Game Recap: Jimmy Howard, Andreas Athanasiou lead Red Wings in 3-2 overtime win over Stars
No trades? No problem.
The Red Wings entered tonight after a big outdoor win over the Colorado Avalanche, and were on the outside looking from the top-three teams in the Atlantic. Huge performances from rookie Andreas Athanasiou and Jimmy Howard lifted the Red Wings to a very important two points over one of the league's best teams in the Dallas Stars.
We're going to get right down to the action, because that's just how we do things here.
The Stars were/are the visually better team out of the two. They were skating circles around the Red Wings for the first part of the period. Jimmy Howard was on his game early on and made a couple of big saves to keep his team in it. The line combination of Andreas Athanasiou and Dylan Larkin were absolutely blazing all period long. I really enjoy watching them with Brad Richards, who isn't fast but knows how to get the puck up ice to the quicker guys. Very "two kids and a goat" feel to it, just need to score a lot more.
Jimmy Howard was the highlight of the entire period. He had some absolutely magnificent saves against a surging Stars team. When they get setup in your zone, they might be one of the best puck-moving teams in the NHL. They move with such ease and speed, it's almost difficult to track the puck at times. Thanks to Howard, it remained ineffective.
After 20 minutes, Dallas is dominating. Score is 0-0, but shots are 16-7, 5v5 shot attempts are 22-13 all in favor of the Stars.
The Stars continued to be the dominating team in the early stretch of the second. It is precisely the way I thought the game would go, just with better goaltending. The Wings' penalty kill looked decent, and the power play looked as it has all season long - an unadulterated disaster.
Andreas Athanasiou continues to impress me every single game with his speed and ability to handle the puck that matches up with it. He cuts around defensemen so easily due to his ability to crossover so quickly and effortlessly. He scored the first goal of the game on this beautiful zone entry in which he was able to pick up the rebound and bang it home. This was good for his third goal of the season. Athanasiou is really emerging as an impactful bottom-six player for the team:
The Red Wings were on the wrong end of an unfortunately terrible missed call when Dallas' Colton Sceviour tied the game up on a goal that to me looked like it was clearly kicked into the net. It went under review, and Toronto found the goal legitimate. Not sure how, because it looked like a surefire kicking motion to me. Chris Osgood described it as a "thrusting-forward motion." It was an obvious move to get the puck to go into the net. Bad call by the refs, should not have counted.
So, we're tied 1-1 after 40 minutes. Dallas still owns possession outright, shots are 29-17. 5v5 shot attempts are 41-31.
The Stars came out into the third period like hell on wheels. The Red Wings seemed to have a very difficult time defending the way they move with the puck, which has somewhat been the story for the entire game. The funny thing is that the most lethal offensive force has been Andreas Athanasiou. He scored an absolutely disgusting highlight-reel goal to make it 2-1:
After AA's magic, the Red Wings looked to just hold on for dear life against a clearly better Dallas team. Detroit had a temporary look on the power-play but it was short-lived after Niklas Kronwall took a penalty.
The Stars tied the game back up with less than two minutes left after Jonathan Ericsson failed to clear the puck out of his zone while Dallas had the empty net. Vernon Fiddler got the chip-in past Jimmy Howard, who has played his ass off the entire game. To overtime we go.
Score is 2-2, Shots are all Dallas 41-29, and 5v5 shot attempts 53-45.
It was a back-and-forth three-on-three sequence between both teams, which is to be expected. Fortunately for the Red Wings, Gustav Nyquist was able to draw a huge penalty to put his team on the man advantage. The Red Wings did their job and made the most of the situation, which lead to Pavel Datsyuk sealing a huge game-winning goal in overtime to give the Red Wings two points, and third place in the division:
At the end of the game, Dallas owned everything aside from the score. Red Wings win 3-2 in overtime.
Huge win for Jimmy Howard, who has been win-less for so long. He had a great start tonight, and could quite possibly be the reason why the Red Wings managed to pull out one or even two points from this game. Factor in the fantastic performance from Andreas Athanasiou, and the clutch overtime goal by Pavel Datsyuk and we're in third place in the Atlantic, folks!
Next matchup draws the ever-dangerous Chicago Blackhawks. As of now we are unsure if Petr Mrazek will be good to go for the game, but if not we can expect Howard to get another start over Jared Coreau. Big win, despite the underlying numbers.