Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Recap: Predators 4, Red Wings 3 (OT)

This was a crazy game. It was surprising that it went to over-time because there were times when it looked like the Red Wings would blow past the Predators to an easy win, and other times it looked like they'd get pinched off for a close loss. And in the end, a blown play on the 4 on 4 - which always seems to give Detroit problems - gives Nashville another win.

I was basically raging for a huge chunk of the game for things that are beyond the Red Wings' control. It's beyond the understanding of man or deity how this team can be treated so badly by luck or fate or the Hockey Gods. Let's take a look of the list of Detroit Red Wings currently injured: Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Smith, Darren Helm, and Todd Bertuzzi. Mikael Samuelsson got hurt (again) before tonight's game, Jimmy Howard is out with an undisclosed upper body injury and Cory Emmerton took a puck to the face, and somehow managed to come back to the game.

Jakub Kindl got called for 3 penalties in one period and only one of them was deserved. Brunner got called for a trip on a hip check, and Jonas Gustavsson lost his stick and froze the puck in one of the circles and was called for delay of game.

The Predators got six power play opportunities and only scored on the one that was actually a penalty. The Red Wings looked fairly hapless for much of the first period, and if it wasn't for Pavel Datsyuk - remember that name because it's going to be important later on - the Wings would have ended the first period down by two goals. But due to a valiant effort where he once again stole the puck from some poor son of a bitch in a Nashville Predator jersey and fed the puck to Dan Cleary for a short-handed goal, we escaped the first period down by only one.

The 2nd and 3rd periods were all Detroit. Gustavsson looked a little rusty at first but seemed to really find his stride as the game went on. Keep in mind, Monster was coming off a groin injury - which is probably the worst injury for a goaltender - and had only played a bit in the AHL before being called up. Then Jimmy Howard went out with an injury and Gustavsson stepped in. The forwards were buzzing and the defense were being responsible and strong in their own zone.

Jordin Tootoo finally did something other than get in fights/take penalties, and netted his first goal as a Detroit Red Wing against his former team. The third period the Red Wings actually looked mad. They looked like a team that was sick and tired of losing to this trash team in Tennessee and they probably would have gotten even more mad if you told them how it was going to end. 

This was one of those frustrating Red Wing losses where they did all manner of things right. They had energy, they had chances, they were physical, they were smart and responsible, and pistons seemed to be firing well and in sync. Bad bounces, lucky fuckin' breaks, and referees who obviously don't understand what a penalty is snatch it away. That's not to say there weren't mistakes - Jakub Kindl - but those mistakes didn't decide the game as far as I'm concerned.

Well, okay, one did because I'm not sure what Jonas Gustavsson was doing on that Weber goal.

Let's hand out the awards and hope for better things down the road.

The Bret Lebda Game Puck: Jakub Kindl - The man seemed to be on a mission to do his very best Bret Lebda impression. I think a lot of people feel the same way about Kindl - we want him to pull out of this tailspin he's been in and grow into the defenseman that we all hope he can be. Similar to Jonathan Ericsson; it's watching a teenager mature, it's painful and frustrating and you think you're making progress. Then you have games like this where he's just not good and you want to throw him off the team jet on the flight back.

The Kris Draper Game Puck: Cory Emmerton - He's been playing really hard and with a lot of heart, and then tonight he took a shot to the face at the same moment he was getting elbowed in the back of the head. And then came back to play more hockey. He made good plays, was physical across the ice and never let his injury slow him down.

10 Points to Griffins-dor: Jonas Gustavsson - Despite the sloppy final goal and some scary moments, the guy played extremely well. As I talked about before, the guy was coming off an injury and came into the game cold as far as NHL games are concerned. After tonight he's played 1 full game for Detroit, plus some over time. We can't pass full judgment after one game, but assuming we could, I'm not sure I understand what Leafs fans were so unhappy about. Then again, they're Leafs fans, they're unhappy about everything because they wake up every morning remembering they're Leafs fans.

The Perfect Puck: Henrik Zetterberg - I haven't been able to find video of it, but trust me when I say that Zetterberg made a very Lidstrom-esqe play. The puck ended up in the Red Wings' zone with the Predators streaking in, and out of no where Zetterberg swooped in with a perfectly time and aimed poke check and knocked the puck away, out of harm's way. It was brilliantly and perfectly executed during the third period when the Wings were buzzing and needed to keep the puck headed in the other direction. 

O' Captain, My Captain Game Puck: Pavel Datsyuk

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