Three Questions: Wings-Kings
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 62nd game
Forward Kirk Maltby doesn’t normally start a hockey game alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. But Friday night was anything but normal for Maltby, as he celebrated his 1,000th career NHL game against the Kings. Coach Mike Babcock put him up on the top line for the first shift of the contest before he joined his usual linemates Kris Draper and Tomas Kopecky for the rest of the contest. At the first stoppage in play, public address announcer Budd Lynch congratulated Maltby, which was followed by a standing ovation from the Hockeytown faithful.
Maltby made arguably the play of the night to top it off. During the second period, with the Wings clinging to an early lead, Kings forward Patrick O’Sullivan found himself alone with the puck standing to the right of goaltender Chris Osgood. As he wound up to shoot it past a sprawling Osgood, Maltby got his stick in front of the puck, and redirected what looked like a sure goal up over the Detroit goal. It kept the Wings ahead, and they never relinquished their lead. Maltby played just over 10 minutes in the contest, and finished plus-one.
How did Chris Osgood look in his first game back?
There appeared to be more rust on Osgood’s helmet then his goaltending abilities. The game was halted just a few minutes in so Osgood get his helmet back into working condition, but from then on, there were few flaws in his game. Osgood turned aside 30 shots in the 41st win for the Wings. He played his angles to perfection, coming out whenever he could to give the Kings’ scorers nothing to shoot at.
Who filled in for injured Marian Hossa?
When a team loses their leading goal-scorer, somebody needs to step up to assume the role. The Wings got that and more with who lit up the right light Friday night. Defenseman Derek Meech cracked the scoreless tie in the second period when he recorded his second goal of the season. Ville Leino, who filled in for Hossa on a line with Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula, wrapped the puck around the net, dumping a shot towards goaltender Jonathan Quick. The initial shot didn’t get past him, but a charging Meech found the rebound and flipped it into the Los Angeles goal.
The Wings capitalized on a mistake from Quick early in the third period. The Los Angeles netminder failed to field a Wings’ dump in, and the puck ended up on Filppula’s stick. He quickly dished the puck to Tomas Kopecky, who was waiting on the right post to bank a shot off Quick and into the goal for his fourth goal of the season.