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Recap: Red and Blue makes Purple, Wings lose 5-4 in Columbus

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Wings avoid winning and worsening draft odds with inconsistent effort.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

The Jackets racked up 6 shots in under 4 minutes against Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings to open the game. For you math nerds, that’s like, a 90 shot pace or something. I don’t know. My English degree allows me to say really stupid things like “I don’t do math.” Anyway.

The Wings looked totally harmless , but then Zetterberg fired a sharp angle shot near the red line. The puck wobbled high and slipped past Bobrovsky to make the game 1-0 Red Wings! It was the type of goal we’ve seen Z score before, but it never gets old. Upon review, it was determined the puck went off Bertuzzi’s elbow, or glove, or something. The camera made it hard to tell. It was so weird I guess the refs decided to just amp up the weirdness.

The assist moves Zetterberg into sole possession of 5th place all-time ahead of Sergei Fedorov. Crazy, because we think of Fedorov racking up so many points back in his heyday.

Nick Jensen flipped a puck over the glass in Detroit’s end, sparking a delay of game penalty. Helm, Nielsen, and Ericsson made Columbus look absolutely silly by trapping the puck in the Jackets’ zone on their own powerplay, but Helm’s stick flailed and tripped up Boone Jenner (who has one of my top 10 favorite names in the league), putting the Red Wings down 5-on-3 for 18 seconds, or what was supposed to be 18 seconds. It only took 15 seconds for Werenski to make a deft pass from the blue line to the red line for Cam Atkinson, who snuck the puck behind Howard. 1-1 tie game.

The Wings killed off the Helm penalty to bring the teams to the midpoint of the period.

The Jackets rung a shot off the crossbar behind Jimmy, just to remind the Jackets fans that this game really could be 3-1 or 4-1 with just over 10 minutes in.

Instead, off a harmless faceoff, Mantha dished to Larkin, who took the puck on the break into the circle on Bobrovsky’s right and slid it into the slot for Helm. Helm got a janky shot on net, but a Jacket crashed into his own net like a bowling ball, pushing the puck past Bobrovsky to make it 2-1 Red Wings! Such strange, fluky goals, but the Red Wings will take the lead.

The period settled down a lot after the Helm goal. Alex Broadhurst got called for a high stick with three minutes remaining in the first. It was his first NHL penalty. Glad we could be there to welcome as you cross this threshold, Hursty. He’s probably called Hursty, yeah?

Defensive sloppiness continued to characterize the Blue Jackets on the Red Wings’ power play. Kronwall collected the puck in the neutral zone and passed to Zetterberg. Z lugged the puck down to the place where Bertuzzi scored a goal earlier in the period and this time intentionally passed the puck to Tyler “Junkyard Dog” Bertuzzi (Mickey’s nickname for him, not mine.) Bertuzzi made good on the pass to score his second of the night, 3-1 Wings! Really!

Score: 3-1 Red Wings
Shots: 10-9 Blue Jackets
TL;DR: The Jackets’ defense had the consistency of a runny sloppy joe, and the Wings capitalized, despite the Blue Jackets dominating early play in the period.

Second Period

The period opened with a holding penalty against Dubois, and 11 second into the Red Wings power play, Bertuzzi, Abdelkader, Zetterberg, and Nyquist played tic-tac-toe in the Jackets’ zone to score another power play goal, 4-1 Red Wings!

The period kind of drolled on from there, back to more boring hockey characteristic of the Red Wings of late. The most cringe-worthy moment came when Zach Weresnki lost an edge and took an Athanasiou shot to the back of the neck. Ugh, rough. Quietly, though the Jackets kept taking shots, grabbing a 2-to-1 shot lead half way through the period. Panarin and Dubois both had great chances. I thought the Panarin shot was a goal for sure, but the inside of the goal post redeemed Detroit.

Felt like only a matter of time with all the shots were getting off before they scored, and that they did, six seconds into a Larkin slashing penalty. Atkinson took a shot from the high circle, cutting the Wings lead, 4-2. Blashill challenged goalie interference on Wenn, who screened Howard just about perfectly, but the refs weren’t going to give the Wings the mulligan.

