I’ll be honest. At this point in the season, I’m running out of ways to find moral victories. Coming into the final home game of the season, I knew things were likely going to get ugly. The Penguins are a damn-good team.. and Evgeni Malkin loves making our lives a living hell. The good news is that just across town: a long-anticipated historic moment in Detroit sports.
One thing was clear out of the gate: the ice looked poor. Players were falling left and right, most of them Red Wings. Detroit found themselves hemmed into their own zone several times because that’s what this Penguins team does. Past the halfway point of the first, Pittsburgh turned up the heat with two quick goals. One of those goals was from Sidney Crosby and the only reason I mention that is because it was a ridiculous play that you just have to respect. Down by two, Detroit got a chance on the power play and converted thanks to who else other than Jakub Vrana. His 13th of the season, and Moritz Seider picked up his 49th point with an assist:
It was 2-1 at intermission and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Meanwhile, not far from LCA, Miguel Cabrera made history again with his 3000th MLB hit.
Things were looking up for the Red Wings to start the second period. Michael Rasmussen kept his hot streak alive with a game-tying goal:
It seemed like Detroit had the momentum, but Pittsburgh tipped it back into their favor and really gave the Red Wings hell for most of the second period. To add insult to injury, the Penguins scored their fifth goal thanks to a completely bizarre call. I’ll be honest, I’ve tried to understand it. I don’t. I think it was a bad call:
Hey, we'll take it— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 23, 2022
Ref explanation: "After review, the puck was already shot before the play was whistled down. Therefore, it was a continuous motion. We have a goal on the ice." pic.twitter.com/dr2rsTD44R
Down by three goals, Jeff Blashill did what he does best: changing goalies (this is not a compliment). Alex Nedeljkovic gets the pleasure of seeing out the final 20 minutes of this game.
As it turns out, changing your goalie doesn’t actually change much for your team. The Penguins pressed the Red Wings into submission. Even a single power play couldn’t spark something. Pittsburgh added two more goals and it was a final of 7-2. That’s bad! Here’s why:
Most times giving up 6+ goals in a game since the 04-05 lockout— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) April 23, 2022
1. 05-06 PIT - 16
2. 21-22 DET - 14*
T-3. 4 teams - 13
I will say one thing: the crowd at LCA was having fun despite the ugly mess on the ice. They were singing “Sweet Caroline” and it got Mickey Redmond laughing, “keep singin’ and enjoy your ginger ales” he said as the game wrapped up.
This was an ugly way to close out the season at home, but I think that’s what the team deserves. There’s a ton of negative stuff we could talk about, so I’ll just end this little recap with some quick encouraging thoughts:
- Michael Rasmussen’s development: The big guy is starting to fill his mold. 13 goals, driving play, etc. He gives me Patric Hornqvist vibes.
- Healthy Jakub Vrana: We deserve a full 82-game season from this guy after how this season played out. I think if he can stay healthy, he’s easily a 40-goal scorer on this team.
- Only three games left!
The Red Wings have another early start to cap off this weekend. They draw the New Jersey Devils tomorrow on the road at 1pm.