Three Questions: Wings-Thrashers
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' seventh game
|Marian Hossa's highlight reel goal in the first period gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead on the forward's former teammates. (Dave Reginek)
If you haven’t seen it yet, go over to redwings.nhl.tv and watch the highlights. If you don’t feel like doing that, it will probably be on all the highlight shows in the morning – it should be an early favorite for the goal of the year. After creating a turnover at the Atlanta blueline, Hossa walked in on former Wings defenseman Mathieu Schneider, and deked wide on him. After maneuvering around Schneider, Hossa kept drifting away from the net, getting goaltender Kari Lehtonen to drop to the ice in preparation for a save. Hossa, waited and waited to get Lehtonen down, so by the time he had an empty net he was below the goal line. It turned out that his location wasn’t a problem however, because Hossa was able to wrap the puck in from behind the net.
His second goal wasn’t that bad either, with him playing give-and-go with defenseman Niklas Kronwall, then ripping a shot past Lehtonen from just inside the top of the left circle. Hossa was named first star of the game tonight, and rightfully so.
What was the turning point of the game?
The Wings won Friday night’s game not because of the goals in the first two periods, but how they hung tight defensively in the third, most notably on the penalty kill. After Atlanta defenseman Ron Hainsey made the game 4-2 early in the third, the Wings were faced with two more penalties to kill off, including a partial 5-3. They killed both, with Henrik Zetterberg getting possibly the best scoring chance during the time frame. Atlanta scored another to make it close late, but Hossa made yet another spectacular play, digging out the puck at the Detroit blue line to dish it over to Dan Cleary, who put in the final goal for the Wings to close it out.
What did tonight’s game show about the Red Wings’ offense?
Simply put, the Red Wings’ forwards are clicking. The important thing was that both of the top two lines were contributing in the same game. Lines 1A and 1B both put up gaudy statistics, with Zetterberg and Hossa leading the way with two goals apiece. The Wings’ third line of Cleary, Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler weren’t slouches, either; Cleary had the last goal, Hudler picked up an assist on the first goal, and the line generated a lot of scoring chances. Now that the lines are getting settled in, scoring should start coming easier and easier for the high-powered Detroit offense.