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Athanasiou Leads Red Wings to 3-2 Shootout Win Over Rangers

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Red Wings and the Rangers went to extra time in this game.

NHL: New York Rangers at Detroit Red Wings Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

#RIP7

First Period:

It’s a Red Wings-Rangers game with Jimmy Howard and Henrik Lundqvist in net? Mark this one down for a 2-1 OT final. Winning team and scorers TBD.

The first opportunity for Detroit came off a Niklas Kronwall shot that was deflected right on Lundqvist by Tyler Bertuzzi. It was a culmination of good early pressure by the Wings that is unusual enough for me to comment on. Progress!

There was a lovely tribute to Ted Lindsay at the first TV timeout. I thought it was great that they had input from so many former teammates (including Gordie Howe!!) just showing what an incredible man he was.

Lundqvist nearly gifted the Wings a goal as he came out behind his own net and reversed the puck to none other than Anthony Mantha, who threw the puck back out to the slot to... nobody. It actually went all the way down to Howard at the other end, which is kind of the epitome of how bad the Wings are at jumping on things like rebound opportunities in front.

Brendan Lemieux (ugh) took Thomas Vanek to the boards and got the puck away (seriously, dude), where Pavel Buchnevich picked it up for a shot on Howard. Jimmy made the original stop, but the second hit Brett Howden and bounced right back to Buchnevich, who fired the puck past Howard to kick off the scoring.

Christoffer Ehn, who was called up on an emergency basis, tossed the puck to Jacob De La Rose from behind the net for an attempt at a tying goal, but like the State Farm fisherman, you gotta be quicker than that to beat Lundqvist. Then Filip Zadina was looking to pick the corner over Lundqvist’s left shoulder for his second NHL goal. He juuust missed, so unfortunately Zadina Time had to be delayed just a little bit longer.

I also want to highlight a very slick play by Bertuzzi, who took a hit along the boards but managed to maintain control of the puck. With a second opponent converging, he kicked the puck to Mantha, whose shot ricocheted off another Ranger in front right into Lundqvist. It’s great to see the kind of creativity these young players are coming up with.

Shots: 14-12 Red Wings
Score: 1-0 New York

Second Period:

Darren Helm, known for his smooth hands, nearly beat Lundqvist off a faceoff win but rang it off the post. I’m sure he’ll get another opportunity to showcase his dangling abilities later.

The Rangers definitely had more pressure early in the second period, including a Brendan Smith shot that was deflected by Chris Kreider. Fortunately our Jimmy Howard tonight is more the Jimmy Howard of All-Star status than the one that got pulled in consecutive starts.

Speaking of deflections, Bertuzzi had a perfect one of his own on a Madison Bowey shot from the blueline. Bert hit it so that it angled right through Lundqvist’s five-hole as he was flying across the crease, tying the game and giving Bowey his first point as a Red Wing.

Lemieux took a pass from Howden and his deke and shot drew Howard waaay out of his net, but his teammates were able to control the crease with him out.

The first penalty of the game was finally called at almost the halfway point of the second, a hold by Libor Hajek on Michael Rasmussen. Bertuzzi was immediately a factor once again, deflecting a Vanek shot up and over Lundqvist just to have it ricochet off the crossbar.

Rasmussen wanted to get in on the fun and took a holding penalty of his own, giving our dear former Smithicles a really nice hug from behind, which while thoughtful isn’t allowed. The Red Wings were the only ones to generate a shot on their own penalty kill.

Back to the power play again as Brady Skjei dared to get in front of a speeding Andreas Athanasiou and tripped him up before he could get to the puck. I can’t say I’d be brave enough to do the same. The Rangers decided to return the favor and generated some shots of their own on their penalty kill, so thumbs up, guys.

After a couple good keep-ins by his teammates, Ehn got a shot on Lundqvist that dropped down in between his skates. Ehn went in for the second attempt, which led to a scramble around the Rangers net before Lundqvist gloved a Bowey shot to end the madness.

Shots: 27-22 Red Wings
Score: 1-1 tie

Third Period:

We nearly had a Filip connection once again as Hronek sent a puck Zadina’s way that the latter deflected into Lundqvist, who of course made the save.

Four-on-four play as Bowey and Ryan Strome took coinciding penalties for holding the stick and hooking, respectively. Sure sounds like a pair of infractions that can’t happen at the same time, but I’m not an NHL referee, so I guess what do I know.

