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Game Recap: Predators 4, Red Wings 3

You know, I’ll say right now that I don’t go for the redneck jokes about the fans in Nashville (or Carolina, but they’re not really part of this conversation). My grandparents came from Kentucky, West Virginia, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle. My parents live near (but not in) Taylor, MI. (Taylor-tucky, you know.) I don’t have a lot of room to talk. And I’m also not entirely sure where I’m going with this, except maybe just to tell you that I’m going to review the goals and pertinent plays for you without a lot of commentary. Except for some obligatory grumbling about the damn WHISTLES the Nashville fans blow when Jordin Tootoo is on the ice. (And the NHL cracks down on the quiet, unassuming octopus?)

Pregame: The whole kerfuffle about the mysteriously injured mystery forward came to nothing. Tomas Tatar took the pregame warm-up, but did not play, so obviously the mystery forward was fine.

1st period: Tomas Holmstrom opened the scoring with a goal that was slightly unusual by his standards. It was a power play, and he was in front of the goal crease, and the assist was an Ian White shot from the point, but Homer didn’t deflect this one. Instead he got a rebound off Pekka Rinne and swept it into the net with a little bit of a backhand. David Legwand tied the game by getting his own rebound after Jimmy Howard made the first save. Legwand was left out in front of the net alone for too long and he picked his corner quite well. Shots 12-8 for Detroit.

2nd period: Henrik Zetterberg regained Detroit’s lead with another power play goal. Rinne was over to the right side of the net thinking to cover a possible Todd Bertuzzi shot, but Jiri Hudler’s pass found Hank instead and Hank had plenty of wide open net to shoot at. Nicklas Lidstrom added to the lead 87 seconds later with a cannon of a left point shot made possible by a faceoff win by Johan Franzen (after Pavel Datsyuk had been thrown out of the faceoff circle) and some pretty passing by Datsyuk and White. Tootoo cut the lead late in the period, following the play late and catching the rebound from Kevin Klein’s shot. Shots 15-5 for Detroit.

3rd period: Nashville tied the game with a power play goal on Detroit’s only penalty of the game, a hooking call to Howard (served by Justin Abdelkader). Shea Weber got in a point shot with traffic in front of Howard. A Weber goal also gained the lead for the Predators with just over a minute and a half left in regulation. His shot took a strange knuckleball dive just in front of the net and Howard was unable to adapt to the new trajectory in time. (See how scientific hockey can be?) The Red Wings pulled Howard for an extra skater for the remaining time, but were unable to put another shot past Rinne. Shots 13-8 for Detroit.

Notes: Holmstrom’s power play goal was the 118th of his career, moving him past Sergei Fedorov on the list of all-time Red Wings power play goal scorers.

Next game: The Red Wings host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night at 7:00.

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Game Recap: Red Wings 4, Penguins 1 (Quick Toothache Edition)

Goals are lovely things that can temporarily take away the pain of an aching wisdom tooth, but the relief is fleeting when the game is over, so if it’s all the same to you I’m going to make this a quick one so I can take a double dose of ibuprofen and be off to bed.

Slowpoke’s injury report from the Game Preview was indeed accurate! Sidney Crosby was out. My other sources were less accurate, as Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin did play. I tip my hat to Dan Bylsma’s attempts to confuse his opponents with coachmanship and hope for the sake of Mrs. Bylsma that he does not conduct his personal relationships in the same way.

1st period: Played very tight and careful by both teams. Malkin scored the only goal of the period with only five seconds remaining on a two on one rush. Brad Stuart took the passing lane out of play, but Malkin let a quick wrist shot fly which beat Jimmy Howard on the far side of the net. Shots 8-6 in favor of Detroit.

2nd period: Pavel Datsyuk got the Wings on the board with an excellent backhand shot made possible by Todd Bertuzzi stealing the puck away from Matt Niskanen, but the second really belonged to Howard more than anyone else. Tiberius stopped everything he saw and some things you’d think he couldn’t possibly have seen, including a just-barely-made it stick save on Malkin while being flattened by James Neal (it looked more or less accidental on Neal’s part, but “flattened” describes the positioning so well–it was like a “GET DOWN!” tackle from a movie). Shots 12-5 in favor of Pittsburgh.

