The Red Wings came into Minnesota not feeling so hot Sunday night.
They left feeling less hot, with a hot start, but a pathetic performance after that. Here’s the recap.
The game opened with a stalemate of a first shift until the Wild iced the puck about 45 seconds in. Zetterberg’s line then took over things for Larkin’s group and they (along with DK and Jensen) dominated the Wild, setting the tone for the early going in the period.
What were we talking about earlier today? Something about Larkin getting roughed up more and more as he gets better? He took a Nate Prosser fist to the face less than four minutes in. Larkin’s head was low, but Prosser gave Larkin a good shove to make sure Larkin was grounded via his face.
Shortly after, the Wings entered the Wild zone but coughed up the puck. However, Mantha picked Parise’s pocket and dished the puck back down low for Larkin. larkin connected on a pass back up high to Ericsson, who fired a shot on net. Dubnyk made the save, but he gave up a juicy rebound that rolled right out to an unguarded Abdelkader in the slot. Abdelkader released a heck of a shot of his stick and Dubnyk had no chance. 1-0 Red Wings!
The Wild weren’t going to let the Wings keep up their pressure, though. The Wild grabbed control of play for several shifts in a row, but Howard made several stops to hold the advantage, in particular a great chance all alone against Eric Staal after Granlund slipped a past beyond the Wings’ defenders just as he crossed the blue line.
Dumba made a mistake by cross-checking Bertuzzi to the ice in front of Dubnyk, which is one of those mistakes that sends a player to the penalty box, so with under 9 minutes remaining in the period the Wings went to the power play. The second unit started things off in just an ugly, ugly way. A power play so ugly not even a mother could love it. But then the first unit came in and brought order to town. Kronwall had a solid chance with a second remaining, but otherwise it was nothing to write home about.
Following the power play, Zucker found some space and broke away from the Wings’ skaters, save Helm, and it was an awesome display of speed as Helm covered Zucker all the way into the corner, taking away the shot Zucker wanted. Then the two got into a kerfuffle at the other end of the ice, sending Helm and Zucker both to the box to give the fans some 4-on-4 hockey.
Larkin send one off the crossbar to nearly make it 2-0, and Jensen had a real nice opportunity as well, but Minnesota didn’t generate much offense of their own. I think the Wild were trying to get too cute with the puck at times, nullifying some of their best opportunities against Howard.
The Wild went to their own power play after Mantha gave Prosser’s head a whack with his elbow while Prosser had Mantha pinned against the boards. It was an undisciplined penalty that probably nearly got him benched for the next 10 seasons. (I kid, but it was a stupid penalty to take.
The Wings’ penalty kill mostly did good work, and Glendening even missed the Wild net off, you guessed it , the back hand. It was kind of exciting, and that’s what we want, right? An exciting penalty kill. The penalty kill basically ended the period, and overall the Wings had a pretty strong period.
Score: 1-0, Red Wings
Shots: 11-5 Red Wings
It only took about seven minutes into the 2nd period for the Wild to cut the lead in half. Eric Staal picked up his 34th goal of the season to pull the score to one. Yes, I know, I was also surprised to discover that Staal has scored that many goals.
Zach Parise sunk the dagger, making it a 2-1 game shortly after.
The Wild continued to put pressure on the Red Wings’ collapsing defense after the go-ahead goal.
The Red Wings weren’t able to tie the game, but at least they tried hard.
Score: 2-1, Wild
Shots: 20-19, Red Wings
The Wings found themselves up a man just a few minutes in, and they found themselves down a goal a couple of minutes after.
The only redeemable part of the final 20 minutes was when the Red Wings killed the WIld’s power-play early on. That’s it. Shortly after, Mikael Granlund put the dagger into the chances of a comeback, and even shorter after that, Jason Zucker plunged the dagger deeper into an empty net.
Score: 4-1, Wild
Shots: 29-26, Red Wings
The Red Wings are now 26-29-10. I’m going to close this recap quicker than NBC Sports did; A pathetic performance from the Red Wings. At least Tomas Tatar scored a goal for his new team tonight.
Here is our highlight of the game: