Three Questions: Wings-Blues
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 33rd game
In a run-and-gun first period, the Wings and Blues combined for 35 shots on goal. The difference, however, was that Detroit scored on two of their 18 shots, while the Blues failed to convert on their 17 shots. St. Louis can thank Wings goalie Ty Conklin, who frustrated the Blues’ shooters all night as he stopped 33 of 34 shots for his 11th win of the season. Without a stellar performance from their netminder in the first two periods, the Wings wouldn’t have been able to coast to a 4-1 win. Conklin helped the Wings fight off early penalty trouble, especially late in the first period. With Brett Lebda and Valtteri Filppula in the box, Conklin helped kill off an important five-on-three St. Louis advantage for 78-seconds, sending the Wings to their dressing room with a 2-0 lead and a firm grasp on momentum. The penalty-kill unit continued to find success in the second and third segments, and even scored shorthanded when Marian Hossa forced a turnover to get the puck to Pavel Datsyuk, who made no mistake with the puck to tally his second goal of the night.
However, the other side of the Wings’ special teams deserves mention, too. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom helped jumpstart the power play, setting up Datysuk’s first goal and scoring on the second; both on the man-advantage in the first 11 minutes of the contest. It was a welcome sight for a power play that had cooled off a bit after a scorching start to the season.
Who was the offensive player of the game?
Datsyuk had quite an evening, recording two goals and an assist. Both goals were highlight-reel performances. On his first goal, he put the finishing touch on textbook play. Datsyuk circled high, up to the blue line, while Lidstrom baited the defense to drift to the right side of the St. Louis zone. With a quick fling of the puck, Lidstrom got the puck over to Datsyuk, who walked in and fired a wrist shot top shelf past goaltender Manny Legace.
On his second, Datsyuk teamed up with Hossa on the penalty kill. Hossa came in on the forecheck high in the St. Louis zone, and threw down one of the Blues’ defenseman. He then chased the puck to the boards, beating another skater, and turned to hit Datsyuk with a pass right in the slot. Datsyuk pulled a ‘Datsyukian’ deke on defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, pulling it past him with a backhand move, then beating Legace simultaneously with a quick wrist shot after getting it to the forehand.
What was the play of the game?
Henrik Zetterberg had perhaps the best play of the night, and it was during a face-off. With the Wings finding themselves on an important five-on-three advantage in the first period, Zetterberg came in for the face-off, and won it with some fancy stick work. After initially losing the draw, Zetterberg reached around opposing center Jay McClement, and grabbed the puck with one hand on his stick. He proceeded to whip the puck back to the point, right onto the stick of Lidstrom, who walked in and rifled a shot past Legace. It was a unique way to win the face-off, to say the least, but it was certainly exciting.