Not even thirty seconds into the penalties, Buchnevich and Howden got a two-on-one with Danny DeKeyser back. Howden took the pass for the one-timer on Howard, and Anthony DeAngelo came in for the rebound, which DeKeyser went into goalie-mode to block. Athanasiou took the puck and streaked away into a two-on-one with Frans Nielsen, took the shot, and put the Wings on top with a blistering wrister over Lundqvist’s catching glove.

After he scored, Athanasiou gave a tap to the #7 patch on his jersey and then a nod and a gesture up to the Ted Lindsay banner above, so don’t mind me crying over here. The waves Mr. Lindsay made outside this organization were well-known and long-lasting, but his importance to the Red Wings of today was clearly very deep as well.

Athanasiou got another breakaway where he dropped the puck back for a trailing Mantha and Bertuzzi. Mantha picked up the puck for a last-second pass to Bertuzzi, whose shot was somehow stopped by Lundqvist. Seriously, it was about as perfectly executed as it could get, but they don’t call him the King for nothing.

The Wings did get a power play out of it as Skjei took out Athanasiou after his drop pass. Unfortunately the Wings didn’t capitalize on the opportunity to extend their lead. Minutes later, Buchnevich scored his second of the night to tie the game back up. He was able to take a long pass just ahead of Kronwall and backhand it into the top corner of the net. It actually caught on Howard’s jersey on its way in, so if this was 1996 it would have been swallowed up by three inches of extra fabric and the goal wouldn’t have happened. Bring back the circus tent jerseys! (Don’t actually do this.)

Athanasiou once again had a speeding chance and this time took the shot with his stick between his legs. Mickey Redmond made more roadrunner beep-beep-neeerrr noises which I think needs to happen every game. Better than more Light the Lamp segments.

Okay so I was only slightly off on my score prediction that I made at the beginning of this recap, but it was still a goaltending battle with minimal scoring that went to extra time. These two teams are almost obnoxiously predictable at this point.

Shots: 42-31 Red Wings
Score: 2-2 tie

Overtime:

Athanasiou, Nielsen and DeKeyser to start? Sure.

Mantha and Hronek joined Athanasiou just a little while later, so sometimes there’s good things happening.

Buchnevich zipped around Mantha for an attempt at his third of the night, but Howard stood tall.

Zadina just barely missed high.

Bertuzzi tried to recover a missed pass, which was taken away and then overskated by Vladislav Namestnikov. Yiiikes.

Howard got knocked down and then Athanasiou took off with the puck, but Lundqvist saved it. Mantha tried to pass across to Nielsen and Frans completely fanned on it.

Zadina, Hronek, and Helm all got their chances on an extended shift in the Rangers’ zone, but Lundqvist still wouldn’t give.

Skjei went feet-first into the boards hard with a dozen seconds left. He’s okay, but now it’s time for the the shootout and my prediction looks even worse now.

Shootout:

Nielsen first. He tried a deke to his forehand that Lundqvist stopped with his right pad.

Zibanejad pulled the puck to his backhand and tries to go five-hole, but Howard shut it down.

Athanasiou went five-hole too and finally beat Lundqvist! Wings lead in the skills competition!

DeAngelo tried to confuse Howard with a lot of stick touches, but you can’t fool a man with crazy eyes. Also DeAngelo just plain missed.

Bertuzzi is third and couldn’t quite lift it high enough to get over Lundqvist’s pad.

Last up is Buchnevich, the Rangers’ only goal scorer, who sent it skyward off the post.

Red Wings win!

Final Shots: 45-34 Red Wings
Final Score: 3-2 Detroit

Final Thoughts:

  • The Wings had a decent start and were without Mike Green and Dylan Larkin for the night? Obviously it was those two scrubs holding the team back.
  • Brendan Lemieux, yes the Son of the Turtle himself, is leading all rookies in the league in penalty minutes. It is as the ancient ones predicted.
  • Brendan Smith is still a feisty but derpy puppy dog. I assume Luke Glendening said something college-smart when Smithicles was all up in his face because Smith was all >:( and abusing some poor water bottle on the bench afterwards.
  • How about Athanasiou and Bertuzzi, guys? Holy smokes. AA took Larkin’s nightly role of hauling the team onto his back in stride tonight. And then turned it into a breakaway.
  • The Red Wings got a win for #7 Ted Lindsay on the 7th. Crying again, it’s fine. I’m fine.

#RIP7 and Let’s Go Red Wings