Three Questions: Wings-Blues
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 50th game
Tonight’s game against St. Louis marked center Kris Draper’s 1,000th NHL game. Draper, the Wings steady defensive specialist, celebrated his night the way he knows best – killing off penalties and leading the Wings to a 4-3 victory. The 37-year-old spent 4:47 worth of his 12:50 ice time on the penalty kill, and he did it well. He also went five-of-11 on the face-off dot, the area he dominates better than arguably anyone in the NHL. And, for a little icing on the cake, Draper picked up an assist on Kirk Maltby’s goal in the first period.
Draper was honored for his achievement early in the game as well. Coach Mike Babcock gave him the start, putting him up front with Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk for the opening face-off. Then, during the first TV timeout, the Red Wings played a video honoring the Detroit assistant captain, followed by a standing ovation from the Hockeytown faithful and players.
Who was the star of the night for the Wings?
Hossa turned in another impressive performance Monday night, recording two goals in the contest. In the second period, the Wings’ leading goal scorer took a high wrist shot on goaltender Manny Legace, and it handcuffed the former Red Wing. Jumping up to make the save, Legace got a piece of the puck, but it still found its way to the net, giving Hossa his 25th of the season. Five minutes later, it was Hossa again, this time taking the puck along the left-side boards and driving to the net. The Wings’ sniper waited for defenseman Barret Jackman to attack him at the face-off dot, and he used Jackman’s legs as a screen to fire the puck past Legace on the far side of the St. Louis goal.
But he wasn’t done yet. Hossa capped off the shoot-out win when he walked in on Legace, sped up a bit, then all of a sudden let a laser of a wrist shot go that beat Legace top-shelf. The puck came flying out of the net as fast as it went in, but it didn’t matter; the puck crossed the line and the Wings drove home with two points.
How did the Red Wings snap out of the skid?
Two words: Chris Osgood. The Wings goaltender turned away 30 shots throughout the contest, but he really stood on his head during overtime. Osgood turned away five shots, stopping the Blues’ offensive attack point-blank to keep the Wings alive and force it to a shootout. There, he stood his ground, first stopping T.J. Oshie on a hard wrist shot. He got beat by sniper Brad Boyes, but regained his composure to force David Perron into missing the net on the game-tying attempt. Without Osgood, the Wings wouldn’t have come out on top.