Firing on (Nearly) All Cylinders

“It was a pretty fast, pretty intense game. Detroit’s always impressive. I was impressed with the way we battled today. We earned a tough point. It certainly wasn’t easy, getting down 1-0, but the way games are going right now, it’s so, so tight.” – Todd Richardson, Head Coach of the Minnesota Wild via the Free Press.

It looks like Drew Miller just told Dirty Bert a new “dead baby” joke…

Detroit fired 39 shots at Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom and only managed to squeak one by him.  Lidstrom’s 12th goal came early in the third period – which was his first tally in over 20 games.  Lidstrom, who looked as if he was going to shatter his career-high in goals (20), will be lucky to make that mark now.  But despite the lack of offense on Hockey Day in America, the Wings extended their winning streak to five games.  Detroit now finds itself only five points behind Vancouver for top spot in the West – and with a game in-hand, too.

“We did a lot of things well. Went with four lines the majority of the game, and guys were getting into it and creating good chances. Howie was really good for us.” –Kris Draper

Howard is definitely looking to improve his .908 save percentage and 2.76 goals against average – both of which are a far cry from the top of the league as Jimmah was last season.  The stress of not having Chris Osgood as back-up tender has been lessened slightly due to Jimmah’s improved performance.  But Ozzie will be back soon, along with some other friendly faces.

Mike Modano is aiming for this Saturday to return to the lineup, and Valtteri Filppula should be back even before then.  Holmstrom has been playing since coming back from his broken hand, but his role has been limited – as time goes on and his hand continues to heal, Homer will be back on the top line making goalies miserable for more than ten or so minutes per night.

The Wings are gaining ground on the ‘Nucks and putting distance between themselves and the Central once more…and they’re doing it at about 90% of the roster they started the season with.  Once we’re back up to full-strength – look for them to make a push for that President’s Trophy.

We go for six in a row tomorrow against The Seafood.