Detroit headed into this one with a strategy. The Wings were going to play a rough, grinding game in hopes of trying to keep things slow, lean on Howard to stop a lot of shots and get a few bounces past the Blues. Unfortunately, none of that materialized. The Wings weren’t completely lifeless, but they spent most of the evening in their own zone and the few opportunities they had didn’t result in much more than shots that missed the net.
Howard lost track of the puck behind the net early in the first, and Mangus Paajarvi was all to happy to slip it by him. As the puck went behind the net, Howard took a chance and repositioned himself. While he did so, Paajarvi grabbed the puck and slipped it between his right leg and the post. Howard honestly should have been able to keep track of this one, and taking his eye off the puck cost him big time. It’s the typical pull-your-hair-out style of Jimmy Howard, making saves he has no business making but getting beat by really simple shots.
Detroit hung in this one through the first as Zetterberg was cross-checked by Roman Polak. In the ensuing power play, Gustav Nyquist picked up a rebound, scored his first regular season PPG and proceeded to make that one guy that wrote about him today look like a real idiot.
St. Louis outshot Detroit in almost every period, especially so in the first period (18-7). I don’t care how good your team is, winning is almost impossible when you get outshot like that. With as banged up as the Wings have been, victory against a team like the Blues in this situation just might be impossible.
The Red Wings paid dearly for their penalties tonight, with Barret Jackman scoring St. Louis’ 2nd goal on the power play early in the 2nd period. Kevin Shattenkirk got one past Howard on the power play as well, both courtesy of screens preventing Howard from seeing the puck. Detroit was also rather inept offensively in the 2nd, have 1:30 of a 5 on 3 power play and still failing to convert. The Wings weren’t without their occasional opportunities but never having quite enough to turn the tide.
Petr Mrazek took over for Jimmy Howard in net with 9:16 left in the second. At this point, the Blues were outshooting the Wings 25-11, so Howard deserved a break, although I suspected a groin injury. Mickey Redmond gave us the pleasant image of Howard having the flu, however, and what possible things could come from an upset stomach. Imagine having to remove all that goalie equipment! It was announced during 2nd intermission that Howard had a lower-body injury and would not return. This did nothing to disperse the speculation that Howard desperately needed Pepto Bismol.
Detroit showed signs of life to start the third period. These signs of life were quickly snubbed out by a Jay Bouwmesster shot that went off Riley Sheahan’s backside before making it’s way into the net. The shot may have summarized the entire game for the Red Wings. Detroit got a few shots on goal occasionally but spent so much time in their own zone that by the time they could generate anything offensively the entire line was out of gas. Detroit would go down in this effort 4-1 after being outshot 39-23. All things considered, it could have been a lot worse.
Underrated Player of the Game
Darren Helm. The man has played in just 17 of the Wings last 125 games (including playoffs) but he brought energy and fight to a team that desperately needed it tonight.
The Blues are a fantastic team this year and there isn’t much shame in losing to them, just maybe not this way. The Wings aren’t in a position where they can afford to lose too many more games like this before they dig themselves a hole they can’t climb out of in the standings. Hopefully they have a chance to redeem themselves Wednesday night…
*sees that the next game is against Chicago*
Oh come on!!!