Tonight the Wings welcomed the Wild to Detroit. I heard all the Wild players brought complimentary hot dish and insisted their flight to Detroit was “not too bad.” I was positively “blessed” to have the Minnesota feed as my only option for this one, so it was interesting to hear another take on the Wings that isn’t “holy jumpin’!” (I am being slightly sarcastic. Minnesota’s Fox Sports North has a good broadcast crew, albeit with less personality than the Detroit crew.) But holy jumpin’ this one was a blood bath.
“This is the worst team in the NHL by a wide margin” was repeated on the Minnesota broadcast in about 15 different ways, so uhh, secret’s out, guys. On the bright said, they did mention the dirtiness of the Hughes hit on Fabbri.
Koivu got called for hooking just over three minutes in, drawn by none other than… Erne? Okay. Koivu has a bit of a history taking weird hooking penalties, though, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Detroit got a shot off, Perlini I think, to mark their first of the period, but Koivu got a rush coming out of the box and deked Cholowski. Perlini had to harass from behind to take away the scoring chance, but Perlini then headed to the box.
The Wings killed off the penalty, but Minnesota got a 3-on-3 rush. Koivu undressed Cholowski with a pass to Hartman, who tacked it past Howard to make it 1-0 Wild. Not a good first 10 minutes for Cholowski.
Less than a minute later Brodin fired a shot from the blue line, Howard gave up a juicy rebound, and Donato crashed the slot to scoop up the rebound and fire it past Howard, 2-0 Wild.
Then hey, another minute later Dumba took a fire from the blue line again. 3-0 Wild. Shortly after, Jeff Blashill’s head was replaced with a screaming tomato while addressing the Wings’ bench.
The Wings were pretty pissed after that and put on great pressure in the Minnesota zone, until Staal got a breakaway. His backhander went high and wide, but on the replay you could see very clearly that Howard isn’t playing very high in the crease. Now, I don’t know a lot about goaltending, but the farther out you are the bigger you are relative to the goal the better it is.
The Wings kept pressing, which gave them the majority of possession in the second half. This pressure caused Minnesota to get a few fast break opportunities, but Howard stood tall for the remainder of the period.
Score: 3-0 Minnesota
Shots: 10-9 Minnesota
Standouts: Andreas Athanasiou because he’s literally standing outside of this tire fire and laughing in relief.
I was just thinking about how Cholowski was looking better since half way through the worst. Shouldn’t have thought that. He took a slashing penalty thirty seconds later. The Wings only need to hold of the Minnesota power play for 1:43 before Fiala decided to plow through Filppula and earn himself a tripping minor. However, they couldn’t do any damage either.
Mantha finally got the Wings on the board, though, by taking advantage of some miscommunication from the Wild D on a faceoff in the Wings’ zone and going in all alone on Stalock and getting a snap shot past him to cut the lead to 2.
Of course, the Wings then zapped their momentum by giving up another power play opportunity. It took 90 seconds, but the Wild finally cycled the puck and allowed Dumba to find a quiet area of the ice so he could roof it past Howard on the one-timer. 4-1 Wild.
Next shift, Jordan Greenway hammered Nielsen’s line along the boards and is eventually rewarded with a goal. 5-1 Wild. Jimmy Howard gets yanked after that one, and it’s 20 games in a row without a win for Jimmy.
At least the LCA started playing “Since You Been Gone” by Rainbow. That’s something.
Mantha did fire another good shot against Stalock and Bertuzzi nearly tapped the rebound into the open net, but the puck bounced out at an awkward angle behind him.
The Wings would get yet another chance on the power play thanks to Mikko Koivu yet again, this time for roughing. Some good chances, but no good and Kevin Fiala gets a pass from Koivu fresh out of the box again and scores on Bernier 6-1 Wild.
The period comes to a close with the Wings looking at one of the biggest uphill battles they’ve had to face all year.
Score: 6-1 Minnesota
Shots: 20-19 Minnesota
Standouts: My cat, Rudy, who came to console me after the fifth goal (he just wants food.)
Let’s be honest, most of the first half of this period can be summarized the same as most periods: “Wings’ top line and defensive pair play hard, carry play. Anything else makes your eyes burn when you watch.” The second and third lines just got chewed up alive most shifts and the fourth line usually just dumped the puck around.
Oh, and then Minnesota scored again. 7-1 Wild.
Meanwhile, on the Detroit broadcast…
We're at the point of the season where Ken Daniels is wondering why they use the phrase "had his pocket picked" in a hockey game because hockey pants don't have pockets.— Winging It In Motown (@wingingitmotown) February 28, 2020
And look at those stands. Those are empty. Yup. Four minutes left in this one.
The Red Wings would finish this one under caution as Jordan Greenway high sticked himself with Luke Glendening’s stick at 2:47 remaining.
Game closes out with the Wild nearly scoring again. The Wild hug, the Wings probably go break whatever few things haven’t been broken in their locker room this season, and we move on with our lives. Tough loss, this one. The Wings visit Ottawa on Sunday, a team that have at least a reasonable chance to hang with, so be sure to tune in!
Oh, and if you’re wondering about those seven goals scored by the Wild, you can head over to NHL.com for the box score, you glutton for punishment. This one was just not too good, not too good at all.
Score: 7-1 Minnesota
Shots: 26-26 Tie
Standouts: Hey, remember when they played “Since You Been Gone” in the second period?