FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Red Wings 4, Canucks 3 in the Shootout
More Jekyll and Hyde hockey from the Detroit Red Wings. The first half of the first period was all Wings — the second half, all Canucks. The Wings were flat-out dominant for much of the first stanza, but the talented Canucks were able to keep it even heading into the break. The second period started much like the first: all Red Wings, including two solid minutes in the offensive zone to start the frame. It was 13+ minutes of “Red Wings hockey with special guests the Canucks,” and the good guys were able to take a well-deserved lead into the locker room. Through those first two periods, the Red Wings directed 53 shots at the net (only 30 reached it, but still… that’s a shit ton).
And then the third period happened. Detroit failed to register a shot in the first ten minutes of it, and Vancouver took advantage of an errant puck in between the dots to tie it at 2… it looked scary. But Detroit found a way to pry another goal out of the stingy Vancouver defense of the third period, and re-take the lead. It wouldn’t last — Vancouver found another gear and tied the game with 4:24 left in the game. We’d head into overtime… and then the shootout, where the Wings are suddenly invincible.
BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE
- All Detroit early tonight. 12 of the first 13 shots came from the Wings’ sticks. However, one instance that didn’t earn a shot was a Valtteri Filppula in the opening minutes. He was hooked to shit (upon realizing that the Wings were playing one of the Canadian teams, there was no call), and lost the puck around the crease. A moment later, Todd Bertuzzi had a golden opportunity in close and fired a backhand directly into Roberto Luongo’s glove. It wasn’t until Dan Cleary banged in a floater that Detroit was able to break through.
- The first Canucks Power Play came after – AND ONLY AFTER – the nancies started throwing their arms up and skating toward the referee. When reminded that they’re obligated to do whatever they can to help the Canadian teams, the ref raised his arm and gave Henrik Zetterberg a penalty for being very, very near a Canuck. The Wings would kill off the two minutes, but the next six shots (after the aforementioned 12-1 start) were Vancouver’s. Near the end of the first, the Canucks would tie it up by shoving everyone up in Tiberius’ grill, with Kesler (AN AMERICAN) forcing one in. It’s one of those dirty area goals I’d love to see the Wings score a touch more often, and the teams would take a 1-1 tie into the first intermission, courtesy of the Canucks whining and bitching.
- The Wings Power Play sucks. That’s a fact. So many weapons, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to net one on a man advantage when they’re being as tenacious as they were tonight at even strength. For some reason, they drop a gear when they’re up a body and — although maintaining puck possession and control — they just can’t put the puck in the net. Bizarre.
- The first 11 shots of the second period were off of Red Wings sticks. It wasn’t until 12:26 into the middle period that the Canucks were able to put one on Howard.
- With just over six minutes to go in the second, Jiri Hudler scored his 17th of the season with a cannon from just inside the circle. He currently leads the team in goals. Yeah, you heard me.
- Immediately after, for some reason, Justin Abdelkader agrees to fight Max Lapierre. It was an ill-advised time to drop the gloves (on Gator’s part), but he “won” that fight, if you want to call it that, in a re-match of an October bout in which he thoroughly kicked the shit out of Lapierre. The Wings would take a 2-1 lead into the locker room after two.
- Todd Bertuzzi and Keith Ballard would scrap a few minutes into the third period after an icing call. Ballard went a little low on Bert, who didn’t appreciate it, and fists were thrown for just a few seconds before they fell down. Let’s call that one a draw. I guess.
- Alex Burrows would score on the Canucks’ sixth shot of the third period (all of which came before Detroit could get one) to knot it up at two. Drew Miller could be blamed for flubbing on a clear, but he found a way to make it up to his teammates a few minutes later — scoring the go-ahead goal to make it 3-2. “Ryan Miller’s brother,” as he’s become known on broadcasts outside of Detroit, scored for the second game in a row, and ninth of the season — one away from his season best (both last year, and the year prior, in Detroit).
- Mason Raymond would tie the game at 3 with just over 4 minutes to play. Uh oh. With a scoreless overtime, we’d head to a shootout, tied 3-3. Coming into tonight’s game, the Wings were an impressive 5-0 in the skills competition.
- VNC: Alex Edler (stopped by Howard), Mason Raymond (lost the handle)
- DET: Pavel Datsyuk (GOAL), Jiri Hudler GOAL). Chicken dinner.
BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE
- Anyone else catch Assante advertised on the glass? Sure is nice to see the guy from Private Benjamin finally get some recognition.
- Gordie Howe in the building tonight, and it’s always nice to see Mr. Hockey around. There was a lot of chatter earlier today about his declining mental health, but that’s not something anyone should be speculating about. Just wish him well and — if it’s your thing — pray that you never have a friend or family member go through something as horrible as dementia.
- Jannik Hanson nearly broke Jonathan Ericsson’s legs on a late second period icing play, tapping Shitbox’s skate as he barreled toward the boards. That’s an awful, disgusting, dangerous play to make and he deserved those two minutes. Ericsson’s very lucky he didn’t shatter a femur.
- Happy 37th Birthday to Todd Bertuzzi. Thank you for not killing me for all of the things I’ve said about you over the years.
DISCH APPROVED “HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Jiri Hudler had a goal in regulation, and the winner in the shootout. Shout-out to Jimmy Howard, who has stopped 14/16 shootout attempts this season. Nasty.
THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
Johan Franzen. This was a game that The Mule should have been able to dictate the pace of. Instead, whenever he had the puck, he was lumbering and doing very little to aid the Wings in the way that we know he can.
The Wings have the Oilers on Saturday night.
Photo Credit: Rich Lam, Getty Images