Three Questions: Wings-Wild
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 38th game
It took the Red Wings 48:12 of a 60-minute hockey game to have a power play. For the NHL’s best man-advantage unit, that’s a long wait. But Detroit coach Mike Babcock finally got to put out his top scorers on the power play in the closing minutes of the third period, and the Wings made their opportunities count. They weren’t able to score on their first opportunity, but forced the Wild into taking another penalty right afterwards, and that’s when Johan Franzen struck to tie the game at two. A scrum out in front of the Wild net resulted with the puck squirting out to captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who fired a slapshot towards the crowd. The initial shot missed the net, but it bounced off the glass behind the Minnesota goal and flew over the net towards the crease. That’s where Franzen was standing, and he smacked the puck into the net baseball-style for his team-leading 18th goal.
Pavel Datsyuk capped off the win in the shoot-out with arguably the most impressive penalty-shot goal this season. Coming in on goaltender Josh Harding, Datsyuk reached deep into his bag of tricks to thoroughly embarrass the young netminder. He went backhand, then back to the forehand, and then really made his move, performing a backhanded toe drag to confuse the goalie and pull it to the right. To finish it off, Datsyuk roofed the puck, up over the leg of Harding.
How did Chris Osgood look in his first game back?
Goaltender Chris Osgood said he was feeling perfectly healthy for the first time this season, and it showed Saturday night. Osgood returned for his first start in eight games, with a foul taste in his mouth after losing to Colorado in his last start. He redeemed himself with an impressive start, turning away 24 shots in the first two periods. Then he, along with the rest of the Wings, got burned by a questionable whistle when Detroit was in penalty trouble in the third period. The referees blew a play dead with one second left on Dan Cleary’s penalty time, so the Wings were stuck taking a face-off still on a five-on-three disadvantage. The Wild capitalized before Cleary could get back into the play, and the goal probably wouldn’t have happened if the whistle had blown just a second later. The change in momentum led the Wild to scoring again 16 seconds later.
Osgood, however, didn’t falter. He held strong for the Wings as they waited for an opportunity to tie the game, and they came through for him. Ozzie made seven stops in the third, two in overtime, and all the stops required in the shootout. He shut down Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu with a big glove save on the last shot to finish off the win for Detroit.
Who was the player of the game?
Henrik Zetterberg turned heads in the Winter Classic, and he continued his dominance in the Wings’ next game. The forward was the main responsible for the Wings’ first goal, as he stole the puck at Detroit blue line, rushed it all the way down while avoiding a hit, and wrapped around the Minnesota goal. Mikael Samuelsson scored, but all he had to do was make sure he made contact with Zetterberg’s impressive pass from behind the goal. Zetterberg was second in total ice time for the Detroit offense, only 30 seconds behind Datsyuk. He played 2:25 on the penalty-kill, and finished plus-one, continuing his impressive play in the Detroit end.