The Red Wings have coasted to victory many a time this season, and amassed points at a rate that was almost disgusting (okay, fine, I haven't been disgusted by it....but).
Last night was not one of those nights. In fact, last night can best be described as wholly frustrating. The Avalanche, to their credit, have developed an apparent strategy for playing the Wings - they play us in close, very tight, lots of checking, almost a variation of the Anaheim strategy, except with less offense (the final shot count was 35-15 Wings, and 11 of those Avs shots came in the third period) and less cheap shots. Even with their currently depleted roster they put up a good, if annoying, fight.
Up until Henrik Zetterberg notched the first goal of the game late in the third off of a great play by Pavel Datsyuk, drawing three defensemen to him and leaving Z open for the wraparound, (the Wings other goal, an empty netter, came at the hands of Kris Draper), the Wings couldn't get a scoring break. Early on in the game, Peter Budaj took a delay of game penalty that he spent the rest of the game repenting for - the sheer number of great saves he made, combined with the number of sure-thing goals that were ruined by someone missing a pass, and the number of shots off the post, it was enough to make a person tear there hair out.
The Wings did however get one lucky break when Brett Lebda pushed Scott Hannan into Dominik Hasek - the Avalanche scored on the play, but it was still ruled no goal based on contact to the goaltender, as the referee missed this initial contact and the play could not be reviewed.
Sorry this is such a short recap - I've been working all day and the game was rather frustrating and not very exciting. One particular joy I do remember from watching it was seeing Datsyuk manage three takeaways...on one shift. Leave it to that guy. (Also, someone should teach Ken and Mickey that it's pronounced HOE-ton. How long have you guys lived in Michigan?)
Tonight the Wings take on the Boston Bruins in an Original Six matchup. They now have 82 points which puts them 14 above the second place Ottawa.
(PS McCarty is still skating with Flint while he waits for NHL approval on his AHL contract - come on guys, work it out, you have until the 15th!)