In the last game before the Olympic Break and the 6,000th Red Wings game, the stakes were a little higher. In a bid for a playoff position, the Red Wings needed every point they could. Unfortunately, it played out like a next-goal-wins kind of game, and the Tampa Bay Lightning won that battle.
The first period gave us some of the best hockey we’ve seen out of the Red Wings in a long time–at least for first period play. Daniel Alfredsson struck first, taking the Red Wings up 1-0 with an assist by Pavel Datsyuk. It was Datsyuk’s 800th point and helped Alfredsson pass Nicklas Lidstrom for second-most in points for any Swedish born NHL-er, trailing Mats Sundin.
The second period showed the strength of our young guns. Ondrej Palat scored just over a minute into the period to tie the game at 1-1. Tomas Jurco had an absolute beauty of a goal to give the Red Wings a 2-1 lead halfway through the period. Had he been playing a game of Posts out on my ice rink, it would have gotten his team two points (top back bar to side bar and out, very impressive). The line of Jurco, Tomas Tatar, and Riley Sheahan looked so darn fantastic, there’s no better way to describe it.
But the period tapered off with a goal by Tom Pyatt with less than three to go and those last minutes had the Red Wings looking like they just wanted the period to end.
The third started out a little lackluster but immediately gained steam. Again the young guns were dominant, and Tatar and Henrik Zetterberg had a good chance on a two-on-one with seven to go in the period, but Tatar shot it wide.
The Game Was Over When…
Alex Killorn scored with three minutes to go in the third period to take the lead for the Lightning. The Red Wings completely crumbled and even when they pulled Jimmy Howard, they couldn’t keep control in the Lightning’s zone
Howard was playing at the top of his game all three periods. He had a huge glove save shorthanded against the Lightning during the third period and a couple good saves at the end of the second period kept the game tied. He kept his cool even after the third goal by the Lightning and the penalty shot attempt by Nikita Kucherov. Howard is now 11 for 16 all time in penalty shot saves.
Under-appreciated Line of the Game
With Toronto’s win against the Vancouver Canucks Saturday evening, the Leafs are 6 points up on the Red Wings, but the Wings still have three games at hand.
Going into the Olympic Break, the Red Wings sit in a wild card spot in the playoff race. Their play in the last half dozen games has improved and they are in better shape than most fans anticipated.
So, a lackluster ending to the pre-Olympic part of the season, but much to look forward to on the other side. See you all in two weeks! Go enjoy some Olympic hockey. It’s going to be awesome.
(Bonus points if you get the reference in my title)