3rd period: Howard was certainly called on to be strong in the third as well, but the Red Wings’ offense woke up and gave him some help. Johan Franzen moved Detroit into the lead with a power play goal. Datsyuk knocked a Penguins’ clearing attempt out of the air and passed to the Mule, who put the puck right through Marc-Andre Fleury. Danny Cleary added an insurance goal 10 minutes later when he, Darren Helm, and Chris Conner escaped into the Pittsburgh zone on a three on one rush; Cleary tipped Conner’s pass into Fleury’s net. Cleary added an empty net goal with six seconds left to play.

When asked for commentary, my Penguins correspondent Gus Bailey informed me that nothing he had to say is publishable. I have noted this for the record. Perhaps, indeed, we shall spend the first half of June snarking at each other again, my friend.

Next game: Detroit heads to Nashville to meet the Predators. 8:00 PM Thursday.

Quick Recap: Red Wings 5, Coyotes 2

Awesome start, mediocre middle, happy ending.

1st period: Goal after goal for Detroit! First, Todd Bertuzzi scored when Pavel Datysuk took advantage of a Keith Yandle turnover and controlled a bouncy puck to pass to The Todd in the slot. Bertuzzi lifted a high shot over goalie Mike Smith. Second, the second line struck. Henrik Zetterberg carried the puck around the net, harrassed the whole way by a Coyotes defenseman, and passed the puck out front to Valtteri Filppula (and his bulletproof sock) for a quick goal. Third, Tomas Holmstrom showed off his cred as a power play specialist by redirecting an Ian White backhand shot made possible by good puck protection by Datsyuk. Fourth, Darren Helm scored on a play which was actually similar to the one which led to Filppula’s goal. Chris Conner carried the puck around the net before passing to Helm for the quick tap-in. That was the end of the game for Smith, who gave up these four goals on eleven shots before being replaced by Jason LaBarbera. The Wings’ offense wasn’t quite done yet, however, and the fifth goal was another hit for the second line. Filppula carried the puck to the net but got too close before he could get a shot away. Zetterberg got to the loose puck and sent it to Jiri Hudler, who made no mistake shooting it past LaBarbera. The Yahoo! Sports box score for the game tells me that the shots were even at 12 per team in the first period, and I have no reason to think they’re wrong, but I’m honestly having trouble believing it. It does not match at all with what my eyes were telling me.

2nd period: This is where the game began to drift into a bit of complacency. The Wings could have had penalty trouble with a 50 second 3 on 5 with Bertuzzi serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice and Danny Cleary out for boarding, but they managed to keep the Coyotes from really getting organized, and Jimmy Howard was strong on the chances that got through. Phoenix did get on the board late in the period when Radim Vrbata made a play to himself off the side boards and beat Niklas Kronwall in to get the shot away. All in all, kind of a snoozer of a period.

3rd period: Much the same as the second. Martin Hanzal cut Detroit’s lead to three goals when he redirected a Shane Doan shot during a power play. The Red Wings tightened up some after that and kept the Coyotes from getting any thoughts of making a game out of this.

Notes: Pavel Datsyuk left the game after the second intermission, but Mike Babcock assured reporters it was just precautionary. “We knew he was a bit sore going into the game, didn’t get sore (in the game) or anything like that,” Babcock said. “He’ll be fine. We’ll probably give him tomorrow off and go from there.”

Next game: Saturday at 7:00. The Wings host the Winnipeg Jets. I’m gonna be there, oh yeah.  🙂

Game Recap: Blues 3, Red Wings 2

You know, I typically do a game recap by going back through my Twitter feed for descriptions of the pertinent plays as they happened in real time. This note-taking technique isn’t going to work for this game. What I have are descriptions of the substitute play by play guy’s soporific voice (Matthew Shepard was filling in for Ken Daniels), complaints about how this is the slowest-paced game I’ve seen all season, and jokes about prunes. But let’s wing it, shall we?

