Six seconds in, I lost faith in Saturday night’s game.
Six minutes later, Pavel Datsyuk restored it, and led his team to a 5-2 beating of the Vancouver Canucks to make sure it never wavered again.
Yeah, there was bad to go along with the good. Detroit was, without a doubt, outplayed throughout the course of the game. But not anymore than a tired team on a road trip 3000 miles away from home should have been against a rested team at home. They were outshot as well, and if not for the solid play of Jimmy Howard, would have been outscored. The positives definitely outweighed the negatives, however; Pavel Datsyuk played possibly his best game of the year, Jimmy Howard stood on his head, Drew Miller looked good in a short stint playing next to Zetterberg and Filppula, the Wings scored their third road powerplay goal in as many games…the list goes on.
Sadly, I have to start with the bad. Alexandre Burrows scored a mere six seconds into the game off a beautiful pass from Daniel Sedin to give Vancouver the lead early. The first goal shook the Wings up a bit, and this was evident in the way they played back on their heels, victimized by the strong Canucks offense until Pavel Datsyuk knocked the puck in off of Justin Abdelkader‘s skate to tie it at one. Thanks to Jimmy Howard, that was the last of the scoring in the opening period – he made some absolutely inhuman saves, including a diving catch on a Daniel Sedin shot that BETTER end up on highlight reels over the next week.
The game remained scoreless (again, completely thanks to Jimmy Howard) until a Detroit powerplay near the end of the second period, when Henrik Zetterberg blasted in a one-timer off a perfect pass from – you guessed it, Datsyuk – to put the Wings up by one. The goal was Zetterberg’s first in 21 games, and hopefully sets a trend for him in the opposite direction; if Detroit wants to secure a playoff spot, they need production from their captain like they got tonight. Despite this goal, the Canucks continued to control the pace of the game in the second period – by the end of it, they were outshooting Detroit 25-17.
Thankfully, that trend did not continue, and the third period was all Red Wings. Zetterberg proved that his goalless streak is definitively over with another great one-timer that blew past Luongo, and Dan Cleary knocked a perfect shot in off the post to make the score 4-1. That wasn’t enough for Detroit though; after killing off a 1:27 long 5-on-3 Canucks powerplay, they got a fifth goal courtesy – AGAIN – of one Mr. Pavel Datsyuk, who used Abdelkader as a bumper for the second time tonight to make the score 5-1. Aside from a small hiccup in the form of another goal from Alexandre Burrows, that was the game.
Random notes, as always:
– Abdelkader and Zetterberg each finished with two goals (although Datsyuk should have gotten credit for both of Abby’s tallies. Datsyuk finished with three assists and the best game of his life, and Johan Franzen had two assists. Jimmy Howard played possibly his best game all season. This is what we need to win. We don’t need another top four defenseman or a top six winger. We just need to play. Also Darren Helm. We need him too.
– Brendan Smith may have finished without a point, but he’s really starting to come into his own as one of the better defensemen in the league. Can’t wait to see him pan out in the next few years.
– Filppula scored a point. Yawn. I still say 5+ million per season is too much.
Wow. Two comeback wins in two nights in Western Canada.
If this road trip is any indication, I think we have a really good shot at the playoffs, don’t you?
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