After the goal, Ken Daniels bemoaned hearing “For Those About to Rock” repeatedly. AC/DC’s Back in Black was one of the first albums I ever owner, a gift from my dad to make sure I didn’t get caught up in all that emo hoopla going on back then. Good times, listening to Hell’s Bells in my bedroom back then, but Ken Daniels is 100% right and that is my controversial opinion of the game.

Danny DeKeyser shortly thereafter got called for tripping to put Detroit a man down again. The Jackets’ powerplay hasn’t been good this season, but tonight it was working against the Red Wings’ PK, so yeah, they shouldn’t have taken a penalty. The PK in the first period that dominated the Jackets felt like a lifetime ago as Columbus got several good chances, including hitting another two posts (their third or fourth of the night.)

Howard took a shot to his exposed wrist at the end of the penalty, and it looked like McCollum might see some NHL action, but Howard wanted to tough it through.

The Jackets hit yet another post at the end of the period, like almost as many posts as the Wings had shots through two periods.

Score: 4-2 Wings
Shots: 31-12 Blue Jackets
TL;DR: The Wings scored a fourth goal and decided in memory of #4 Jakub Kindl to stop shooting.

Third Period

Luke Glendening left sometime in the second after taking only one shift, and Daniels informed the fans that he wasn’t coming back for the remainder of the game due to an upper body injury.

The period continued on without a whole lot of excitement. The Wings did get a moment of cycling in the Columbus zone that reminded me of the old days, maintained of course by the top line and pairing, because those units were dominant for the Wings tonight.

Despite the strong play of the top line, Howard had to make some strong saves when just about anyone else was out there. The Blue Jackets got more traffic in front of Howard, Werenski drove the net, and Sonny Milano cleaned up the rebound to score on Detroit and make it 4-3.

As the period wore on the third and fourth units (centered by Athanasiou) got their sea legs back. The forecheck got aggressive, which was a good call by Blashill; laying back in a loose 1-3-1 would have been the kiss of death with the way Detroit played on their heels throughout the second and stretches of the third. The moments when the Jackets did establish solid possession, the Wings played desperate, lining up to block shots and playing tight on their opponent. It was good to see, ignoring the that whole tank-for-Dahlin thing.

Howard even pitched in by totally lifting the net off its moorings, then selling his innocence like a ten-year-old with a shit-eating grin. DeKeyser got called on another weak penalty with 2:37 left, this time a hold. Blashill even made a diving hand motion to the ref. Side bar, his diving hand motion is not as smooth as Babcock’s.

Blashill did put Larkin out there to take the opening draw of the critical penalty kill, which was great to see. The bad thing, though, was that Columbus scored off a juicy rebound. Sucked. 4-4 tie.

That really pissed the Wings off. I think they got more shots off in the final 90 seconds than they did in 20 minutes of play in the second. No goal in the chaos, but Matt Calvert took a hooking penalty. No dice for teh Wings before the end of the period though, so the game became overtime-bound.

Score: 4-4 Tie
Shots: 39-24 Blue Jackets
TL;DR: The Wings got it in gear again, but only after Columbus tied the game. Then again, the Wings were lucky they weren’t already headed to the locker room with all the bad puck luck Columbus had earlier.

Overtime

Detroit started on the powerplay with Zetterberg, Frk, Bertuzzi, and Kronwall. Bertuzzi very nearly cleaned up a rebound off a Frk shot, but Bobrovsky made a great save to preserve the game. The powerplay expired, but the game returned to 4-on-4 because that is how the rules for penalties work in overtime.

The Jackets eventually got a good rush up the ice, went around the world in the Wings zone, and eventually found Dubois in a quiet area of the ice. 5-4 Blue Jackets.

Tough loss for the Wings. They had control after the first and let it slip out of their hands against a hot Columbus team. But, that inability to maintain a strangle hold on a game via game-changing players is what separates them from better teams. Larkin and Zetterberg can control a game. Howard can steal one here and there. Nyquist can take over shifts, and Daley can quietly shut down a line. But the lack of consistency, that’s what gets them. Ken Daniels could hardly express how little of a deal it was for the Wings to lose this one at the end, though, so even he is on board with team tank.

At least it was a fun game! Oh, and player of the game is the post behind Jimmy.

Score: 5-4 Blue Jackets
Shots: 41-27 Blue Jackets
TL;DR: Nobody is upset about this, let’s be honest.