Three Questions: Wings-Blues
DRW.com analyzes the Wings' 77th game
Johan Franzen’s 33rd goal of the season was a thing of beauty. Four minutes into the third period, Franzen rushed the puck into the St. Louis zone along the right wing boards. Coming in one-on-one with Backes, Franzen cut to the middle, putting a move on the Blues’ forward that actually made him fall over. Franzen started to fall as well, but while he was in the air he fired a shot towards goaltender Chris Mason that beat the St. Louis netminder. It was another highlight-reel goal for ‘the Mule’.
Who was the player of the game?
I have to go with Pavel Datsyuk. The Wings’ assistant captain picked up a goal and an assist, and his goal was almost as impressive as Franzen’s. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom started it all with the puck at the St. Louis blue line during the second period. He wound up for a slapshot, which had the Blues thinking he was going to fire a shot towards their goal. Instead, Lidstrom sent a pass towards Datsyuk, who was able to spin and get his stick on it. Using his backhand, Datsyuk redirected the puck towards the goal, which fooled Mason to give Datsyuk his 31st goal of the season. Datsyuk played for 21:15, recorded seven shots, and finished plus-one.
What went wrong?
The Wings were unable to contain just one of the Blues, and it hurt them on the final scoreboard Thursday night. Forward David Backes scored four of the Blues’ five goals on the evening, consistently putting the lead just out of reach for the Wings. Even more costly for the Wings was the timing on some of Backes’ tallies during his career-high performance. Twice the Blues’ forward scored within a minute of a Red Wings’ goal, both goals serving as momentum killers and frustrating for the Joe Louis Arena crowd.