With the weight of the past looking on and the shadow of Monday’s blowout blanketing them, the Red Wings came out looking for an early goal. Lots of early pressure with four shots in the first five minutes with Rasmussen looking for redemption coming off his suspension.
For all the history of the ‘98 cup win, Ken and Mick had a lot to say about the more recent history between these two clubs, including Detroit not beating Washington in regulation at home since Petr Mrazek blanked them in 2015. Real ugly stuff.
The best opportunity thus far for either team came from, of course, Kubalik. Washington then pressured hard the other way, but Husso stood tall for several shots. This led to a momentum change in the second half of the period where the Caps hemmed Detroit’s 4th line and bottom pair and racked up several dangerous opportunities. Real ugly sequence.
Larkin got a great opportunity to Darcy Kuemper’s left but Kuemper was already in too good of a position for Larkin to convert. The rebound led to a sequence on Detroit’s end where Connor McMichael got a great opportunity on Husso. Some interference on the play led to a Washington power play with a lot more end-to-end play than you might expect.
Nic Dowd tripped Perron and then there was a whistle and then Kubalik tried his best Ovechkin impression in the circle like, three times, but no score. The period would close out with the Wings getting some momentum back.
Overall the period was pretty good if you look at it from an improvement standpoint. There was a bad stretch in the second half of the period where the Caps abused Detroit’s bottom players, but to their credit, they didn’t break. Not bad after the Buffalo and Boston blowouts.
Score: 0-0 Tie
Shots: 9-9 Tie
Stand Ups: Larkin, Kubalik, Husso
Sit Downs: Hagg, Veleno
Well, I guess Washington heard that they arguably lost the first period and they didn’t like that, so they came out and flexed on Detroit. They did it like goo, proud teams do. Honestly, reminded me a little bit of the Zetterberg/Datsyuk era post-2008; they just outworked Detroit and racked up shot after shot after shot, not in dazzling fashion, but in that steady, steamroller sort of way. They were aided by a Hronek cross-checking penalty a few minutes in, but that wasn’t where they converted.
It was Ovechkin and he did his stupid Ovechkin thing from the circle and the one-knee and the what have you. 1-0 Washington thanks to some good cycling and getting Detroit trapped on the wrong side of Husso, freeing up space for their trigger-man to tie Gordie Howe’s goal record in Detroit. I would be happier with the milestone and say it was fitting if I liked Ovechkin better, but I don’t so it leaves me feeling a little salty, all in all.
Detroit finally got some shots off in response, mostly off trying to set up behind Kuemper. It’s a setup Detroit has gone to often this year, but I’m not recalling any goals scored directly off the sequence so it has gotten kind of tiring. But you know who was working his tail off to make things happen? Zadina. You can feel the desperation on the poor guy.
Lars Eller would slash Larkin a short time later, and while it took a minute to set up, the first unit eventually had a really nice tic-tac-toe play from Perron to Kubalik to Raymond to tie the game up, 1-1! Great footwork by Raymond to corral the puck, too.
Larkin oh-so-briefly made it a 2-1 game by collecting a Seider rebound and tapping it into the net, but it was ruled a no-goal because Perron fell on Kuemper. I think Fehevary pushed Perron into Kuemper, negating his ability to get out of the way, but it was close enough of a call that I wasn’t jumping out of my seat at the injustice of it all, but still a disappointment.
A delayed call for tripping would lead to a scrum, but the refs kept things under control, tossing Ovechkin and Raymond for offsetting penalties. The Wings wouldn’t get anything off the powerplay, but they’d carry a minute of it into the third.
Score: 1-1 Tie
Shots: 24-18 Washington
Stand Ups: Power Play, Husso
Sit Downs: The whole team effort for the first eight minutes.
The Wings wouldn’t do anything with the remainder of the powerplay, unfortunately. Afterwards, the period would open much as the 2nd did, with a creeping barrage of shots, sort of like the Somme. Eventually the Wings would go a man down via Zadina hooking Martin Fehevary.
The Wings would kill off the penalty without consequence, though, and afterwards the tempo would sky rocket. The emotion really started to ramp up. Lots of speed, lots of good saves from both Kuemper and Husso making some great saves, then scrums, then stuff moving too fast to recap!
Fortunately for bloggers everywhere, Washington iced the puck with 7:22 left in the period. Honestly, I was waiting for something big to happen off the draw: a goal, one way or another, a fight, or something, just with the way the game had been ramping up, but nothing. Bummer.
Late in the period a long game of tug-o-war broke out along the half boards for the puck. Eventually the puck broke in Detroit’s favor and a failed 3-on-2 resulted in Larkin swinging around net, dishing back behind Kuemper to Erne, who set up the maligned Andrew Copp on Kuemper’s doorstep. Copp gathered the puck and snuck one past Kuemper, 2-1 Red Wings!
And afterwards on a loose puck Ras took a penalty. Kind of a soft one, but man, Ras, stop doing that. He was having a pretty good game until then, too. The PK was brilliant though, and the Wings nearly iced it just after the expiration, but Ras streaked out of the box past Ovi to negate the icing.
With Kuemper pulled, the Wings forced the Caps’ back to the Detroit blueline, then with a good poke made a 3-on-1. Larkin ended up with the puck on his stick and he had to deke none other than Alex Ovechkin for the empty netter to seal the game, 3-1 Red Wings! Feels good! That one’s for you, 1997 and 1998!
Score: 3-2 Detroit
Shots: 34-26 Washington
Stand Ups: Copp, Seider, Larkin, Husso, Penalty Kill
Sit Downs: Basically the same as the 2nd period
That meme of the old guy smiling and being sad at the same time: Michael Rasmussen
Detroit needed to win this one and they did. They weren’t perfect, and it easily could have gone the other way. I wouldn’t say Ville Husso quite stole the game, but he needed to play well and he did. What a relief after losing so badly to Buffalo and Boston in the past week. There were some ugly moments at the start of the second and third, but Detroit found a way to capitalize on their chances and come out with the W. Hopefully they can keep it rolling for their Saturday matinee against the Isles.