Three Questions: Wings-Wild
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 55th game
It wasn’t the game-winner, but Ville Leino’s goal with 2:45 remaining in the second period was the final tally the Wings needed to put the game away. Detroit jumped ahead in the second period with two goals in 50 seconds at the halfway mark of the second period, but Leino’s third career goal was the back-breaker. The Wings’ rookie nearly leaped to grab a rebound out of midair on the left side of the Minnesota net. He caught the puck, threw it to the ice, and then curled around the back of the net. With a quick flick of the wrists, Leino completed the wrap-around goal, giving the Wings’ a three-goal lead. The Wings clamped down on the lead in the third, and came away with the 4-2 win.
Who was the Wings’ star of the game?
The scoring explosion in the second period can be pinned on one player – Marian Hossa. The Wings’ leading goal-scorer left his mark on the assist column Thursday night instead, but he was still the biggest factor on both plays. On the Wings’ second goal of the evening, Hossa came flying over the Minnesota blue line, and caught a pass from Jiri Hudler in his skates as he cut to the center of the ice. Moving towards the left side of the offensive zone, Hossa pulled the Minnesota defense towards him, and then fired a pass between both of them to a wide-open Hudler, who fired a one-timer into the back of the net.
Hossa stayed on the ice after the goal, and picked up another assist while the Wings were in the midst of a line change. He grabbed the puck in the Minnesota zone, and started looking around for a pass as he cut towards the goal line. With no options presenting themselves to Hossa, he curled around the back of the net, and cut back up to the blue line. That’s when the seam opened up for Hossa to make a pass cross-ice to Kris Draper, who caught the pass and fired a slapshot through goaltender Josh Harding for his fourth goal of the season.
Who was responsible for the Wings’ first goal?
Since being called up from Grand Rapids, Darren Helm has been performing well for the Wings, and it showed Thursday night. Helm showcased his speed and grit throughout the contest, but it was most evident in the Wings’ first goal of the night. Helm chased down the Minnesota defensemen deep in their end, and caused a turnover instead of a breakout play. The Wings jumped on the opportunity, and Helm headed towards the front of the net. As Brett Lebda wound up for a slap shot, the young center parked himself right in the sight-line of Harding. The Minnesota goaltender wasn’t able to see the shot, so he wasn’t able to control the rebound, which allowed Mikael Samuelsson to bury the rebound for his 15th goal of the season, and the early lead.