This game started way too boring to end the way it did. Berggren had his first game and his first point and then the team went down like it was hit by a rogue wave. These are the types of reminders that I (and probably others) need of how far Detroit has to go. Some nights Detroit is a real good hockey club. This was not one of those nights.
I thought there might be some blood in the water with such a close game played by these teams only a few days ago, but the first five minutes of the game were kind of a snoozer. Maybe that’s putting it harshly; it wasn’t bad hockey or anything, just not the most exciting. We all wanted a Berggren hat trick by this point, dammit!
Eventually the Wings and Rangers each got some dangerous chances in front of the net, or at least they had the potential for it. Neither team really got any mustard on the opportunity, though.
Oh man, for a second there Detroit established a cycle, but the Rangers poked it out of the zone. Hot diggity! As the period rolled on past the midpoint, Detroit did start to possess the puck more and more, but there weren’t any high danger chances. At one point the shot total 6-1 in favor of Detroit with Seider, Perron, and Copp doing a lot of the heavy lifting for the Wings.
Julien Gauthier got a decent chance against Ville Husso later in the period, but he fanned on a bouncing puck, which sort of epitomized some of the Rangers’ trouble to build momentum: they were setting up their shots and maybe trying to play a little too pretty, so they’d fan or miss the net. Maybe it was all for the intimidation factor. It sounds scary when Panarin craters the boards behind the net.
Well, for all my complaining, the Rangers scored a goal off a fairly harmless shot right off a draw to Husso’s left. New York won the draw cleanly against, puck moved back to the Adam “Cool Guy Last Name” Fox, then over to Mika Zibanejad, shoot, goal. It’s the second goal I’ve seen in the last two games where Husso was hugging his left post a little too hard. It wasn’t a softy goal or anything, but given how similar it was to a previous goal, it was a little bit of a bummer. 1-0 Rangers.
The Wings didn’t take long to find the equalizer, though. From a broken play off the boards in Detroit’s end, Olli Määttä sprung Jonatan Berggren, who basically skated backwards half way down the ice with the puck. Czarnik was crashing the net, but Berggren set up late-man Veleno, who sniped the puck past Shesterkin, 1-1 Tie! Big help from Czarnik screening the goalie, and the first NHL point for Berggren!
Neither team got much going in the last few minutes, so the two squads would go into the first intermission perfectly deadlocked in goals and shots.
Score: 1-1 Tie
Shots: 7-7 Tie
Stand Outs: Berggren, Veleno
Sit Downs: Eh, just kind of a snoozer period until the last five minutes
Lot of back and forth in the early going of period 2 until Erne took a hooking penalty against Filip Chytil, but the Detroit PK did a pretty solid job, at least until the waning seconds when New York got a decent opportunity in the slot.
Then Michael Rasmussen had a heck of a deke to nearly make it 2-1! He’s had some rough games, but I’ve really liked Ras’s play overall this season. Would be nice to see him get one tonight.
The pace of play continually picked up until the teams were basically bolting up and down the ice. The Larkin line was fairly quiet up until this moment, where Hronek made a really good dump in behind Shesterkin. New York tried to clear it around the boards, but Larkin intercepted and flung a lightning quick pass to Raymond, all alone in the slot, 2-1 Red Wings!
Sundqvist went to the box a few minutes later for a slashing penalty against Kaapo Kakko, and immediately the Rangers’ power play looked more dangerous. Andrew Copp got caught being too aggressive at the point, allowing Fox, Panarin, and Kreider to cycle the puck around. Detroit got stretched out just like a good power play is supposed to do and Kreider was left wide open, no mistakes made, 2-2 Tie.
The goal and another power play gave New York a lot of momentum through the second half of the period. Detroit’s penalty kill fended off the Rangers on a Chiarot tripping penalty, but it wasn’t the prettiest thing you’d ever seen. Afterwards, New York kept applying pressure and getting good but not great chances. Still, New York took a noticeable lead in shots during this stretch.
Detroit would get a power play with under two minutes left in the period. Normally you hate to see a power play get broken up by the period, but on the bright side it would allow Detroit to start with some momentum in the third period.
Score: 2-2 Tie
Shots: 16-11 Rangers
Stand Ups: Larkin, Raymond, Husso
Sit Downs: Copp on the penalty kill
The power play started the period and established control in the zone, but all Detroit really got out of it was a shot from Seider that went wide. It’s a lot to ask for a power play to score in 30 seconds, but a shot on net would have been nice.
Still, the momentum push from the power play was nice. Detroit maintained control for the first several minutes; whenever New York got sticks on the puck, the best they could do was dump it behind Husso. It allowed Detroit to nearly close the gap in shots before New York got their sea legs back under them with a dangerous cycle in Detroit’s zone four minutes into the period.
Unlike Detroit, though, New York would capitalize on the momentum with a goal not unlike the Raymond goal; New York dumped the puck and got a bit of a fortunate bounce all the way back to Fox on the blue line. He fired a quick wrister past Husso to make it 3-2 Rangers.
New York would capitalize once again to make it 4-2 Rangers with Goodrow being left all alone in the slot, somehow. The two goals were scored less than 90 seconds apart.
5-2 Rangers. Detroit has just decided to stop covering players walking in on Husso.
6-2, same deal. Deja vu of the Boston game from two weeks ago. Four goals in three minutes for the Rangers. I’m honestly not trying to be a bad sport about it, but New York is scoring faster than I can recap and… yeah, not going to rewind to watch them over and again right now. I’ll probably miss two more goals in the time I can properly cover one of the previous three.
Oh for the love of God, the 7th goal just deflected perfectly off Ras into the net. 7-2 Rangers.
Before Bally went to the last commercial break they showed Ras with the most dead eye stare and it was my favorite part of the whole period because in that moment you were us and we were you, man. It was this strange instance where fan and player oh dammit it’s 8-2 now shorty on the power play.
Then the game ended but my misery did not because I am cursed with a memory (damn the human condition!) I’m going to sip on something more bitter than my feelings toward this game and listen to the nerdiest dystopian rock opera album I own to try and cleanse myself from whatever the hell that third period was.
Score: 8-2 Rangers
Shots: 33-20 Rangers
Stand Outs: hahahahaha
Sit Downs: I’mma promptly go into the rank ‘em and give everyone a thumbs down. I know, Berggren got his first point and Raymond had a snazzy goal on a nice set up from Larkin, but this is a team issue at this point. The Wings have been hovering among the top teams in the East. You live and die as a team when you’re in that tax bracket.
Detroit pretty reasonably won that first period, then the calls against them choked them out in the second, leading to a total collapse in the third. Last time this happened was against Boston, and then things got worse in the next game against Buffalo. Maybe Detroit can bring the 97 cup team on their West Coast plus Columbus road trip that starts on Monday. Worked last week.