Thanksgiving Goal Feast As Red Wings Rally To Top Devils 5-4 in Shootout


The Detroit Red Wings’ visit to the Prudential Center had all the makings of a real Black Friday after the team fell behind 4-1 to the New Jersey Devils just seconds into the second period. But whatever Mike Babcock said to his players during the first intermission must have connected with them.

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On a night of firsts — including Xavier Ouellet‘s first NHL goal and Petr Mrazek‘s first time in a shootout for the Red Wings — Detroit managed to battle all the way back, scoring three straight goals and netting the only time in the shootout to secure a 5-4 come from behind victory.

Mrazek appeared to be having a night to forget as he was scored on early. Old foe (in more than one way) Jaromir Jagr jumped on a rebound that Mrazek failed to corral, poking it home to give the hosts a quick 1-0 lead at 2:18 of the opening frame.

The Red Wings tied it quickly on a power play goal eventually credited to Riley Sheahan. But the Devils pulled away with their own power play tally by Mike Cammalleri and a rare goal by defenseman Peter Harrold to take a 3-1 lead intot he first break.

Cammalleri struck again on a man advantage that carried over into the second period, smoking a one-timer by Mrazek from the right circle. Yet Ouellet was able to open his NHL goal-scoring account just 1:27 later after some strong work behind the New Jersey net by Stephen Weiss, and Detroit took the play to New Jersey most of the middle frame, earning every bit of a 17-6 advantage in shots.

When Justin Abdelkader finished off some superb passing on the power play with his seventh of the season to cut the lead to 4-3, it seemed like only a matter of time before the Red Wings evened things up. And while the Devils clamped things down on defense to start the third, Drew Miller found himself in the right place to slam home a rebound and knot the contest at 4-4 with just under 10 minutes left in regulation.

Mrazek finally held up his end of the deal, making a sweeping poke check to stop a clear scoring chance on a New Jersey 2-on-1 break. Both teams had some odd man rushed in the closing minutes, but overtime held little drama, and a game between two teams not known for their shootout prowess ended up in one anyway.

Cory Schneider made stops on both Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar, but Gustav Nyquist — the team leader in goals but just 1-for-8 in shootouts entering the night — rifled one in to give the Wings the lead. Mrazek shut the door on Jacob Josefson, Cammalleri and Michael Ryder in succession, and the two points, improbably, went to Detroit.

That’s not the way Babcock will want his team to win games, but at least the Red Wings didn’t fold after going down by three. The team will return home to finish off this holiday weekend by hosting the Vancouver Canucks in the first of four straight at Joe Louis Arena, a title that will no doubt require a more consistent effort from beginning to end. Still,two points is two points, and Detroit is finding ways as of late to make sure it grabs them.

The game was over when …

Mrzaek didn’t let the early goals completely mess with his head. He made some solid stops after letting in the fourth goal, though his rebound control continued to make for some adventurous situations. Most importantly, he looked very much at ease during the shootout, particularly when deflecting Cammalleri’s hard shot with his blocker hand.

The unsung Red Wings hero was …

Danny DeKeyser, for sure. The defenseman barely made it into the box score at all, but he made two huge plays to prevent golden scoring opportunities while the Red Wings were still trailing. If not for those plays (one of which was probably a penalty, but oh well!), there’s no comeback.

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