1st period: No scoring. Drew Miller got a penalty for high-sticking Jason Arnott. Replay showed that Arnott was actually sticked in the face by one of his own teammates. I suppose it could have been worse– it could have been a 4 minute bleeder instead of a single penalty. Also, Brad Stuart made a play for Vezina candidacy when he absolutely saved a goal by batting away a puck that was halfway across the goal line. I had to wonder after that if Jimmy Howard taps Stuie with the goalie paddle after saves like that, the same way he taps the goal posts when a shot rings off them.

2nd period: Johan Franzen opened the scoring with a power play goal. The Mule skated up towards the side of the net and flipped the puck into a tiny little space between Brian Elliott’s shoulder and the crossbar. For a brief shining moment, Franzen had as many power play goals this season as the entire Blues team did put together (that would be 8). Then Alex Steen scored a power play goal with Jakub Kindl in the box for tripping to tie the game and put St. Louis ahead in that race again.

3rd period: The Blues scored twice very early in the third, and Jonathan Ericsson figured in the errors which led to both goals, giving further fodder to fans who think Kenny Holland really messed up by signing Ericsson to his current contract. David Backes scored a power play goal off a T.J. Oshie pass. Howard was focused on Oshie, who looked like he was about to cut across the front of the crease, but passed instead. Backes was waiting by the side of the net completely missed by Ericsson, and it was an easy task for Backes to flip the puck in. Patrick Berglund’s goal two minutes later was admittedly a shared fault goal. Niklas Kronwall was caught pinching in to the  offensive zone, allowing the Blues to escape on a two on one. Ericsson seemed unsure of which guy he should be covering, which led to Howard trying to cover both guys, which rarely works and didn’t in this case. Jiri Hudler got the Wings within one late in the period when he deflected a Danny Cleary shot past Elliott, but even with Howard pulled for a sixth skater the Wings weren’t able to score again.

Howard provided pretty much the best moment in an otherwise nearly-unwatchable game shortly before Hudler’s goal. David Perron took a run at him and knocked him over. Howard is not the sort of guy to take this abuse lying down, and he certainly doesn’t get THE VAPORS and need a FAINTING COUCH like some goalies we could name. *cough-Elliott-with-Justin-Abdelkader’s-alleged-charging-call-cough* No, Howard decided to throw a few punches at Perron himself. Warmed my heart, it did.

Next game: Returning home to face the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday at 7:30.

Note: I’ll try to have a note on the NHL’s realignment for you tomorrow. I’m still so garbled that it happened as fast as it did that I’m not quite sure yet what I want to say about it!

Game Recap: Avalanche 4, Red Wings 2

*grumbly profanities*

A strong start wasn’t enough to hold off a very determined Avalanche team, and the Red Wings’ winning streak ends at 7 with a 4-2 loss at the Pepsi Center.

1st period: The Red Wings started off with a lot of jump and some good scoring chances. Chris Conner got in on a shorthanded breakaway try with Kyle Quincey in the box for cross checking, but Semyon Varlamov managed to close off his five hole just in time. Johan Franzen got the Wings on the board with a power play goal with just under five to go in the period. Pavel Datsyuk carried towards the net, then confused the Avs with a deke and drop pass to Franzen, who was left wide open with an empty net to shoot at.

2nd period: Apparently the Avalanche took some Captain America Super Soldier Serum during the break or something, because they came out as a completely different team. Also, the Red Wings apparently took Ambien during the break, because they also looked like a completely different team. Ryan O’Reilly put Colorado on the board just 26 seconds into the period when Ian White lost control of the puck (as it was passed to his skates instead of his stick), and O’Reilly was able to put the puck high over Ty Conklin. The Avs moved into the lead with a power play goal by Paul Stastny a short time later. Justin Abdelkader’s clearing attempt was intercepted by Matt Duchene. Conklin had slid out of position, the Avalanche crashed the net, and Stastny was able to slam it home. Henrik Zetterberg came within centimeters of a goal later in the period, but it rang off the post. That was pretty much all the noteworthy offense the Wings were able to muster in the 2nd, as they were outshot 19 to 4 by the Avalanche.

