Three Questions: Wings-Oilers
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 17th game
Goaltender Ty Conklin sure did enjoy $1 Hot Dog Night at Joe Louis Arena. Facing off against one of his former clubs, Conklin was solid, en route to a 21-save shutout. He was the centerpiece on a Detroit penalty kill that held its ground early, killing off a five-on-three to preserve a 1-0 lead in the first period. He fought through the traffic in front of his net, even taking matters into his own hands when he cleared the path himself with a cross-checking penalty. Conklin played the role of Red Wings’ netminder to perfection Monday, keeping focused for extended periods of time where he saw no shots, and turning everything away when he saw a short flurry. Anytime a goaltender does all that right, and he’s going to walk away with a victory, just like Conklin did in his first home win with his new team. Not a bad way to celebrate the birth of his newborn son, Nash, with a fifth career shutout.
Who does Ty Conklin need to thank for the Wings’ first shutout of the season?
The Red Wings’ defensive corps had a stellar performance Monday at both ends of the ice. Niklas Kronwall scored the game’s first goal and sacrificed the body for multiple blocked shots on the big five-on-three penalty kill in the first. Brett Lebda set-up the Wings’ second goal with a nifty between-the-legs pass to Mikael Samuelsson. Brian Rafalski’s ability to hold the puck in on the opposing blue line helped Detroit find its way to a five-on-three power play, and a goal right after. Andreas Lilja played an integral part on the penalty kill that was a perfect five-for-five, and recorded an assist on the Jiri Hudler goal. Brad Stuart fired two shots on goal, and picked up the primary assist on Johan Franzen’s goal. And last but certainly not least, captain Nicklas Lidstrom held down the fort, eating up 23:39 worth of ice time, 5:22 of which was spent on the penalty kill.
Who took a beating Monday night?
Tomas Holmstrom’s going to be spending a lot of time in the ice bath. The big winger spent his usual amount of time out in front of the Edmonton net, and took the usual beating along with it. But he did what he does best, and that was get into the head of Edmonton goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Homer drew the penalty on Sheldon Souray that gave the Red Wings the five-on-three that Kronwall scored on for the early lead, just by parking his rear right in front of the Oilers’ net. He also rattled Roloson, who had lengthy conversations with the referees after the next few whistles. Even when he’s not scoring, Holmstrom’s antics are still leading the Wings to victory.