It’s an 8pm start tonight, and we’re playing Winnipeg, so it means a late night and a decent chance of me regretting signing up for this.
I’m really hoping that my fears are unfounded, although the properties of time mean that it will be a late night.
Some lineup changes, with Green coming back into the lineup and Ericsson out due to illness. On the forward side, Booth is out and Witkowski is in. Last time I did a recap featuring Witkowski, he scored his first NHL goal. Here’s hoping for another one.
Winnipeg has been referred to as one of the most underrated teams in the NHL so often lately that I think they are now accurately rated. They have a very scary forward lineup and have been getting strong goaltending.
The only thing scarier than Winnipeg’s forward group is Patrick Laine’s beard. It looks like a prop from a straight to cable movie starring David Spade, in which he falls asleep for six months, then has to solve the mystery of who stole his favorite sweater while he was sleeping. I may have put too much thought into this.
Your goaltender matchup is Jimmy Howard vs. Connor Hellebuyck.
Detroit’s first chance of the game came 2:30 into the game as Ouellet got the puck to Helm with space. He dropped it for Green, but his show was blocked by a defenseman before it could get to the net.
4 minutes in, the shots are 2 to 2. No real good chances either way, but that’s to the Red Wings advantage. As much as it is boring for people watching the game, keeping the action to a minimum helps Detroit given Winnipeg’s offensive firepower.
Abelkader played NHL game 600 the other day, which I think is also the number of games he has left on his contract.
Mike Green made a great read in the neutral zone and picked off a Winnipeg pass. It led to a one-on-one the other way and his slapper looked dangerous, but Hellebuyck made the save.
The line of Larkin-Athanasiou-Bertuzzi had a nice shift about 8 minutes in, keeping the puck in the zone and getting several good chances.
We go to our first power play as Matt Hendricks goes off for 2 minutes for slashing Ouellet.
Not just a goal, but a power play goal. On the initial play, Abdelkader ended up in the crease, but he was able to get out in time for Kronwall to blast a point shot in the top corner past Hellebuyck. Zetterberg and Nyquist pick up the assists. 1-0 Detroit.
And almost immediately, Patrick Laine ties it at 1. He gets the puck off the boards, dances by Larkin and rips one past Howard.
26 seconds later, Ben Chiarot makes it 2-1, cranking a point shot off the pipe and in.
Detroit takes a slashing penalty. Martin Frk goes to the box, and the wheels are in danger of falling off. Detroit really needs to kill this penalty to regain some momentum.
Howard made a fantastic save on a bang-bang play in front to help kill the penalty.
Bertuzzi had a nice shot and the rebound ricocheted to Athanasiou, but his shot was blocked. If that had got through it would have been dangerous, since Hellebuyck didn’t seem to react well to the first one.
The period ends 2-1 Winnipeg, and Detroit played ok for most of the period, but two breakdowns leads to a one goal deficit at the end of the first.
Not much either way until Kronwall takes a high-sticking penalty with 16:46 left in the period.
Laine nearly scored his second of the net, but he just barely missed the corner. Detroit then had several odd man rushes in a row. Helm tried to get the puck back to Nielsen on a 2 on 1, but that didn’t get through the backcheck of Myers.
Jesus. Byfuglien snuck in backdoor and scored off a pass from the point that went by three Red Wings. 3-1 Jets.
GOAL! Mantha makes a no look pass that doesn’t work, but he went to the net, and Nyquist found him in front. Mantha’s 21st makes the score 3-2.
Man, Patrick “Goat Boy” Laine scores again, and it’s another ridiculous shot. Cutting in front the right side, he beat Howard top corner on the far side. 4-2
Mike Green plays the puck over the glass from the defensive zone and heads to the box.
Detroit kills the penalty, and Winnipeg only had one dangerous chance, so that’s a successful two minutes. The Jets nearly scored just after the penalty expired.
Howard makes another great save to keep the puck out off an in close shot from Joel Armia.
The period ends with Winnipeg winning 4-2. The first period was much closer. Winnipeg was clearly the better team in the second period, and Detroit is lucky to not be down by more.
Nyquist gets wide open in front of Hellebuyck, but he can’t put the pass from Daley by the Winnipeg goalie.
Athanasiou, likely rested from not playing very much in the first two periods, breaks around the defenseman, and it looks like he would beat Hellebuyck, but the goalie stays with the move.
Shortly after, Kronwall makes a really nice move at the blue line to get the puck to Trevor Daley. He turns into the zone, and it looks like he’s going to shoot, but he fakes, moves around the defender, and cuts in front of the net. He shoots through a sea of traffic in front of the net, and the puck finds its way through.
After 48 minutes, the game has gotten more physical. Abdelkader and Zetterberg (!) threw big hits in consecutive shifts. Winnipeg is crashing the net more than before.
Larkin is hurt, and I didn’t see what happened. There was a collision in the corner, but I didn’t get a clear look when it happened. OK, on the replay it looked like it could have easily been a penalty. Larkin didn’t have control of the puck going into the corner and Byfuglien rode him and pushed him into the air towards the boards.
Larkin holds his face, and hopefully it’s not as bad as it could have been.
Blashill has basically played three lines tonight for most of the game. Witkowski-Frk-Glendening have barely played at 5v5.
Larkin is ok, because he’s back on the ice. He steals the puck and starts a play that nearly leads to Mantha tying it up.
Howard heads to the bench, but Detroit can’t maintain possession after entering the zone, and Winnipeg nearly ices the game, but they end up icing the puck. Blashill calls timeout.
He replaces Mantha on the Nyquist line with Abdelkader for reasons passing understanding.
Detroit can’t tie it up, and they lose to Winnipeg 4-3. The third period was much better for Detroit than the second, but ultimately they dug themselves too much of a hole to get out of against a good team.