3rd period: Detroit got a power play early and didn’t score on it, but they did look far better than they had before the break, keeping possession of the puck and actually getting some scoring chances. Danny Cleary tied the game with a deflection of a Zetterberg backhand just five minutes in, but T.J. Galiardi took the wind out of the Red Wings’ sails with a shorthanded goal moments later. Drew Miller and Darren Helm got crossed up near the blue line and Galiardi intercepted the puck and made the shot before Conklin had a chance to get over. O’Reilly put up the final tally with an empty net goal with 44 seconds left in the game.

Notes: Valtteri Filppula left the game in the first period after an apparent slew foot by David Jones (no penalty was called in game). The Freep is reporting that Filppula’s leg was cut and he’s currently day to day. More to follow as more info is released… Stastny left the game in the third period with a reported torso injury.

Next game: The Wings take on the Blues on Tuesday in St. Louis. 7:30 PM start, and this game will be on Versus, not FSD, so adjust your DVRs accordingly.

Game Recap: Red Wings 4, Sabres 1

Detroit scored early and often to come out of Buffalo with a 4-1 win and extend their winning streak to seven games, their longest since the 2009-10 season.

1st period: The Wings dominated the Sabres in the first, outshooting them 18 to 8. Jakub Kindl opened the scoring with a shot from the left point while Justin Abdelkader screened goalie Jhonas Enroth. Johan Franzen added a power play goal with a patient wrist shot after taking a pass from Nicklas Lidstrom, and Valtteri Filppula made the score 3-0 by skating in unseen while the Sabres harrassed Henrik Zetterberg, who still managed to pass the puck to Filppula for the goal.

2nd period: No scoring. Buffalo pressed hard and caused Detroit to take a number of penalties. The penalty killers got a workout, but none of Buffalo’s attacks were truly dangerous, and Jimmy Howard came up big when he needed to on the Sabres’ nine shots. Detroit also had nine shots on net in the period.

3rd period: The pace of the game slowed down considerably for the third. The Wings played a bit more defensively than we’re used to seeing, but Jochen Hecht ended Howard’s shutout bid with 6:13 left in the game when he and Jason Pominville got in on a two on one rush. Pominville was able to get a pass past Lidstrom, and Hecht waited for Howard to commit to a low net save before shooting high. The Sabres pulled Enroth for an extra attacker with a couple of minutes left to play, but Pavel Datsyuk put the game out of reach with an empty net goal from 117 feet out after a blue line turnover by Christian Ehrhoff.

Notes: Buffalo’s Nathan Gerbe had to leave the game in the third period after a cut to the face from the skate blade of a falling teammate. Bill Roose reports on Twitter that it appears to have cut Gerbe’s upper lip and one of his nostrils… Justin Abdelkader also had to leave the ice in the third after taking an apparent hit to the head. No word yet on Abdelkader’s condition.

Game Recap: Red Wings 4, Lightning 2

Strangely, the Lightning don’t play the 1-3-1 trap when they never have a lead in the game.

1st period: Detroit dominated play in the first, outshooting the Lightning 18 to 8. Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring with a nice tap-in of the rebound from Todd Bertuzzi’s shot. Johan Franzen set up the play. Jonathan Ericsson put Detroit up 2-0. Valtteri Filppula made an excellent pass from behind the goal line, and Ericsson was waiting in the high slot to snap the puck past goalie Dwayne Roloson.

2nd period: Tampa Bay came on strong in the second after successfully killing off a Detroit power play. When the Lightning got a power play of their own with Ericsson in the box for tripping, Marty St. Louis got them on the board by tapping a Teddy Purcell pass into the net. Steven Stamkos tied the game with scant seconds left to play in the period, scoring on a bad angle shot from near the side of the net while Vincent Lecavalier screened Jimmy Howard. Shots in the second were 6-5 in favor of Tampa Bay.

