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Red Wings Slip Away in Columbus, 5-3

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit came into Columbus hoping to get another winning streak going after a nice OT win against Montreal on Saturday. Instead they got a sloppy game that they could never quite wrangle, and it’s a little tough to pinpoint just exactly what was the issue. Greiss made a lot of stops, but also let in a few he’ll want back. The team played well in Columbus’s end, but couldn’t stay there long enough. They just couldn’t play tighter D than the Jackets. It was nothing major, but you can read below to see the numerous little errors that led to the loss.

First Period

Hey, remember when we fans would complain about the Wings not starting on time? Sweet Christmas, these guys are fast now in every way. Columbus seemed ready for it, though; Robby Fabbri had Detroit’s best early attempt (that guy has been playing great lately.) Our old friend Gus Nyquist nearly put Columbus ahead in kind, but Greiss kind of flew all over the place and managed to keep the puck out of the net somehow.

For the rest of the opening, the game was a lot of furious back and forth with few shots on net. Through eight minutes, shots were 4-2 in Columbus’s advantage so great game if you like watching players go vroom vroom, not so much if you’re here for goal horns.

In the second half of the period you saw a lot of blown passes and giveaways on both sides. It was indictive of two teams pushing the pace with heavy forechecks.

Finally Detroit cracked the egg with about five minutes left in the period. A bouncing puck was dumped into the Jackets’ zone and it seemed like neither team could calm the puck down. Bertuzzi even went down to the ice in the crease and tried to kick the puck to Larkin at one point. However, the puck ended up on a blue stick and clearing attempt was made. Raymond was ready and made a heads-up play to knock the puck down, then passed to Larkin across the crease. The captain tapped the puck into the open net to make it 1-0 Red Wings!

The Wings would get a good last opportunity thanks to some great pressure from Erne, but the score would remain at 1-0 going into the break.

Score: 1-0 Red Wings
Shots: 10-7 Blue Jackets
Stand Ups: Seider, Larkin
Sit Downs: Maybe I’ve just gotten soft considering the last few seasons, but it's hard to fault anyone at this point.

Second Period

The start of the second was so scrambled, it took all my power not to make some joke about eggs. In almost a mirror of the opening period, the Wings controlled the first 90 seconds or so and Columbus came hard charging back. We wouldn’t have to wait nearly as long for a goal, though, as Michael Rasmussen would fire a drop pass from Namestnikov at a wide and long angle, but somehow the puck would beat Merzlikins on the far side to make it 2-0 Red Wings! I’m sure Merzlikins wants that one back, but Rasmussen won’t say no to it.

DeKeyser would get called for the delay of game just a few shifts later, though, giving Columbus their first power play of the game. Greiss would make multiple great saves early against Cole Sillinger, then a couple more later on Cole Sillinger. Great work by Greiss, not so great work by the guys in front of him. Scary stuff, but what a kill by Greiss.

Detroit would take the momentum from the PK and apply some good pressure, but Pius Suter would take a second penalty for Detroit on a trip. Sloppy play by Suter after getting beat to the puck. The Wings would kill it off in slightly less-dramatic fashion, but the Jackets got their chance on that one just as well.

Columbus would get set up once again in the Wings zone at even strength and launch a puck in on Greiss. Greiss would make the stop, and knock away the rebound, and let in the third attempt (via Boone Jenner, of course.) 2-1 now with the lead narrowing.

The game would tie up just a few shifts later as Adam Boqvist would score a similar on a similar shot to the Ras goal earlier in the period. 2-2 tie, and the Wings were left trying to figure out how to get some momentum back.

A scrum ensued a few shifts later as Detroit finally got themselves in gear and Bayreuther planted Namestnikov on top of his own goalie. Of course, that was Namestnikov’s fault, so Columbus had to stick up for Merzlikins. It would all lead to a boring 4-on-4 and an end to a disappointing period

Score: 2-2 Tie
Shots: 27-14 Columbus
Stand Ups: PK Greiss, Veleno
Sit Downs: Even-Strength Greiss, the Penalty Kill

Third Period

The period started with the same tilt-and-tumble play, the kind that almost reminds you on a pinball machine. You had to think at this point that the game would be won off some broken play in front of the net. Or I guess some harmless shot from the outside. Those were the only two types of goals we’d seen up to this point at least.

The Wings got the man-advantage for the first time all night thanks to Gavrikov holding Bertuzzi, but it was promptly blown as Gagner got sent to the box for hooking Jake Bean just ten seconds in. Columbus controlled most of the play and I really started white knuckling my keyboard by then and screaming in my head “DON’T LET THEM GET TO SPECIAL TEAMS!” Yes, white-knuckle clutching keyboards. We’re super serious about blogging in my house.

The Wings got the go-ahead goal! Except they didn’t. In another net-front scramble, the puck beat Merzlikins, but the goal was called off because Bertuzzi high sticked the puck prior to the goal. It looked unintentional, but the ref isn’t there to determine intention.

Late in the period the Wings would finally break the knot as Bertuzzi won a board battle, skated in on net, then ditched the puck to Raymond. Raymond down on one knee, shoots, scores! 3-2 Red Wings!!

The Wings would get caught standing still at the blue line with nopt enough people back against a bouncing puck, because I guess that’s all the puck can do on Columbus’s ice. 3-3 tie.

Aaaand Zach Werenski dealt the dagger to Detroit with just over a minute left by just firing a fast shot from the blue line. Greiss got beat from waaaay out by the blue line. 4-3 Blue Jackets.

Greiss got pulled on the following shift. the Wings would get solid pressure but give up the empty net with two seconds left to lose the game 5-3.

Score: 5-3 Blue Jackets
Shots: 38-27 Blue Jackets
Stand Ups: Raymond, Bertuzzi, Larkin
Sit Downs: Team Defensive Play, The Ice Surface

Conclusion

Using “For Those About to Rock” after every Columbus goal is tacky and corporate and has made the song hollow. I get that Detroit has “Don’t Stop Believing,” but there is less emotional depth in the AC/DC tune, so the thing is more obnoxious and less human. Also, Detroit doesn’t play the damn song after every goal.

Maybe I’m just taking out a frustrating loss on their song or whatever, though, because Detroit wasn’t disciplined enough and gave away all their momentum. They lost a lead twice and lost coverage on several players throughout the game. If I’m trying to be objective, the frantic nature of the game didn’t make for the best hockey, but it’s made all the worse by the loss.

Detroit gets a chance at redemption tomorrow in Dallas, though, so we don’t have to wait long to see how they respond.