Wings 4, Sharks 2
Edit 7:22AM Sat.: I'm not sure how I forgot this the other day, but I think the most important thing to be gleaned from this game is that I never need to hear "Joe Thornton's going to feed him a juicy one from back there" ever ever again.
Sorry this is late - I was iffy on staying up for the game at all since I had a monster Japanese test this morning, and even after I decided I would I was stymied by my computer overheating midway through the second and wrecking all my game notes to that point. And because of that, sorry if this is a little choppy - if I miss anything, Chisty (here at Winging it in Motown) and Matt (here at On the Wings) have my back, I'm sure.
We were told at the beginning of the game that despite the buzz about injuries to Nick Lidstrom (ribs) and Henrik Zetterberg (hip flexor), both would be playing - good news for us, especially since Zetterberg went on to continue his point streak at 8 games - a career best for him.
The first period was frustrating, and looked a bit bleak, with a penalty right off the bat leading to Mike Grier scoring the first goal and giving the Sharks their only lead of the night. The penalties continued and the wings spent 6 minutes on the PK in the first period, but the worst penalty-related issue of the game was the non-call on Kyle McLaren and his dumb yellow visor, who rode Dallas Drake into the boards before he even touched the puck. Drake immediately left the ice and was taken to the dressing room at the end of the game. He didn't return, and will be tested today to see just what the extent of he injury is. McLaren made his presence known again later in a fight with Aaron Downey, who's quickly becoming popular in Detroit. The announcers commented that it was nice to see him take his helmet off to make it a fair fight - something we've been seeing a bit too little of lately. Downey ends up shirtless in the penalty box (hmm, I don't think "Aaron Downey shirtless" is going to garner too may google hits yet...but I'll restate it just the same), and we're treated to an example of just how easily the new RBK jerseys do indeed tear. We're informed that "The Wings do carry an extra set of jerseys on the road...we think." Well they did - apparently they learned from Ottawa's mistake.
It was a good night for Red Wings defense, with Nik Kronwall notching his first goal of the season to tie the game at one, Brian Rafalski picking up three assists on the evening, and Andreas Lilja even playing well - maybe he's heard the buzz about his actions as of late, because he certainly showed up, making two great shot-blocking plays and later on taking a really good penalty. Related to defense, Chris Osgood continues to look phenomenal - he looked extremely confident, coming far out of the net to play the puck a number of times, and stopped 23 of 25 shots including a few stand-out saves yet again, and has looked better thus far than Dominik Hasek, who is a notoriously slow starter and will hopefully pick his form back up soon.
The top line of Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Tomas Holmstrom continued its dominance, being responsible for two goals, the second and fourth. Their combined numbers this season? 13G, 19A and a +/- of 17. The third line also looked strong last night, despite Draper's goal streak coming to an end, but the second line - the Money Line, though I haven't heard them called that lately, of Valtteri Filppula, Jiri Hudler, and Tomas Kopecky needs to step it up. Filppula was projected to have a great season this year, but so far hasn't put any points up - as mentioned by the announcers (complete with a nice little squiggly line graph of just where his shooting lanes were), he needs to stop looking for the pass and shoot the puck more. Maybe he needs to have a chat with Ales Hemsky? He did get a really nice chance, but the goalpost denied him. "What does this kid have to do," the announcers asked, "to pick up a goal?" You and me both. The other goal came from the unlikely source of Matt Ellis, who captained the Grand Rapids Griffins this year (Kopy gave a nice interview on how Ellis used to yell at him and Hudler for playing ping-pong in the locker room before games). It was his first NHL goal, and Hudler scooped the puck out of the net for him to keep - no hard ping-pong feelings, I suppose.
Overall the game was good, despite the sketchy first period - both teams looked good, there was a substantial amount of scoring, some nice plays, and a fair share of scrums and pileups, and it ws great to see the Wings dominance of the Sharks continue past last season's playoffs.
The next game is against Phoenix Saturday evening at 10:00 PM. It's Homecoming weekend at Western and I have to work hockey tonight, football tomorrow afternoon, and volleyball in the evening, so I might not get a chance to see most of it. As always, BtJ, On the Wings, and Gorilla Crouch will have any news I can't get to. Tracy of True Coyote Love will be covering the game from the other side of the pond - hey Tracy, we're coming for you!
Around the League...
- The nhl.tv feature has been an interesting new addition to all the teams' websites, even if it's very hit or miss. (CapsChick has a great preview of highlights and lowlights). Of course I checked out the Wings' and more specifically the video highlights of practice the day of Henrik Zetterberg's (who does, all you google searchers, appear shirtless along with Nick Lidstrom - come on guys I'm just trying to get you to try for things that aren't "Rod Brind'Amour's girlfriend") birthday. Kris Draper nailing him with shaving cream is great, but the best part of the video in my opinion comes from the follow exchange between Chris Osgood and Kirk Maltby:
- Osgood: It's Hank's birthday? Pav and Hank? Pav's going to dance for Hank 'cause they're in love.
- Maltby: Well if one celebrates, the other's gonna - they're the Eurotwins!
- Osgood: Pav and Hank are going to dance to Total Eclipse of the Heart.
- So I know there was a big (and rightfully so) hullabaloo about just how amazing it was that Kevin Weekes felt the need to include porno music on his website (why does his guy have a website?) when it was first discovered, but now I'd like to invite you all to check out the man's new pads. Um. What? Seriously?
- And speaking of players with their own website, Zetterberg's store is now open, full of lots of expensive black clothes, red T-shirts and sweatshirts, and free posters bearing intense photos of the guy. But someone tell me, where's my I (heart) Hank shirt?
- Elly's going to be away for the weekend yet again. She told me to mention "a different" Penguin. I'm working on it.