Three Questions: Wings-Canucks
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' twelfth game
Whoever wins the special-teams battle usually wins hockey games, as the Red Wings proved with their 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Sunday night. Detroit had four power play opportunities in the contest, while Vancouver had seven. The Red Wings scored on three of their man advantages, and the Canucks scored on none. Needless to say, the Wings will be able to win a lot of hockey games when keeping the opposition from scoring on the PP.
Goaltender Chris Osgood played his role of lead penalty killer well, making saves at all the right times and handling the traffic and scrums in front of his net during the Canucks’ comeback attempt. Osgood’s power play unit helped him out at the other end, with Mikael Samuelsson, Brian Rafalski, and Henrik Zetterberg all tallying goals on the advantage.
Who was the star of the game for the Red Wings?
Henrik Zetterberg was up to his usual self Sunday night, contributing on two of the three Detroit goals while taking care of business in the defensive zone at the same time. Hank set up the first goal with an impressive backhand pass under a Vancouver defenseman’s stick to set up Samuelsson’s goal. His goal was a thing of beauty as well. After taking a feed from Samuelsson in the corner, Zetterberg crept along the goal line looking for a passing lane. None were available, so Zetterberg took matters into his own hands, walking out in front of goaltender Roberto Luongo and patiently waiting until he found a hole to sneak the puck through. He also spent 5:38 on the penalty kill, and helped wrap up the win as the part of the five-man unit out in the closing seconds of the contest.
What was the goal of the night?
Zetterberg’s goal was spectacular, but Rafalski’s impressed me even more, due to the puck movement and teamwork involved. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom got the play rolling from his usual position as power play quarterback, slinging a cross-ice pass to Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk didn’t pause to stickhandle one bit, instead sending a one-touch pass back to the middle so Rafalski could fire a one-timer into the back of the net. The play made the Detroit power play look like it was running to perfection, with the players dishing the puck around at such a quick rate, and sending the puck past Luongo just as fast.