16 straight wins at home! Wings started the game slow and it nearly cost them. Playing down to your apponent will come back to bite you at some point. (It already did against the Islanders) Still, the worst team in the NHL won’t be in the Stanley Cup Finals, so that’s a plus.
Jump for the full recap:
The Blue Jackets were the better team in the first. Detroit had few chances and few shots. Howard’s first goal against was terrible. He missed catching it by about a foot, took his eye off the puck and it went straight to the open forward.
It seemed to me that Franzen was asleep out there. He missed a wide open Pavel a few times, gave the puck away at the blueline and was easily checked off the puck.
Lidstrom’s goal was epic. I believe he was setting Homer up for a deflection, but if he came out and said that he banked it in on purpose, I’d believe it. Wouldn’t be the first amazing goal he’s scored.
Zetterberg’s major penalty: I think we’ll end up seeing a lot of this hit and will discuss it further, but I didn’t like the call. All Hank did was put his hand on Nikita Nikitin, who then lost an edge and fell awkwardly into the boards. It’s unfortunate that Nikitin was hurt and I hope he has a speedy recovery, but the call was lame. The last time Hank put his hand on a guy’s back, it was in Vancouver. That was when Jannik Hansen plowed into Howard and Edler scored into the empty net. So the solution, Hank, is to not touch anyone. It’s a full contact sport; just don’t touch anyone. Here’s the video of Hank’s major penalty if you missed it:
Speaking of full contact: I’ve had it with every player on the ice getting a free shot on Holmstrom after the whistle. I’ve actually been tired of it for longer, but you know… Anyways, he has to be one of the most mentally tough forwards in hockey to take the abuse he takes and not do anything about it. If I was Holmstrom, I wouldn’t have lasted a month before losing my mind and decking someone. Probably the ref that allowed it to happen. But that’s just me.
The Wings picked up the play as the game went on and were dangerous in OT. Mule suddenly woke up once it was 4 on 4. He’s clutch, but I wish he’d remember that first period goals count the same as OT goals.
Howard was great in the shootout. He only had to make 3 saves since Nash lost the puck, but he just stayed with each shooter and shut the door. Sanford was also good, but Val was better. Hudler’s slapshot was a mistake. I think he’s scored that way before, but like we’ve said here: Sometimes the worst thing you can do is catch a fish.
NOHS Three Stars of the Game:
First Star: Valtteri Filppula. 1 assist and the winning goal in the shootout. We all asked if this would be his breakout year and for the 40th or so time this year he has show the answer to be ‘yes.’
Second Star: Kronwall. 1 goal and 1 assist in the game. Lidstrom will never be replaced (because he’ll never leave!) but it helps to have talented guys liike Kronwall to soften the blow when he does. (He won’t!)
Third Star: Lidstrom. 1 goal, billiards style. That was enough for me.
NOHS Favorite Moment of the Game:
Right after Pavel Datsyuk was almost taken out by a knee-on-knee play, Murph exclaimed: “I would rather the guy hit me in the head with his stick than take out my knee!” to which Ken said nothing and Mick lol’d. Mick kept trying to pick what joke he wanted to make, but it was too much, so he just laughed more. So did I.
Next game is against the Blues. It’s in Detroit, so the puck will drop at 7:30 EST. This is a huge game and it must be won in regulation by the good guys.