Breakdown: Wings beat Caps, 3-2
No play was more important Saturday night than the goal that eventually gave the Wings a 3-2 victory. With defenseman Mike Green serving a two-minute minor for hooking, the Wings went to work on the power play, and Tomas Holmstrom made it count. Pavel Datsyuk created the situation, as he carried the puck into the Washington end. Cutting along the left circle, Datsyuk found Holmstrom wide-open to the right of the slot, and hit him with a saucer pass. Holmstrom gathered the puck in, and fired a quick shot to the upper-left corner. The shot was too much for goaltender Jose Theodore to handle, and Holmstrom’s second goal of the season put the Wings in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the contest.
Goalie Chris Osgood had another impressive home outing for the Red Wings, turning aside 22 shots against the high-scoring Capitals’ offense. His save of the night came when the Wings were shorthanded in the second period. Washington forward Alexander Ovechkin, one of the league’s top scorers, came streaking down the middle of the ice, and fired a one-timer Osgood’s way. The Wings’ goaltender did the splits, and robbed Ovechkin, keeping the game tied. Osgood turned Ovechkin away three times in the 60-minute contest.
When it was announced that the Red Wings would be without Johan Franzen for the next four months, coach Mike Babcock said that his secondary scorers would need to fill in for ‘the Mule’. Ville Leino seemed to get the message, as he charged the net Franzen-style, and buried a rebound for the Wings’ first goal. Playing on the second line with Dan Cleary and Valtteri Filppula, Leino had 13:47 worth of ice-time, and he finished plus-one.
The shot totals tell the story of the 3-2 win. The Wings outshot the Capitals 37-24 on the night, as they challenged Theodore from all angles. Even more important was the third-period totals. The Wings had 11 shots, while the Capitals only had four. The final-period shots for the Capitals is a testament to the Wings being able to lock down their lead, and keep Ovechkin and Co. away from the net.
After the game, Holmstrom weighed in on his neighbor in the locker room, Osgood. Here’s what he had to say:
“He played great for us, especially in the penalty kill. He killed the penalties there… Ovechkin had a great chance in the slot, and he got his pad out. He played great against Chicago and I think he even stepped up his game more today, so he looks really good.”