the puck. Larkin and Nyquist had a nice attempt, but Larkin couldn’t get a good enough handle on the puck. Jimmy Howard had to make a helluva stop against Lundestrom as the Swede broke loose from his coverage. The game could have ended in OT, but of course no, it didn’t. So, to the shoot out.
ANA- Rakell O
DET- Vanek O
ANA- Terry X
DET- Nielsen O
ANA- Steel O
DET- Nyquist O
Ducks win it in the shoot out, 3-2. In a different season I’d say it was a pretty good game between two evenly matched squads, but not tonight. The Wings slip to 0-1-2 on the season while the Ducks sit at 3-0 and I’m tired. Howard played well, Bertuzzi played well, Larkin and Nyquist showed some real nice chemistry once again, but they lost. Feels like the Wings should be able to skate anyone out of the building and have their opponents be gassed in the third period, but easier said than done I guess. The Wings return home to face Babcock and the Leafs on Thursday, where the quest for the first win of the season gets tougher.