Alright, let’s get this over with, because losing to Chicago always sucks. You always hope that a matinée match up will make the middle of your day on a Sunday before you’ve gotta settle in for the work week, but that was not the case with this one.
Nothing too thrilling happened in the opener of this one until Gus played the puck while the entire Wings’ bench, plus Howard and Blashill were standing on the ice. The Hawks didn’t manage to score, even with their lights-out man-advantage of late.
I had some technical difficulties with nhl.tv that apparently only seemed to clean up once Chicago finally scored a goal, which is bogus, but also, go figure. 1-0 Hawks. Boo.
Once the picture finally cleared up entirely I got to see a lot of bad, as the Hawks just dominated the Wings for long stretches. It brought up a lot of mixed feelings, like I so often experience this season, because I want the Wings to win the draft lottery, and they give themselves the best odds by losing, but on the other hand I feel like “OF COURSE Chicago has heated up in time to play Detroit.” But I guess that’s one of the things that you don’t complain about when your team is actually good, so I should just shut my pie hole.
Then Brandon Saad reminded us that Cholowski still has a lot to learn in the NHL by picking his pocket and getting a great opportunity against Bernier. Then there were some other great opportunities against Bernier and the Red Wings’ netminder was really earning his paycheck and keeping the kids in the game.
Just generally watching the Hawks play with their puck possession style really opened my eyes to how much the Wings have changed in the past five years. The Wings are so run-and-gun now compared to the way they used to be in the heady days of Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Lidstrom. It’s just like, HEY GUYS, DID YOU KNOW TIME IS A THING? That’s what I’m feeling right now.
And as I was awash in all that emotional vomit, the Hawks scored a goal exactly the way I expected the Wings to do so: on a fast break, 2-on-1, Dominik Kahun to Dylan Strome. The puck went in off Strome’s skate, but there was no kicking motion, so it was a good goal to make it 2-0 Hawks.
After that I basically just worried about how I’m going to die someday and life is meaningless until the period came to an uneventful end. Except the period wasn’t so uneventful. Look at the shots!
Score: 2-0 Hawks
Shots: 18-16 Hawks
Stand Ups: Jonathan Bernier
Not much excitement (for real) to start this period, but eventually a Brenden Perlini hooking call spiced things up. No goal, but it was a real good power play, with the Wings taking hold of the shot lead. Good things happen when you get pucks on net, so it was a good sign, at least.
The game devolved into the boring sort of neutral zone disruption game that feels more common these days, punctuated by occasional breakaway wrap-around attempts. The majority of the period soldiered on this way, which was kind of a bummer, even though Athanasiou rung one off the cross bar. When this happens it means there aren’t exciting highlights to write about, and so, inevitably, like my long fight against hair loss, my mind wanders back toward the existential crisis. Even a Larkin penalty for tripping resulted in a mostly-tame penalty kill that couldn’t shake me from the all-consuming stupor of wondering just how. damn. long. this bleak, grey winter would soldier on, like a heavy blanket over the world.
AND THEN CHRISTOFFER EHN WITH THE GOAL FROM DANNY DEKEYSER! DeKeyser hounded Patrick Kane back from the neutral zone into his own end, forced Kane off the puck, and left the puck for a streaking Ehn on the left side, who went top right with his shot to get some energy in the game! 2-1, only one goal down and something to get excited about!!
Ok Ehnner. #LGRW @DTE_Energy | #DETvsCHI pic.twitter.com/FDvqTFXMZb— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 10, 2019
Phew, I feel a lot better now. Maybe it was just the pancakes I had for brunch that were making me feel sleepy. But afterwards the period definitely had more pep as it wound down.
Score: 2-1 Hawks
Shots: 31-29 Wings
Stand Ups: Jonathan Bernier, Danny DeKeyser, Christoffer Ehn
You’d think the period would be a furious one out of the gate, but the Hawks seemed more interested in preserving their lead than sealing the deal. Things definitely started to heat up a third of the way through the period, though. as both teams got some great opportunities, with De La Rose poke checking a great opportunity away in front of Bernier and the Wings wiffling the puck on net several times.
Then Chicago actually did score an insurance goal off another odd-man rush and broken coverage. 3-1 Hawks, goal from Kahun, meaning all three Blackhawk goals thus far were scored by the second line in Chicago.
The Hawks continued to give up shots to the Wings at a steady place, but few of them were high quality shots. Kind of reminds me of how the Wings would play in the final Babcock and early Blashill years, when they were on the downward slope of things. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED, CHICAGO (as if they need any reminding that their team can decay into mediocrity, or worse.)
With just under 8 minutes left Toews hooked DeKeyser, which lead to a dispassionate power play from Detroit and some strong penalty killing from Chicago. Nothing came of it, which was more than a little irksome with less than 10 minutes left in the game.
They must’ve heard my complaining, though, because Detroit got the puck down low thanks to Nick Jensen, who wheeled the puck back around in front of Cam Ward, and a did a little dish-and-go to Gustav Nyquist, who fired it home to make it 3-2.
Of course, Patrick Kane went cherry-picking behind Danny DeKeyser and got a break-away against Bernier and made no mistake, making it 4-2 less than a minute later.
Detroit pulled Bernier immediately after, with over 3 minutes left. Detroit put up good pressure, but Toews salted the whole ordeal away with an empty netter, 5-2.
Time to go back to examining my life in the shadow of the Sunday scaries. We’ll see everybody Tuesday when Detroit heads to Nashville!
Score: 5-2 Hawks
Shots: 45-36 Wings
Stand Ups: Nick Jensen, Gustav Nyquist