Detroit welcomes one of the best team in the entire NHL in the San Jose Sharks and that means lots of intensity and energy and action we’re amped to play this one right?
Meh. Detroit came out icing the puck every 2 or 3 minutes. At the midway point of the game they had 7 shots on goal. Seven. Very little going on in the offensive zone.
It was also the debut of Xavier Ouellet ,who is from France so I’m pretty sure his name probably sounds more like Zovyay Woahyay than it sounds like Eckzavier Wallette, which is how it’ll be pronounced here because North Americans are cool like that. So sorry if that is annoying, expecially if you’re into schemantics on pronounciation, but I guess it’s a mute point.
Anyway, the kid played well. A defensive lineup of Quincey-DeKeyser, Lashoff-Kindl, and Wallette-Smith looks pretty terrifying on paper when facing the highest powered offense in the league. Nothing really offensively going on for the entire game and after two periods of playing mostly around Jimmy’s net, the third was controlled much more by Detroit but they couldn’t cash in on their powerplay late in the game. Nor could we cash in on a streaking Brendan Smith set up by a perfect pass from Zetterberg on that powerplay's delayed call, because Smith clanged iron and rather than celebrate a game winning goal he laughed about hitting the damn post. Like a bastard.
(thanks to @Whoabot for the photo)
Overtime was a bit more open but still seemed to lack intensity. So off to the shootout, which saw Pavel Valerievich uncharacteristically miss an open net on his backhand as it dribbled off his stick; his linemate the old goat get denied five-hole; and lastly Bertuzzi with an amazing move and a great shot but Niemi with a circus save, kicking up the leg to block it. That will surely make the highlight reels.
NOHS Three Stars
1st Star – Jimmy Howard. Much better, not letting in any softies, playing the puck well, and allowing zero goals through regulation and overtime. Nice work, James.
2nd Star – Tomas Tatar. Okay, maybe I’m biased because I want to keep the kid in the lineup but I really enjoy seeing him on the ice. He has great hands, and with little ice-time he uses it wisely, heading to the net everytime he has the puck and is not shy about shooting. He hit, he was fast, he dangled, he took it to the net, and did everything short of jamming one home. Hope he stays.
3rd Star – Danny DeKeyser. Very strong game from the kid, and in fact from all the young defenecmen. Very little experience in this game, I think Ken and Mick said that 4 of the 6 d-men on the ice had a combined 150 total NHL games under their collective belts, and they all played well. But Danny shot the puck well, pinched in a timely manner, and when I’m used to seeing Jumbo, Joe Pavelski, Marleau, Couture, and guys like that own our below the goal line and get tons of shots and chances, they seemed to be pretty well nullified and it looked like DeKeyser was super calm under pressure.
Honourable Mention – Exavier Wallette. He too was calm under that annoyingly heavy forecheck from the Sharks. Looked very good in his debut. And was one of the first Wings in recent memory who didn’t score in his NHL debut. So I’m glad I didn’t pick him up in my fantasy league.
Anything Else? Sure. 0 goals our last 5 periods, 5 minutes of 4-on-4 OT, and 3 shootout attempts. Gotta fix this shit before it starts to weigh in on our “confidence” or whatever people say when they start to suck at scoring. Good penalty killing though, that was something that went fairly well. Was good to see us win defensive zone faceoffs when it mattered.