Frustrating to not get a point out of the comeback effort, but when you fall behind by 3 early, it’s tough to win games.
Kessel’s penalty shot look sort of legit. I’m basing that entirely off of Lidstrom getting called for brushing the lint off of Toews’ sweater last week. So, if the NHL wants a stick lift or an elbow tap to result in a penalty shot, fine. Just call it that way consistently. (Spoiler alert: They won’t.)
Like it or not, Toronto just had more speed than Detroit in the first period. They got to the loose pucks and put themselves in a position to score their goals.
A box score journalist would tell you that Howard had a bad night. Anyone who watched the game knows he made huge saves to keep the Wings in it early. He plays with a ton of pride. With the Wings down 3-0, he’s making diving saves out there. He could have thrown in the towel and charted faceoffs while Conklin got shelled the rest of the night, but Howard just hates to fail. You can see it in his eyes when he gets scored on or when someone runs him. Glad he’s ours.
Is there a better fourth line in the NHL? Those guys had Toronto pinned in their own zone like they were superstars. They cycled the puck well, chased down loose pucks and generated a ton of energy for the rest of the team.
Hudler was taking a beating late in the game and gave the Leafs defender a bunch of cross-checks as a thank you. Good to see. Early in his career I used to be worried that Hudler would get tossed around by bigger players, but that hasn’t been the case.
NOHS Three Stars:
First Star: Pavel Datsyuk. He had a lot of speed the final 40 minutes of the game, plus he back checked when needed and prevented a few chances for the Leafs.
Second Star: Fourth Line. No points, but so much energy. Gustav Nyquist is going to be a beast when he’s put on an actual scoring line.
Third Star: James Howard. 4 goals against, but so many huge saves to keep it close. Hard to fault him on most of them.
NOHS Favorite Moment of the Game: I don’t really have one. It was a frustrating loss. I guess seeing Hudler gripe at anyone wearing stripes after they blew the icing call late in the game was funny. He’s small, but he’s bad. Don’t cross him!
Next game is against a bunch of amateurs. Puck drops at 7:30 EST.