To their credit, Nashville showed up to play, and they had a lot of chances and there were chunks of time when they controlled the play in the Red Wings' zone. After two periods they had a lead in the shots over Detroit, but it didn't matter because they had the lead in goals. Nashville really tried to take the play to Detroit all game, especially as the game wore on and they needed to get on the board.
Nashville kept working a drop play against the Red Wings that they were just kept not picking up. Two guys would draw the attention of the defense and they'd drop the puck back to a streaking third man in the slot for a wrist shot or one timer. Somehow, the Wings managed not to get burned by it. Other than that they did a great job keeping Nashville to the outside of the ice, collapsed on the puck well and fought hard in the corners and along the boards.
I'm going to take a break from discussing the whole game to point out that Dan Cleary scored a deflection goal on the power play and it sort of broke my brain for a moment. Then I realized that Cleary would be fine on this team if he was a net front guy on the power play and a bottom six forward the rest of the game.
|This picture makes about as much sense as saying "Danny Cleary rocks"|
Everything about the Wings looked solid tonight; it was a complete win. The PK shut down the Nashville power play, even preventing them from getting a shot on goal on the second opportunity. The Red Wings power play was good for a goal on just two PP attempts. Three goals even strength, the opener was from Drew Miller just being smart and working hard in front of the net and potting a rebound. Tatar with some slick hands in front of the net and Kronwall with a shotgun blast of a slap shot.
Were the Predators tired? Yes. The Red Wings took advantage of it, came out with the throttle down and never let up until the final horn sounded. They needed to win this game, and they won it decidedly. I know some people will thumb their nose at the win. "Oh, whoopty shit. You beat a tired Nashville Predator's team. Good for you." Well, the Red Wings have been struggling, and despite great play the last game against Nashville, the Predators won in overtime. Plus, Pekke Rinne gives Detroit a ton of problems; we struggle to find the back of the net on him and when we get chances he comes up big.
But not tonight. Tonight, we got the puck behind him and had a ton of chances. We took this game seriously and it showed.
If the Red Wings can take the momentum from this game, and keep the wind in their sails, they could start to turn this season around. Especially if they play every team the way they played tonight.
Let's hand out the awards and call it a night.
The Bret Lebda Game Puck: Rich Clune - What a dick. "Yeah, I'm totally going to board Ian White, because he's such a dirty, gritty player that gets under your skin" And I get that you have guys like Tootoo and Clune who play on the edge. But if you're going to cheap shot guys, at least have the courage not to do it while you're wearing a fucking Bane mask on your helmet so that nobody can force you to drop the gloves and answer for your shit. And of course, had Tootoo run your ass, everyone would have been in butthurt tears about going after a guy recovering from an injury. Eat a smorgasbord of dicks, Rich Clune.
The Kris Draper Game Puck: Patrick Eaves - If someone told you that Patty Eaves wasn't back to 100%, this game would be a strong counter-argument to that claim. He had a ton of energy, he was hard and gritty in the battle zones and at the end of the 2nd period, he was ready to duke it out with anyone who looked at him wrong. That's what the Wings want from Eaves and that's what he gave them.
10 Points to Griffins-dor: Tomas Tatar - It'd be easy to just point to Tatar's goal and give him the award for that. But the real reason I'm giving it to Tatar is what he did after he scored the goal: he zipped around the ice trying to get another goal. He wasn't satisfied, in fact he seemed even more driven to score after he got the first one. He made a lot of smart plays, including a couple of beautiful passes - one to Joakim Andersson and one to Kent Huskins - and got some power play minutes that he took advantage of. Tatar obviously wanted to win tonight.
The Perfect Puck: Brian Lashoff - So good again tonight. But the play that earned him this award tonight came in the second period. Mike Fisher got a one on one chance against Lashoff and to be honest, I was worried. This could have been one of those momentum goals that swung things to Nashville's favor. Fisher tried to make a pretty slick move, but Lashoff just stayed with him and made a smart play to completely diffuse the situation. Don't even know if Fisher got a shot on goal. It was just so smooth and effortless it was everything that Nicklas Lidstrom did.
Edit: Now with video!
O' Captain, My Captain Game Puck: Jimmy Howard - I mean, come on. 1st star of the game. Stops 33 shots for a shutout, and some of those saves were spectacular. These are the kinds of games that I shove in someone's stupid face when they try to shit talk Howard. Obviously, after the blurry vision scare, they got Howard to Dr. Ramani and got those wide eyes back in focus.
Big thanks to weallbleedredd for the videos.