3rd period: This was a more evenly matched period in play, but Detroit’s goaltending carried away the honors. Tomas Holmstrom broke the tie by redirecting a Nicklas Lidstrom power play shot. (The classic Homer goal!) Darren Helm added an insurance goal by taking a nice pass from Jakub Kindl on his skate, kicking it up to his stick, and flipping it past Roloson. The Red Wings had a 4 minute power play late in the game with Lecavalier out for high sticking Bertuzzi, but the Lightning went all out with offensive pressure. This was when Howard had to be at his best, absolutely robbing Matt Gilroy on a breakaway with a quick glove save and staying solid through the mad scramble that followed. Shots in the third were 12-9 in Detroit’s favor.

Notes: Holmstrom’s power play goal was the 116th of his career, moving him past Brendan Shanahan for 5th all time in Red Wings power play scoring.

Next game: Detroit will travel to Buffalo to play the Sabres, 7:30 PM Friday.

Game Recap: Red Wings 4, Predators 1

The Red Wings extended their winning streak to five games with a dominant 4-1 win over Nashville, but may have lost Patrick Eaves to a possible concussion.

First period: Unlike what we’ve seen many times in back to back games which include a road trip, the Wings came out strong from the start (instead of taking half a period or so to get their skating legs back under them). Valtteri Filppula opened the scoring with a gorgeous power play goal, taking a rebound off Todd Bertuzzi’s shot, spinning around, and backhanding it high over Pekka Rinne. Nashville had an almost-goal which looked like it was millimeters from crossing the line, but referee Dan O’Halloran ruled it no goal. Shots at the end of the period were 14 to 3 in Detroit’s favor. So, yeah, no road trip sluggishness there.

Second period: Henrik Zetterberg put Detroit up by two with a patient play, keeping possession of the puck behind the net, skating it out front, and waiting for Rinne to commit to a low save before shooting it high. Jiri Hudler and Filppula had the assists. Filppula added his second of the night shortly thereafter by deflecting Jakub Kindl’s point shot. The goal was originally credited to Hudler, but review determined that the puck was tipped first by Hudler then by Filppula before it went past Rinne. Shots in the second period were 11 to 5 in favor of the Wings.

Third period: Danny Cleary gave Detroit a 4-0 lead when he and Darren Helm rushed the net. Helm stole the puck from a Nashville defender and tossed it to Cleary, who tapped it past Rinne. The Predators ended Jimmy Howard’s shutout bid at 5:34 of the third when Jack Hillen scored from Colin Wilson and Martin Erat. Shots in the third were 12 to 11 in favor of Detroit.

Patrick Eaves was injured late in the game when a rising shot by rookie Roman Josi struck him in the side of the head. Eaves collapsed on the ice. The medical team brought out a stretcher, and Eaves was actually able to move up to it partially under his own power. Eaves was definitely cut, probably from where the puck knocked his helmet into his skin. He was taken to the Detroit Medical Center for further tests and observation. Josi apologized to Eaves as the stretcher was wheeled out. “I felt bad,” Josi told FOX Sports Detroit after the game. “I said that to him and he said it’s all right and he’s going to be fine.”

Can I just say, I love seeing athletes demonstrate class like this? Everyone knows it’s a dangerous sport and you run plenty of risks by playing, but I think it shows a wonderful lack of entitlement when someone is hurt and the person who accidentally caused it apologizes. And also when the person who is hurt graciously accepts the apology.

Next game: The Red Wings host their legendary captain’s new team when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit on Wednesday, 11/30/11. (TV: FOX Sports Detroit. Radio: 97.1 The Ticket.)

Notes: Mike Babcock adjusted the lines this game by putting Hudler on the second line with Zetterberg and Filppula and having Cleary play the third line with Helm and Eaves. I think we can safely say it was a successful game for both lines.

