This is the type of performance a lot of us expected from the Red Wings when the season started. Good offense, shaky defense, and timely stops by Howard. Early in the first I really thought this was going to be a blowout. Detroit went an entire 1:30 of a 5 on 3 without a shot. Meanwhile, the Wild were playing solid puck possession hockey and peppering Howard with shots.
Howard stood tall, though, and the Wings took over in the second. Kind of. We’ll discuss that after the jump.
Continue reading for the full recap:
There were a few instances where the Wild were able to get back into the game because our defense would make a bad play. Tonight it was mostly Kindl. Quincey had a better game, but still needs work. He finished +2. Smith played well, but he kept pinching in late in the third when the Wings were holding a 2 goal lead. I like the killer instinct, but if he had gotten caught, the last 2 minutes of the game could have been really intense. Lashoff continues to impress. Huskins had 7 blocks.
Bertuzzi had a really good game tonight. 2 goals and a lot of chances, but he also played with a chip on his shoulder. He was in the faces of Suter and Heatley at times, probably because they had inquired about ping pong lessons. I’m thinking the answer was ‘no.’ Also, on Bert’s second goal, he garbbed Pavel’s sexy face and it looked like he was about to shove his tongue down his throat, he was so happy. I wouldn’t blame him, but it hit me that that’s probably how Bert got mono.
Brunner (Broooooooonner) is good at hockey. Have you noticed?
Mule was out on the PK some tonight. I was surprised, but even more surprised when I saw his legs pumping. He was finishing checks tonight, too, and did a great job in front of the net on Pav’s GWG.
Filppula had 3 assists tonight. That surprised me because I didn’t really notice Val. We’ll take it though.
What a difference a Helm makes. Like Mick said during the game, whenever he’s on the ice, the game speeds up. I would go as far to say that the Wings lose tonight if Helm sits. It seemed at times that he was the only player who could disrupt the Wild power play. Without Helm out there, they probably score more with the man advantage.
Emmerton showed some hustle out there and played physical. I don’t know that he’s a better option than Eaves, but he hasn’t cost the Wings yet, so that’s good.
The crowd booed Suter and Parise, two players who have never played for us or put cheap shots on any of our guys. I’m cool with this, but only this year. After that, move on.
NOHS Three Stars of the Game:
First Star: Pavel Datsyuk. 1G 2A tonight. His goal was a laser beam of a shot and his two assists were such perfect passes, even Manti Te’o wanted to kiss him.
Second Star: Hank and Brunner: The chemistry is more and more evident as these two play together. Brunner scored the goal that got things going for the Wings and Hank finished with a goal and an assist. Hank also played hard from start to finish and seemed to inspire some of the other stars.
Third Star: Todd Bertuzzi and Darren Helm. Their first games back and both made a huge impact. Good to see.
I’ll close with this thought: In the third period, Jordin Tootoo destroyed a guy (I forget who) and then did everything he could to put himself in a vulnerable spot in order to tempt him into taking a retaliation penalty. He took a pretty good slash but the ref didn’t play ball. That type of sacrifice is huge. If you hadn’t noticed that, don’t worry, his teammates sure as hell did. Welcome to Detroit, Tootoo.
Next game is Sunday against some team I’ve never heard of. They play in Illinois or something. Whatever.