The energy was high from the start. The Red Wings looked revved up and ready to go. They had an early power play that kept them in Edmonton’s zone for a solid bit of time. But they failed to convert on the opportunity, and spent much of the second half in their own zone fending off Oilers chances. Kyle Quincey nailed the post with three minutes to go and Damien Brunner had a solid backhand chance that Devan Dubnyk stopped with a pad save.
Just over three minutes into the second, after a fight between Mike Brown and Jordin Tootoo, Jakub Kindl scored to make it 1-0. Barely a minute later, the Red Wings charged into the Oilers’ zone with a near tic-tac-toe play between Brunner, Henrik Zetterberg, and Niklas Kronwall.
The place buzzed yet again when Cory Emmerton had two solid chances on Dubnyk and somehow failed to get anything past the goaltender. He got his just rewards ten minutes later when he was wide open in the middle of the ice and received a perfect pass from Drew Miller. It resulted in a beautiful bar down goal that he more than deserved. Johan Franzen hit the crossbar on the following shift – had he scored, fans would be happy to see him get two goals in two consecutive games. The Red Wings finally seemed to find some consistency with their playing.
The third period showed a much more controlled, more consistent Red Wings team, something fans have been waiting to see for quite some time. Even if shots were in Edmonton’s favor, the defensive corps locked down and held tight. The past few games for the Red Wings have been 2-1 finishes (both wins and losses), so the last four minutes of the period were nail-biting. Both Franzen and Brunner tried for empty net goals, but missed.
But it was Justin Abdelkader who recorded the empty net goal to seal the victory, his first goal of the season. Maybe it will get him out of his slump, maybe not; regardless, it was nice to see the Michigan native finally get a goal – his first in thirty seven games.
Overall, the game showed a more disciplined team, with the only penalty being taken by Edmonton (minus the fighting penalties taken by Tootoo and Brown). Jimmy Howard has only let in four regulation goals in his past four games. Not bad for a guy who seems to be carrying the Red Wings team more than he probably should.
The Game Was Over When…
Cory Emmerton scored the second goal of the game. The rookie called up from the Grand Rapids Griffins earned that goal, playing his heart out the whole night. He has proved that he deserves a permanent place on this roster next season.
The Unsung Red Wings Hero Was…
The defensemen of the Red Wings. They’ll be unsung for the entire season, don’t get me wrong, but they were on fire tonight. Kronwall blocked shots, Brendan Smith had solid outlet passes, Brian Lashoff looked more like a veteran than a temporary call-up. And they converged around Howard to help him preserve his shutout.