Having missed the last Wings game due to work (well, that's a lie, I came home just in time to see Robert Wing Killer notch the game winner, but let's forget about that), and not been able to catch anything else recently because, well, Charter you still suck, I finally got to sit down tonight and catch the Wings take on the Kings in the start of their first Western road trip of the year.
This particular road trip was a scary one last season, wherein the Wings dropped three of four games and couldn't score more than one goal in any of those losses. Unfortunately, the one team they did beat was the Kings, in the first matchup of the trip - but let's try not to think about that either.
Going into tonight, the Wings had won thirteen of their past fourteen games against the Kings - a nice feel-good stat that made me even feel good about Chris Osgood getting the start tonight. Luckily that stat has improved to fourteen of fifteen, and Ozzie had a brilliant evening. Midway through the first period he made a flurry of amazing saves where just about every player on the ice was swarming his crease, and kept it up all night long, absolutely robbing Michael Cammalleri, who did eventually net the only Kings goal, at least twice.
The Kings goalie of the evening, Jonathan Bernier, looked pretty solid for the first few minutes, only fumbling the puck once on a second one-timer from Lilja (lucky goalie; he held onto the puck with a little bounce-move that if he'd stumbled over would have almost definitely been a goal, as there were two or three Wings waiting there to tap it in), and even looked all right after recovering from the tag team Eurotwins PP goal. Unfortunately for him, he started to crumble a little a after Kris Draper, who is currently red hot, notched a shortie on him after he went down too early and couldn't move across the net fast enough to stop it.
With those two, the Wings started the game off with a 2-0 lead, the first , which has been a scary number for them lately - and after Andreas Lilja took an untimely penalty that gave the Kings (who had scored seven PP goals to this point) a two man advantage for twenty second, allowing Cammalleri to move the Kings within one, it looked like that might be the case again. Luckily for us, the hero line of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Tomas Holmstrom decided they weren't standing for that. Despite Babock's goal, at the start of the season, to keep the duo of Datsyuk and Zetterberg on seperete lines, injuries to Johan Franzen and Mikael Samuelsson have forced them back together - and what a show they are. Holmstrom scored a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal that proved he's not only a grinder and that he can work with finesse sometimes too, putting one right past Bernier to lift the Wings ahead by two again, and Zetterberg added the fourth shortly after on a brilliantly patient wraparound play. Datsyuk assisted on both, bringing their totals for the night as a line to 3G, 5A. Think that's impressive? Individually on the season their numbers look like this:
- Datsyuk: 1G 6A
- Zetterberg: 4G 8A
- Holmstrom: 5G 2A
They weren't the only three making an impact tonight - in the first period Babcock ran the gritty line of Dallas Drake, Matt Ellis, and Aaron Downey, inserted with the injury to Samuelsson, quite a bit, and the Money Line (two Czechs and a Finn!) from last year of Val Filppula, Jiri Hudler, and Tomas Kopecky were together for a good chunk of the night. None of them broke onto the scoresheet, but Babcock commented that they were effective in the postgame.
While the game was enjoyable, I was disappointed with the lack of Jack Johnson, having been excited to see him again after watching him play my WMU Bronco's with U of M last season. I only even heard his name twice! Hey Kms2, where was your boy tonight?
Last night was the first game of the season for my WMU Broncos - well, an exhibition game to be precise, but exciting nonetheless. They took on the U of Windsor Lancers, and while they got off to a 0-2 start, they rallied with the help of freshman Max Campbell who led the team with two goals and an assist and ended up winning 5-2. Considering we lost our number one rookie from last year, Mark Letestu, to the WBS Penguins, seeing someone step up to that role was a relief.
As usual the game was a good time - between Jeff LoVecchio chatting with us from the penalty box and helping us cheer on Frank the Tank and Jonathan Lupa getting a game ejection for a great fight, the season started off great.
- Elly told me to mention the Penguins while she's off in Ontario. So could Ty Conklin look a little more ridiculous in this year's Baby Pens roster shot? (Oh and the Pens won with what looks to have been a good 6-4 showing at the ACC yesterday night, too.)
- Petr Hemsky, forgotten brother of Ales (read: he failed out of the OHL), scored the game winning goal 4:59 in to overtime for his current team Srnsi Kutna Hora (home of the Sedlac Ossuary - possibly the coolest thing I saw in the Czech Republic). Way to do something, other Hemsky!
- Looks like Jason Smith really does love his Timmy's - and also like he's very disinterested in, well, Lupul's existance.
- Some sports recap of some football game (yeah, I was paying a LOT of attention to my TV) just used the phrase "He throws like Ernest Hemingway writes." Best. Sports metaphor. Ever.