Pucks smacking off posts and whistles blowing to call penalties were the main sounds of Monday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The game began much better that the Detroit Red Wings’ season opener. Of course, having Jordin Tootoo and Jared Boll fight three seconds into the game certainly gives a jump-start to things. The Red Wings looked more composed and much more in control from the very beginning. They even managed to get a power play just two and a half minutes into the game. But the team looked terrible, seeming to over-compensate for a lack of Nicklas Lidstrom. It wasn’t until the power play was almost over when they regained control.
The team’s second power play included three posts, and Sergei Bobrovsky standing on his head. The goalie made solid save after solid save.
If anyone put money on Brian Lashoff scoring the Red Wings first goal of the season, they are probably rolling around in a pile of money. The Grand Rapids Griffin was called up on short notice to fill in for Jonathan Ericsson, who injured his shoulder during practice and is out day-to-day. He literally drove a car down to Columbus to make the game and was put on the top defensive pair with Niklas Kronwall.
While the Red Wings defense was shaky on their defensive play (though not as bad as Saturday evening), their offensive output was phenomenal. They took a 2-0 lead with a goal by Ian White. But the 2-0 lead did not last and the Red Wings found themselves down 3-2 in the third period to Columbus.
Thankfully, the team kept plugging away. Pavel Datsyuk scored on a gorgeous pass from Niklas Kronwall. Kronwall looked much better on the blue line this evening, managing to hold pucks in at the line much like Lidstrom. Even Franzen did a good job going to the front of the net like Tomas Holmstrom and screening Bobrovsky.
And yet it all came down to a shootout. Cam Atkinson went first and scored for Columbus, but double-tapped his attempt, disallowing the goal. Pavel Datsyuk followed and hit the junction of the post and crossbar of the net. Arten Anisimov and Valtteri Filppula went second, both stopped by the respective goalies. Ryan Johansen shot third and attempted to go five-hole on Howard, but was shut down. Henrik Zetterberg was the third shooter and hit blocker.
The Red Wings take on the Dallas Stars for their home opener tomorrow night, not giving them much time to rest. Fans will be hoping to see a sixty-minute team that plays with all the heart of a Stanley Cup contender.
The game was over when…
The buzzer ended overtime. …And Brunner scored on his shootout attempt.
The unsung Red Wings hero was…
There were two! Firstly, Jordan Tootoo for firmly showing fans that he is a Red Wing. From starting a fight three seconds into the game to sticking up for Brendan Smith, he did what he was signed in the off-season to do: Get the last word on the ice.
But most importantly, Patrick Eaves was a true hero. Monday night’s game was his first game back after being sidelined for fourteen months with concussion-like symptoms after taking a Roman Josi slap shot to the face. it was wonderful to see the familiar #17 back on the ice. And his presence on the penalty kill will greatly boost the state of the Red Wings’ special teams.