Much like yesterday’s game tonight’s game in Detroit featured a late personnel change for the Red Wings just before puck-drop as Todd Bertuzzi was a late scratch with the flu and was replaced by Joakim Andersson. Unlike yesterday’s game tonight’s match featured a much more furious pace in the opening minutes of play. Both teams battled through a few puck-handling mistakes early on as they went end to end on each other. It wasn’t until around six minutes into the opening period when Jimmy Howard made a huge sprawling save on a shot by Kyle Brodziak that the Detroit loyal began to get loud and started to show some emotion. Halfway through the first twenty minutes Minnesota was getting the better scoring chances against the Red Wings.
The Red Wings got the first power-play of the game after Brendan Smith showed his agitation skills by getting under the skin of Charlie Coyle and drawing a cross checking penalty. Detroit’s power-play unit got things going quickly again tonight with Gustav Nyquist picking up a rebound and putting a puck off of and behind Bryzgalov to go up 1-0. Not long after Nyquist’s goal Minnesota was giving their first power-play opportunity after David Legwand was questionably called for goaltender interference after driving hard to the net. The Wings were able to kill the Legwand penalty and go up 2-0 before the end of the first-period after Gustav Nyquist scored his second goal of the game after undressing Bryzgalov on a beautiful breakaway made possible by a Tomas Tatar shot block.
Just under 12 minutes into the second-period Kyle Quincey was penalized for Interference against Charlie Coyle which led to a quick power-play goal by Minnesota scoring leader Jason Pominville. The Wings had another chance on the power-play shortly afterwards but were unable to capitalize and they never really got any momentum going during the remainder of the second-period.
The Red Wings continued their streak of rough starting third-periods tonight by allowing two Minnesota goals in the first 6 minutes of play. The Wild dominated the first half of the final period by pinning Detroit into their own zone with strong puck possession play. Despite the two goals Jimmy Howard fought hard and put forth a strong effort during the Minnesota offensive onslaught. After Zach Parise scored the Wild’s 3rd goal Coach Babcock wisely chose to slow things down and use his timeout.
The timeout seemed to work as the Wings began to get their game back and get some momentum going. The “kid line” stepped it up and you could almost see Tomas Tatar’s game-tying-goal right before it happened. Tatar hustled through the middle of the ice and scored on a beauty of a wrist shot with a nice assist from Brendan Smith. Pierre aptly called the whole setup a “great hockey play”. The high from Tatar’s goal was short-lived though as less than a minute later Brian Lashoff shot the puck out of play over the glass and went to the box for two minutes. Once again Detroit’s penalty-kill unit was forced to step up late in a game and thanks to some great play by Helm and Miller the Wings were able to kill the penalty. The final minutes of regulation were intense and both teams earned a much-needed point by ending sixty minutes of play in a tie game.
It was a tough loss considering how well the Wings have played lately but it wasn’t a complete loss. Detroit still earned a valuable point while fellow Wild Card hopefuls Toronto and Columbus both lost earlier in the day. The Wings never gave up and fought hard until the end against a Minnesota team who played well. If Detroit could have put up more than 16 shots on Mr. Universe I believe it would have been a different outcome but there’s no time to dwell on what could have been. There’s still a lot of work to be done by Babs and the boys.
So sleep well Hockeytown and don’t stop believing.
Tags: Detroit Red Wings