We’re on the precipice of a well-earned reprieve from Red Wings hockey (during one of the most boring sports weeks of the year though) as Detroit is in Minnesota to take on the ghost of what could have been just before the All-Star break.
Dennis Cholowski is back and the kids are still fun. Let’s do this!
... on the national broadcast? Well shit.
The puck is dropped after the requisite Staaling and both clubs come out of the gate hard. The Wild get three chances on net in the first minute. Howard barely gets his leg out on a Zach Parise backdoor rebound scoring chance to keep it scoreless. Staying consistent, the Wild put three equally-good chances on net in the second minute of the game.
The third minute goes better, but the Wings don’t get a shot on net until 3:08 - in true stupid fashion it’s a goal! Filip Zadina is trying to feed Tyler Bertuzzi with a cross-ice feed and it deflects off the stick of Joel Eriksson-Ek and into the top corner to make it 1-0 Wings.
Honestly this shouldn’t count as a shot on goal, but since it goes in they kind of have to count it.
The lead lasts at least one shift but not much beyond that. 4:28 into the game the Wild tie it 1-1. Matt Dumba takes a puck at the point and floats a shot at the net-front where Jordan Greenway knocks it down and backhands it in.
Jordan Greenway 1-1 pic.twitter.com/1NjtRMrSv3— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) January 23, 2020
The two teams answer by playing a while without a stoppage, thankfully burning time off the clock in this one as efficiently as possible. Minnesota continues to carry the play but I positively notice Dennis Cholowski so it’s a win for me.
Between the first and second commercial breaks we see scoring chances by the usual combos that create those kinds of things: Larkin from Bertuzzi, Daley from Ehn. You know, regular shit.
Ryan Hartman takes the game’s first penalty as he trips up Patrik Nemeth by the Wings’ net during a forecheck. The Wings’ power play sets up well but doesn’t get a lot of chances from the first unit. The second group comes out and scores though! Filppula gains the zone and some nice passing sets up Zadina for a blast from his office that goes through Givani Smith’s scree, hits Dubnyk, and then bounces in off Ryan Suter. 2-1 Wings.
This time Detroit doesn’t immediately give the lead back either!
The Score: 2-1 Wings
The Shots: 12-11 Minnesota
Standout Players: Filip
The Period All Summed Up: The Wild make good backboards I guess.
You’re never going to believe this, but the Wings can’t hold a lead. Mats Zuccarello makes it 2-2 just over a minute in with a short-side shot that Howard blocks. Zuccarello jams in the rebound before the puck even touches the ice.
GOAL. Mats Zuccarello displays some excellent hand-eye on the game-tying score.— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 23, 2020
The the next shift, Jason Zucker breaks in off a Robby Fabbri turnover with a 2-on-1 and snaps it top corner over Howard’s glove to make it 3-2 Wild.
Fortunately the next 1:07 goes better, as Detroit merely gives up scoring chances but not goals.
The Red Wings don’t get their first shot on goal until nearly eight minutes have elapsed. They get at least one more before Minnesota gets their next scoring chance. Eric Staal takes a cross-ice feed that Howard has to really stretch to stop.
The Wings ice the puck three times and generally suck at hockey until it’s time to post another gif of a goal against. This time it’s Eric Staal picking up a loose puck from a Zach Parise drive to the crease at 11:39. 4-2 Wild.
GOAL. Eric Staal doubles the Minnesota lead. Detroit is so bad, lol.— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 23, 2020
The rest of the period is pretty much the Wild blanketing the Red Wings while taking shots from the point on Howard and trying to get to rebounds.
The Score: 4-2 Wild
The Shots: 27-16 Wild (15-5)
Standout Players: Nah
The Period All Summed Up: The Red Wings do a good job of showing the casual watcher just how hard hockey can be.
The Wings manage to come out without looking like they spent this intermission playing Twister and googling things to do in St. Paul after 10pm. They don’t look dangerous or anything, but at least it’s not grabass hockey.
The Wings control the first six minutes. The Wild’s first chance comes on a three-man rush that probably could have been a goal if Parise and Staal weren’t working collectively to ensure maximum fanciness in goal-scoring.
Next we see a nice offensive rush from Cholowski and a nice defensive play by Perlini, as well as some additional minutes thankfully ticking off the clock. The only real scoring chances in the first half of this period both belong to Filip Zadina looking for the hat trick.
Minny just misses making it 5-2 a couple times after the 12-minute mark as a breakaway pass leads to a shot that misses the corner and then a rebound chance for Foligno at the back door can’t be tucked in before Biega comes in to clear the crease.
Blashill pulls Howard with 4:15 remaining (and just as the Wings lose control in the Minnesota zone). Detroit gets set up and even gets a number of decent looks. The Wild ice the puck and Detroit puts a 2nd six-man unit out there which also can’t crack the defensive shell. Hartman misses an empty net with the big guns back out and Koivu takes a high-sticking penalty with 73 seconds to go (he clipped Zadina).
Blashill takes his timeout here, giving the ice crew a little extra time to clean up the two octopuses that somebody had been keystering this whole time.
Zadina gets a shot at the hat trick, but again, the Wings can’t find the net.
Final Score: 4-2 Minnesota
The Shots: 33-27 Minnesota (11-6 Wings)
Standout Players: Zadina, Filppula
The Period All Summed Up: I liked the way they competed in this period.
Next up: Tyler Bertuzzi at the All-Star game.