Three Questions: Wings-Blues
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 64th game
The Red Wings will be holding their breath tonight as they await word on star forward Marian Hossa. Detroit’s leading goal-scorer went crashing head-first into the boards only minutes into the first period, and immediately clutched his head and did not get up. Hossa took a wrist shot at the left face-off dot, and was pushed down by defenseman Roman Polak, which caused him to fall into the corner boards. Trainer Piet Van Zant
Rushed out to help, but Hossa stayed on the ice for an extended period of time. The medical staff brought out the stretcher, and Hossa was strapped on and escorted off the ice.
Reports throughout the game indicated that Hossa never lost consciousness, which is a great sign in regards to head and neck injuries. He left the game and was taken to a local hospital.
Hossa was just returning from an injury. The winger missed two games with a sore neck coming into the St. Louis game after a collision during the San Jose game last week.
How did the Red Wings win this one?
The Red Wings might have had a great night offensively, but without solid goaltending behind them it wouldn’t have mattered. They got just that in Chris Osgood, who recorded his first shutout of the season in the 5-0 win. Osgood, in his second game back from a ten-day break, made 22 saves to get his 20th win of the season.
With Hossa unavailable, star forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg elevated their games to get the Wings on the scoresheet. Datsyuk set up two goals on the night, and Zetterberg picked up a goal and an assist. The duo teamed up for the Wings’ second goal of the contest. Zetterberg started with the puck in the corner, and used his elite puck possession skills to cut to the front. He sent a saucer pass cross-ice to Datsyuk, who couldn’t score on the initial shot. However, Datsyuk jumped into the air to grab the rebound, throw the puck to the ice, and fire another shot on goal. That didn’t get across the goal line either, but Zetterberg finished off the play by swatting the puck past goaltender Chris Mason.
Another great sign for the Wings was that Valtteri Filppula picked up a goal. Filppula hadn’t scored in 19 games, but he picked up the rebound for the Wings’ fifth goal of the night. The goal might be just what Filppula needs to start finding the net again.
How did Aaron Downey look in his first game back?
Forward Aaron Downey knew he was called back to the Red Wings to add some grit and excitement to the line-up, and he wasted no time in leaving his mark on his first NHL game since January 29. Downey exchanged words with St. Louis tough guy Cam Janssen during the pre-game skate, and the two had another discussion during the contest. At the 9:43 mark of the first period, Janssen took offense to a few hits thrown by Downey, and the two dropped the gloves in the St. Louis zone. The duel lasted for 1:50, with both exchanging a good amount of punches. After locking each other up, Downey was able to get his left arm free for the final moments of the fight, and he made it count.
After the fight, both Downey and Janssen looked noticeably exhausted in the penalty box. Downey skated for 3:34 throughout the game, and registered three hits.