Recap: Wings 3, Bruins 2 (SO)

Detroit heads home now on a four game win streak having snapped Boston’s ten game streak with shootout goals by Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.

First period: The Wings looked, quite honestly, flat. At one point Boston had outshot them 11-2. Jimmy Howard was absolutely outstanding to keep the game scoreless, and Valtteri Filppula gave the Wings a 1-0 lead on a pretty tap-in off a Henrik Zetterberg pass. The Bruins generated some intense play, but Howard held them off.

Second period: Detroit looked far better in the second. Puck possession, intensity, and energy were all better. Daniel Paille scored for Boston after intercepting an errant Howard pass intended for Jonathan Ericsson, but Datsyuk regained the lead within 35 seconds with a perfectly Datsyukian goal: he took a pass from Bertuzzi (and that pass deserves praise for The Todd’s veteran patience to get a clear passing lane), went stick to skate to stick and flipped the puck past Tuukka Rask. Lots of high intensity, end to end play for both teams in the second. This is probably exactly what the NHL was hoping for with a nationally broadcast game. That’s edge of your seat hockey, there!

Third period: The game tempo slowed down a bit, but both teams still played with some intensity. Zetterberg made a rare defensive error and turned the puck over to Rich Peverley in the slot, allowing the Bruins to tie the game at two. Danny Cleary had an excellent chance to regain the lead late in the period, but the puck rang off the post and Rask cleared it away.

Overtime: Howard made the save of the game on a point blank shot by Peverley.

Shootout: Tyler Seguin‘s shot was gloved by Howard. Datsyuk scored a relatively plain shot on Rask (who was probably expecting to be deked out of his shorts). Howard stopped Peverley. Jiri Hudler (?????? WHY is Hudler in the shootout????) took a weak shot which was stopped by Rask. Nathan Horton put one past Howard. Bertuzzi sealed the win with one of those lovely fancy showoff shootout goals he’s so known for, and the Wings skate off with two points.

Next game: The Wings host the Nashville Predators Saturday night at the Joe at 7 pm. Note the early start time– 7, not 7:30. See you tomorrow, hockey fans (and people who are reading this because you’re related to me)!

Note: If you’re trying to write a game recap while your spouse is in the same room looking at the Gallery of Regrettable Food, it may take longer than usual to get the recap done. Just so you know.

Quick Recap: Wings 5, Flames 3

Tomas Holmstrom had a two goal night and Ian White picked up a goal and two assists to help lead the Wings over the Flames 5-3.

Homer opened the scoring on a power play 6:14 into the game, but Jarome Iginla tied it up just 44 seconds into the second period. The Flames took a brief lead with Brendan Morrison‘s goal at 2:56, but White spoiled things for the Flames and tied the game back up less than five minutes later.

Holmstrom regained the lead for Detroit at 2:42 of the third with a power play set up by Pavel Datsyuk. Olli Jokinen brought the Flames back into it with a power play goal of their own at 5:06, but Jay Bouwmeester promptly proceeded to score two goals. Against his own team. Datsyuk’s attempted pass to Henrik Zetterberg was kicked into the net by Bouwmeester, and Valtteri Filppula took a shot a short time later which would have probably gone wide of the net had Bouwmeester not accidentally tipped it past Miikka Kiprusoff.

Oops.

Next game: Friday 11/25 at Boston, 1 PM start. This one is on NBC, not Fox Sports Detroit, so be prepared for an afternoon of listening to Doc Emrick say “DRRRRIIIIIVE!” every time someone takes a slapshot and watching Pierre Maguire be a creeper to the players and coaches on the benches.

Still better than Black Friday shopping, though. WAY better.

Notes: Mark Howe and Mickey Redmond were honored before tonight’s game for their inductions into the Hall of Fame… With White back in the lineup and Brad Stuart able to play, Brendan Smith was returned to the Griffins… This was Nicklas Lidstrom‘s 1514th career game, tying him with Steve Yzerman for 3rd all time for number of games played as a Red Wing.