Three Questions: Wings-Lightning
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 15th game
This one should be pretty obvious – the Red Wings took care of business on their five-on-three powerplay to start the third period. By the end of the second, Tampa Bay had three players hanging out in the penalty box, giving the Red Wings a two-man advantage for more than a minute and a half to start the final period. Henrik Zetterberg scored his 10th goal of the season with 13 seconds left on the five-on-three to tie the game 2-2, with a little help from his friend Marian Hossa. The newest Red Wing snapped his stick on a wrist shot just outside the Tampa Bay goal, but kept driving to the net and actually kicked the puck through goaltender Olaf Kolzig’s pads to Zetterberg, who swatted the puck into the empty net.
The timing on Zetterberg’s goal was incredibly important, however, because the Wings were able to stay on the powerplay. Due to how many penalties the Lightning were trying to kill off, Adam Hall was stuck in the box, giving the Wings a full PP even after the goal. And the Wings made it count. Mikael Samuelsson fired a slap shot past Kolzig after a pass from Pavel Datsyuk, giving the Red Wings the lead, and they never looked back.
Who led the Red Wings to victory?
Henrik Zetterberg played yet another phenomenal game for the Red Wings. Not only did he score the game-tying goal, but he set up Johan Franzen for the game-winning goal, on a pass that went through a Lightning defender’s legs, giving Franzen a wide-open net to shoot at. He killed penalties, he played great in his own end, and he cleared but didn’t ice the puck with seconds left to run out the clock. However, his most creative play didn’t end up on the score sheet, but deserves mentioning. During the first period, Zetterberg was wrestling for the puck in the Tampa Bay end, and used some nifty footwork while doing so. Hank actually stepped on the puck, pinned it to keep control, and then kicked the puck towards the Tampa Bay goal, trying to set up Valtteri Filppula. Now, kicking the puck happens all the time, but I’m struggling to recall any times where I’ve seen a player purposely step on the puck, and actually control it.
Who had an ‘awakening’ of sorts during the game?
Niklas Kronwall developed the nickname ‘Kron the Destroyer’ last spring, due to his devastating hits in the neutral zone during the playoffs. Kronwall displayed one of his most impressive skills in the first few minutes Thursday night, when he stepped up near the Wings’ blue line to flatten Vaclav Prospal – his first big hit of the season. The collision was reminiscent of many from last year’s playoffs, and it’s great to see Kronwall throwing around the body once again.