A lineup built to just get to the end of the season on bloody nubs Thursday night. All the younger players have been previously sent back to Grand Rapids to chase another Calder Cup. Tyler Bertuzzi still skating in the lineup, hopefully logging some bigger minutes now that there has been some roster shuffling. His uncle was in attendance, presumably to see him play and to see some old friends.
Montreal picked up the first tally over six minutes in. Nicolas Deslauriers picked up a redirect from Noah Juulsen. Shortly after, Tyler Bertuzzi drew a penalty to put the Wings on the man advantage. They managed to put up no effort in the two minutes they were on the power-play.
The Wings had a handful of rope-a-dope moments in the second-half of the first period. Montreal picking up a couple of prime chances on a messy defense, and a goalie trying to keep track of the puck moving.
Unfortunately, the Wings weren’t able to connect as a team, so Dylan Larkin decided he was going to do it all himself.
That was the perfect way to close out the period. We end at one goal a piece after 20 minutes.
The Habs definitely came out skating downhill to start the middle period, but it didn’t take long for the Red Wings to turn a dump-in into a primetime scoring chance, thanks to Henrik Zetterberg’s precision passing.
Tyler Bertuzzi picks up his 7th goal of the season with this, and it probably won’t get much easier than that.
If hitting Noah Juulsen with a shot, Martin Frk would have easily picked up a hat-trick tonight. I swear, he hit him at least three or four times up to this point.
Brendan Gallagher knotted the game at two just over 11 minutes into the period. A defensive lapse, sprung the Habs on a two-on-none. Jonathan Ericsson pinched in, which left Anthony Mantha covering the point. Mantha attempted to get the puck in deep, and it took an unfortunate bounce in the Habs’ favor to lead the breakaway. Zero chance for Jared Coreau to stop.
Now, the third goal that Montreal scored not too long after, it was another odd-man rush - Frans Nielsen had an oopsy-daisy, but Nicolas Deslauriers sailed a pillow-soft shot through Coreau’s legs. Coreau needs to show that he can stop shots like that if he wants a future in the NHL.
After 40 minutes, it’s 3-2 in favor of Montreal. Turnovers burned the Red Wings bad in this period.
Well it only took a few minutes, but the Red Wings coughed up another ugly turnover. Niklas Kronwall lost the puck in his skates and that turned a three-on-one to make it 4-2 with ease. Less than a minute later, the Red Wings pulled back within one on a wrist-shot from Darren Helm off the bench, set up by Dylan Larkin and Luke Witkowski.. That would be Helm’s 13th goal of the season.
After a long stretch of boring play, the game picked up in the closing minutes as the Red Wings began to push a little more. They pulled Coreau, which set up the Wings to pin the Habs in pretty hard, fortunately for the Habs, they dodged a couple of bullets, and that would seal the win and season sweep for Montreal. Final score: 4-3
Not much else to say at this point of the season. We have one game left, and I think all we want to see is young players succeed. We saw great play from Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin tonight, so that leaves me satisfied. On the other hand, Henrik Zetterberg is staring down another brilliant 82-game season for a guy his age.
We’ll see you all on Saturday for the season closer. After that, all eyes are tied on the NHL Draft.