Ned Wings: Detroit downs Blues on Thanksgiving Eve

4-2 Wings

Detroit is home after a disastrous road trip saw them give up a bunch of goals and then snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  The Blues are in town for the only time this season and they’re getting healthy after injuries.  They’ve been inconsistent this season but they’re still a playoff-caliber team.

I’m in a good mood as I write this. Let’s see if it lasts to the end of this post.

First Period

St. Louis got two good scoring chances off the opening shift thanks to two Jordan Oesterle turnovers (and one good stick play to prevent a scoring chance).  From there the Wings did settle a bit and started working their speed.

Dan Renouf gets noticed for the first time about six minutes in as he passes up a chance to take the body on a Blues player and gets run over by Tyler Bozak as a thanks.

Michael Rasmussen gives the puck away twice in the first ten minutes and also takes the game’s first penalty by slashing David Perron’s stick out of his hands.  As far as the reffing standard goes it’s a good penalty call but probably shouldn’t be the first.

Pavel Buchnevich puts the Blues up 1-0 on the PP as Brandon Saad drives the net into the zone to create havoc. Jordan Kyrou picks up the puck behind the net to find Buchnevich out front for the goal.

That’s the first PP goal given up by Detroit in 20 chances.

The next good scoring chance is off the Blue’s stick as Robby Fabbri turns a puck over at the top of the Blues’ zone and gives Colton Parayko a rush opportunity, starting a series of chances that Nedeljkovic has to stop.

Fortunately, the next good chance after THAT belongs to Lucas Raymond on a beautiful pass from Tyler Bertuzzi in the neutral zone to spring him for a goal. 1-1 tie.

Veleno is stopped by Husso on a good opportunity just after the goal and we play all the way under the minute mark before getting another whistle with Detroit getting the better of play during this stretch.

The Wings create a flurry of chances late in the period and Nick Leddy makes a very neat spin move at the blue line as part of this sequence.  Dylan Larkin falls down all on his own at one point and nothing else interesting happens before the horn.

Score: 1-1
Shots: 11-11
Stand Outs: Bertuzzi, Raymond, Larkin, Suter
Sit Downs: Rasmussen, Oesterle, Renouf, Fabbri

Second Period

The Blues buzz for the first minute of the second with Kyrou nearly breaking the tie on a one-timer that Ned denies.  Fabbri gets rocked and then the Blues get a few more chances while the Wings look for their legs in the early-going.

Pius Suter makes a great sliding block to stop what’s almost a 2-on-0 rush as the Wings find themselves under siege at the six minute mark of the period. Then as if OUT OF NOWHERE the Wings make it 2-1.  The Wings get it up ice for what feels like the first time of the period, get a little cycle. Robby Fabbri throws the puck at the net from a sharp angle, Filip Zadina lifts the stick of the Blues’ defender at the net-front and Dylan Larkin comes off the bench to pick up the loose puck for deposit into the net.

The goal and the following commercial break calms the Wings down a bit. Givani Smith gets in on a forecheck on a dump-in and manages to steal the puck from Ville Husso but can’t bank it in off the goaltender as he scrambles back to his crease.

At some point past the halfway point of the period, the Wings figure out how to lose the faceoff in the offensive zone and turn it into a rush up ice. The second such one of these leads to a huge save by Husso on Zadina as he receives a cross-crease pass from Fabbri.

St. Louis gets one of those pressure shifts 15 minutes into the period. The Wings’ defense works to keep them to the edges and does take an icing but is able to get a change in without damage. St. Louis continues tilting the ice from here though.  Nedeljkovic keeps us tied with two minutes to go as Ryan O’Reilly gets a breakaway pass and Ned’s glove is in position for the stop.

Bertuzzi crushes Mikkola late in the period and the whistles go.  The Blues are unhappy with Bertuzzi and they say mean things but nothing comes of it.

Score: 2-1 Wings
Shots: 22-14 Blues (11-3 for the period)
Stand Outs: Smith, Zadina, Larkin, Nedeljkovic
Sit Downs: Namestnikov, Gagner

Third Period

Things start more calmly than the first two periods but David Perron ties it 2-2 off an offensive zone scrambled faceoff.  Perron has it at the side of the net where he finds Nedeljkovic leaning off his post just enough to bank it in off him.

Pius Suter clangs the post hard on the follow-up shift (just as we learn from the official team account that Joe Veleno’s night is finished).  The pace picks up here. Oesterle finds himself defending a 2-on-1 rush then Larkin just misses tipping a go-ahead goal in. Fortunately at 4:38, Adam Erne takes a pass into the high slot with Pius Suter making traffic in front. The screen moves by just in time to block the vision on the Erne shot and it finds the net to make it 3-2 Detroit.

The Blues’ Tarasenko hits the post on the follow-up shift but Seider springs Bertuzzi and Raymond for a rush that nearly ends with another Larkin goal if not for a barely-missed pass.

6:50 in, Mikkola and Scandella combine to drag the Wings’ defense and Alex Nedeljkovic all over the ice and it looks like we’re going tied again but the rebound shot lacks a little bit of mustard and Ned makes a quick reach-back with his glove to turn a wide-open net into a save.

On the next shift after the commercial break, the Blues hit the crossbar and Ned makes another cross-ice save to deny Perunovich his first NHL goal.  The Wings are all sorts of out of sorts.

Detroit takes a penalty with 11:08 remaining as Oesterle goes to the box on a David Perron dive.  Now’s a good time to point out Detroit hasn’t received a power play in this game. Fortunately the Wings kill off the penalty and actually get a rush chance with Oesterle coming out of the box.

Minutes later, Mo Seider heads to the box for a tripping penalty that makes me angry.  The most-entertaining part of this two-minute sequence is the LCA crowd doing singalongs to ‘Country Roads’ and ‘All the Small Things’ (and also the Wings successfully killing the penalty.  As soon as he’s back on the ice, Seider is tripped away from the puck to give the Blues a scoring chance.  I’m taking my shirt off in protest.  The kids are going upstairs to watch television.

The Blues pull Husso with two minutes remaining and I’m working hard on strengthening my pelvic floor muscles.   Robby Fabbri chases down a long dump from Filip Hronek and pots it into the empty net to finish off his old team and he is PUMPED.

The Blues keep the goalie pulled and both sides nearly score in the waning moments but the game ends at 4-2.

Score: 4-2 Wings
Shots: 37-23 Blues (15-9)
Stand Outs: Nedeljkovic, Namestnikov, Larkin, Fabbri
Sit Downs: Oesterle


Hey I’m still in a good mood!

I’m not going to pretend that this was a fantastic way to win.  The Wings spent long periods of time hemmed into their zone and they absolutely had to rely on their goalie stealing a game for them, but there’s something to be said for the way the score effects played in.

I think they were at their best on the counter-attack.  The shell they fell into several times showed cracks in it, but when they were able to get possession away from the Blues, they moved it up ice pretty efficiently.  Pius Suter was especially good at making sure pucks got out of the zone while Larkin protected pucks from backcheckers.

This was as invisible as I’ve seen Seider all year.  I’m ok with it considering he played over 22 minutes and basically didn’t stick out. Dan Renouf played well in just 13:03, but his first shift of the game was a pretty good reminder why he’s only playing because of illness/injury

Wings back in action Saturday against Buffao.  Have a great Thanksgiving!