Here we are after a strange, but frustrating point-streak from this Detroit Red Wings team. A couple of blown leads, an overtime win/loss.. What’s the worst that could happen?
Tuesday night, the Red Wings skated out to an Anaheim Ducks team who continues to fight for their lives in the Western Conference — and from beginning-to-end, it was clear. The home team came out on their heels, while the Ducks threw an aggressive attack at them.
Still, a stalwart penalty-kill and remarkable goaltending put them in the position to win. Here’s our recap of the game.
An early look on the power-play for the Red Wings turned nothing — in fact, the team wouldn’t even register a shot. The Wings had a difficult time keeping up with Anaheim’s style of play. Simply put — Detroit cannot counter the way they cycle the puck. Jimmy Howard came up huge for the team in the first 10 minutes. Jakob Silfverberg had a wide-open net, and to Howard’s favor, he hit the post and the refs blew the whistle as soon as the puck went under his pads.
Despite such a dismal shot volume, Detroit came out with the first tally. Kevin Bieksa made a huge mistake in his own zone trying to make a “D-to-D” pass. Larkin’s tenacity on the forecheck put him right in the passing lane, and on course to score point-blank.
The Red Wings, despite being outshot 15-5, escaped the first period without a goal against. The penalty-kill played a big role in shutting down two chances for the Ducks.
I’m starting to write about the second period about seven minutes in, and that’s because I have nothing to write about. The team has yet to register a shot, they’re playing extremely soft.
Detroit’s first shot of the period came at 7:50 - a weak shot from Nick Jensen.
At this point in the game, the line blender is in full effect. Athanasiou seeing time on the fourth line if I do recall correctly. Moving along, not much changed for the Red Wings, but somehow, someway, they scored again. The Wings got lucky on a line change, which sprung a chance in deep. Anthony Mantha went right to the puck and fed a no-look pass to Frans Nielsen to make it 2-0. This would be the first shot by a Red Wings forward since Dylan Larkin’s goal in the first period.
40 minutes of play, and the scoring is all Red Wings. Here’s a fun visual to show you how this game has gone...
The good news is that the second goal seemed to give Detroit a little kick in the rear-end in the closing minute. Still, shots leaning heavily towards Anaheim, 21-11. More good news: the Wings have a two-goal lead going into the third period. (lol)
Phaneuf and Thompson for Gaborik and Shore. Sens retain 25% of Phaneuf salary.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 14, 2018
Anyhow, the Red Wings played with a bit more spark in the third period, but there were some costly penalties that accounted for loss of momentum. The shining-light about 50 minutes through the game had to be the penalty kill, including goaltending. Detroit did a very good job at keeping the Ducks guessing on the perimeter. Jimmy Howard did an even better job slamming the door shut.
On their 32nd shot the Ducks scored an inevitable goal. It was at that point, that many Red Wings fans probably bantered to themselves “here we go, we’re doing this again.”
By the graces of a Kevin Bieksa penalty drawn by Darren Helm, the Red Wings were able to shut it down in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the game. Your final score; 2-1, Red Wings win.
This win leans on one player, and one player only. Jimmy Howard put his thing down for a game where his team was highly outplayed.
Make it five of six points in the last three games for Detroit... Perhaps not in the way you’d want it to be, but an interesting development nonetheless. As a whole, I have to lean a lot of it on Dylan Larkin. He’s at a turning point, from young gun, to bonafide leader-by-example. His play has been magnificent. He’s making everyone around him better. The team isn’t exactly at a high-point, but Larkin is showing that he’ll be towing the line for foreseeable promising future.
We saw the first significant trade in the NHL tonight. Detroit is still poised to sell off Mike Green. The point is that the ball is rolling. Trade season is officially open.
Detroit is back in action Thursday night against one of the NHL’s best in the Tampa Bay Lightning. We’ll be keeping an eye on all the trade rumors here until then, so check back in between now and then.