The Wings entered the night hot off a 3-1 victory over the Kings (thanks Jimmy!) and with some pretty middling results over the last ten games; win one here, lose one there. That sort of thing. (Side note: it was Athanasiou’s 200th NHL game. Say whaaaat?) The Wings went with the 11-7 lineup thanks to Mantha and Dekeyser both being out, and I just hate it when they roll with it.
My hatred was vindicated and the Wings got walloped. The game was closer than the score indicated and there were some positives to this one, but a slow first ten-minutes and a milieu in the second doomed Detroit to the tune of a 6-2 loss.
The Wings started the period on the wrong foot, the back foot. The Caps kept the Wings hemmed in their zone, never giving them clean possession with the puck on their sticks. This resulted in a couple icings. Then Nielsen had his stick in the wrong place at the wrong time as Lars Eller lost an edge, so Nielsen got bounced for tripping.
The Capitals spent most of the power play looking rather non-threatening until Brett Connolly tipped in a John Carlson slapshot to make it 1-0 Washington.
(Tip City? shudder.)
Finally, five minutes into the period the Wings lifted the siege as the Glendening line plus Jensen and X bombed Holtby from high in the zone, racking up several shots. The game at moments started to take on a track meet feel, which seemed to re-balance things a bit and explains why Washington was so keen to apply that heavy forecheck.
The game had some entertaining back and forth between the two squads until Washington made the whole deficit even worse for the Wings. The Caps Hail-Mary’d the puck from deep into their own zone to Jaskin at center ice. Green was right there to pick up coverage on Jaskin, but it turned it a foot race to chase down the puck, and Green’s age really showed. He was slow in the foot race, lost, and the Cap’s forecheck made fits of the Wings, allowing Travis Boyd to pick up the puck in the chaos and fire one past Bernier for a 2-0 Washington lead.
Frk got a great opportunity on Holtby but couldn’t bury, and indeed the Wings seemed mad about the 2-0 hole they were in. But screw that, Ovechkin fired a slap shot wide of the net, but ricocheted off Kronwall’s skate and past Bernier to make it 3-0. Bullocks. Just bad, bad luck.
It very nearly became 4-0 on a 2-on-none, but Bernier had an amazing sliding save on Boyd to keep the game within reach. Athanasiou turned it around immediately and got a great opportunity on Holtby, but the Caps’ netminder repaid in kind with a nice stop.
Score: 3-0 WSH
Shots: 11-10 DET
Stand Ups: Jensen, maybe Glendening’s when he was with Bertuzzi? idk, it’s hard to pay attention when I have to spend so much time looking at my monitor, typing descriptions of Washington goals.
The Wings came out in the second determined to get something going in the second period, with Larkin getting a great chance on Holtby on a face-off win, and Cholowski rattled one off the post a minute later, but Holtby and the iron around him wasn’t giving any ground.
Otherwise, we made it through the first eight minutes of the period without much to comment on, besides the Wings leaving enough space in the slot for Optimus Prime to drive through.
Just when I thought “man, despite everything, Jensen is having a real nice game” he went hard in the paint, found himself behind the Caps’ net, and no forward went back to cover. Puck popped out to the middle, 2-on-1 for the Caps, and Ovechkin buried it past Bernier. 4-0 Washington.
Then Nielsen decided to blast Nic Dowd into the boards to put the Wings down a man. Larkin nearly scored on a short-handed goal, but he was too gassed to get back and cover Oshie in the slot to make it 5-0 Capitals. With that goal, Bernier got the rest of the night of in lieu of Jimmy Howard.
To be honest, I walked away and pet the cat for a little while to make myself feel better, but when I came back, Orlov was dropping Larkin to the ice to give the Wings their first man advantage of the night. The Wings showed some good movement for the first 1:15 of the man-advantage, but they only produced one shot. Good pressure, though. The Caps couldn’t clear the puck until 25 seconds remaining. They immediately regained the zone and continued to apply pressure but couldn’t net themselves a much much needed goal.
Score: 5-0 WSH
Shots: 21-17 DET
Stand Ups: Let’s go with Cholowski. Also, Howard stopped every puck asked of him.
FINALLY! One minute into the period the Wings got the puck deep, Nyquist dug the puck out from the half boards and sent it back to Jensen, who sent the puck on net. The rebound trickled back out to Larkin, who had broken himself loose from Kuznetsov (feels good to type that) and taps it into an open net to make it 5-1. I’ll take it!
Larkin's 13th on the season. pic.twitter.com/z99Bs9OZtr— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) December 12, 2018
The Caps tried to challenge the goal because Nyquist was pushed up into him by Niskanen, but Holtby was a country mile outside of his crease, so call stands.
Wings actually put up some good pressure through the first half of the period. The Caps are a skilled but heavy team, the type that can be a really frustrating match up for the Wings, but the third period felt much more fun.
But just after I typed that Ovechkin scored a hat trick off a weird shot that sneaked past Howard’s blocker. 6-1 Caps. This stupid game got slowed down even more because the ice crew had to clear the stupid hats off the ice.
Just when you’d turned off the TV (let’s be honest, you turned it off in the second. No one is blaming you) the Wings dumped the puck deep into the Caps’ zone. Abdelkader broke up Washington’s pass behind the net, Nyquist scooped up the loose puck and went over the glove shoulder on Holtby, making it 6-2 on a pretty goal.
The game ended shortly after, making an ugly loss for the Wings.
Score: 6-2 WSH
Shots: 37-25 DET
Stand Ups: Larkin, Nyquist
The Wings got out-lucked and out-played by a team that plays a style that is tough on teams like Detroit. The shots really looked to be in Detroit’s favor, but Washington got the better chances. That being said, the score misrepresents the actual course of play. It was closer than 6-2 would leave you to believe. Washington was indeed aided by a little luck, but came by at least 4 of the goals honestly.
The Wings will regroup, build on the positives, and have another crack at playing the hockey this Friday when they welcome the Ottawa Senators to the LCA.