Three Questions: Wings-Blue Jackets
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 70th game
Looking to seek some revenge from their last outing, the Wings were flying from the opening face-off, and they jumped on the Blue Jackets early. It looked as though the Wings were going to take a 1-0 lead just 29 seconds into the game, when a point shot from Brad Stuart found its way to the back of the net. It was waved off, however, with the game officials citing goaltender interference because Tomas Holmstrom was hovering just inside the Columbus crease.
The unfortunate break didn’t hurt the Wings, as Marian Hossa made a great individual effort for the game’s first goal. Hossa beat the Columbus defense by flipping the puck past them and using his speed to slip past Rostislav Klesla for a quick shot on goal. His initial shot didn’t beat goaltender Steve Mason, but Hossa stopped right at the goal, and he snuck a rebound shot through Mason’s legs for his 35th goal of the season.
Detroit then capitalized on a full two-minute five-on-three advantage. The Wings drew a penalty, then drew another penalty as they poured on the pressure during the delayed call. With Jiri Novotny and Christian Backman both serving penalties at the 7:49 mark of the first period, Niklas Kronwall fired a one-timer slapshot to the top shelf to give the Wings the 2-0 lead. From that point on, it was all Red Wings, and they cruised to the 4-0 win.
How did Chris Osgood look on back-to-back starts?
Coach Mike Babcock changed up the goalie rotation this weekend, sending Chris Osgood out both days. Osgood didn’t disappoint, either. After making 30 saves in St. Louis yesterday for his 300th win as a Red Wing, Osgood turned away 23 shots for his second shutout of the season. This win was significant as well, with his 385th win moving him into a tie for 11th place on the NHL’s all-time wins list with former teammate Mike Vernon. He didn’t make many highlight reel saves, but he didn’t have to. Osgood cut down all the angles, and he controlled all the rebounds – which makes his job a whole lot easier. His next target on the all-time wins list is another former teammate; Dominik Hasek holds 10th place with 389 wins.
What was significant about tonight’s win?
With Boston losing to Pittsburgh this afternoon, the Red Wings hold the top spot in the NHL for the time being. The San Jose Sharks still have a few games in hand, but the schedules will even up in the upcoming week. However, tonight’s win meant a lot more than just this year’s standings. The Red Wings broke an NHL record as they picked up the two points. For the ninth straight year, the Wings have earned at least 100 points in a season. They were tied with the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970’s and early ‘80’s, who also accomplished the feat eight straight times. The record should serve as another indication of the impressive work done by general manager Ken Holland and the Wings’ organization.