So, about last night...
The best part about Saturday is that absolutely no hockey happened. No, none whatsoever. Don’t look anything up, just take my word for it. Seriously, do not look up anything about the game that definitely didn’t happen last night.
You looked, didn’t you.
Yeah. Last night was brutal. From the two whole shots the Detroit Red Wings netted in the first period to the absolutely brutal peppering of offense by the Los Angeles Kings, it was truly a night to forget. For better or worse, the Red Wings didn’t have much time to dote on it. Less than 24 hours later, they were back on the ice, this time against the Anaheim Ducks and rookie phenom Trevor Zegras. Zegras, as anyone that follows hockey knows, had a really, really cool assist. An assist so cool, in fact, that the NHL decided to post it everywhere for months.
Anyway, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here for hockey. At 8 PM EST, the teams faced off in the Honda Center for the Battle of the Rookies, the Calder Championship (not to be confused with the AHL’s Calder Cup, which Rookie of the Year Lock Cole Caufield will look to win this season).
Rookie Lukas Dostal made his first career NHL start tonight against the Red Wings. A monkey dropped the puck, too. Anaheim is fun! The stands are chock full of Wings fans. No surprises there, considering how cold it is in Detroit right now. This time around, it only took five minutes for Detroit to get their first shot on goal. Speaking of things happening fast, Givani Smith decided to get right to it, going toe-to-toe with Nick Deslauriers after the latter hit Gustav Lindstrom in the head. Unfortunately, the move resulted in a...power play for the Ducks, which led to...a Trevor Zegras goal. Ugh.
After Lindstrom catches a nasty hit to the head, Smith stands up for his teammate. No penalty on the hit, but Smith goes to the box, and the Ducks go on to score a PP goal. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/CbX6hNHojZ— everett (@borntodanhard) January 10, 2022
Adam Erne gets a scoring opportunity and takes too long with it. Zadina appears to have regained some of his poise on the second line, but the lack of chemistry between he and Pius Suter is becoming more evident by each game. The good news is, it only took one shift for Blashill to move Zadina back down a line.
The broadcast showed Zegras assist three times in the first period. Pain. Raymond fired it into the goaltender, then came forward with a nice check on one of the Ducks’ forwards. Hronek wound up with a breakaway, had the goaltender beat, and took too long, missing out on what could’ve been a great goal. The move appeared to light a fire beneath the Wings, however, as Fabbri nearly put one in the net shortly after.
Two back-to-back penalties put the Red Wings at a 5-on-3. With the team struggling to generate power play offense over the last few games, they needed this opportunity. They responded...with a late fanned shot through the first.
On to the second with some power play time!
Gustav Lindstrom is back after sitting the rest of the first period following his hit, so the second was off to a great start. To make things even better, Filip Hronek made up for his breakaway by scoring on the power play!
If you were hoping the good news would continue, I have some bad news: Dylan Larkin suffered an upper body injury and was ruled out for the rest of the game. Ugh. The team wasted no time, however, as the pressure quickly picked up with an almost-goal from Tyler Bertuzzi. A very nice Zadina pass led to a scrum, which, of course, led to Givani Smith taking exception with an Anaheim player. The Ducks earned another (unrelated) power play, but the Wings were very adept at killing it off without much to worry about. More back-and-forth play brought in a few plays, including a few nice almost goals from Raymond and Bertuzzi.
The second felt like a completely different hockey team. For the first time since their game against the San Jose Sharks, the Red Wings started to consistently generate offensive pressure against their opponents. A grey-hair-inducing move from Thomas Greiss almost broke the tie, but, thanks to the heroic efforts of Moritz Seider, the play was saved.
Moritz Seider is one of the fastest rookie defensemen to reach 20 assists, accomplishing the feat in 36 games. Cool! Shortly following this fun stat, Lucas Raymond sent a puck to Marc Staal, who attempted a wraparound that became a setup to Bertuzzi, giving us a Red Wings goal! That was a mouthful and probably didn’t make sense. Rather than try to explain it, watch the replay:
The offensive pressure stayed stalwart with attempts from Zadina and Erne. A “let’s go Red Wings” chant even started all the way in California! Unfortunately, the hype didn’t last long. A weirdly belated goal by Troy Terry tied the game up. Marc Staal giveth, Marc Staal taketh away. Shame. The second came to an end shortly after.
The Red Wings started the period with an offside, which led to a faceoff where Zadina was almost immediately pickpocketed by one of the Ducks, leading to Anaheim taking the lead. Until that point, he was having a great game. The botched sequence appears to have shattered his confidence. He and the rest of the team failed to make a single impact through what was an otherwise impotent power play.
Doom and gloom, however, was not the name of this game. The Red Wings would not go gentle into that good night. For the first time in 57 games, Jordan Oesterle scored, tying the game! 3-3 through the 3rd! (Note: apparently, the goal was now credited to Namestnikov. Vlad now has 10 goals through 36 games, putting him on a 20+ goal pace!)
Lucas Raymond has swarmed the Ducks at almost every avenue. For a player that struggled over his last couple games, he’s made the most of his adversity and appears to have fought through the slump. The Red Wings go to their fourth power play near the end of the third following a late trip from Isac Lundestrom. Detroit was very effective at drawing penalties, pulling two in a similar fashion in the third. “Impotent” is the only word to describe the ineffective power play which ended the game with a 1-for-4 success rate.
The third line started to buzz near the end of the third, with grade-A chances from Namestnikov, Erne, and Rasmussen alike. They’re slowly building some chemistry!
The Red Wings put in the most pressure they’ve put all season on overtime, keeping Rickard Rakell out for the Ducks for 3:36. The bad news is, Bertuzzi got injured in a tangle with Trevor Zegras. He skated off the ice, leaving his gloves and stick. Multiple shots from Zadina, Raymond and Fabbri almost made a goal happen, but to no avail. Shootout season begins!
Troy Terry started off for the Ducks. His snapshot...came up short! Raymond, up next, hit Dostal’s pad. Zegras came up next, five-holing Greiss for a shootout goal. That makes a goal, an assist, and a shootout goal for Zegras tonight. Erne failed his redemption goal, leading to Rickard Rakell scoring top shelf after Greiss fell headfirst on the ice.
This was not a fun ending to the game.