Thursday, March 7, 2013

Recap: Red Wings 3, Oilers 0

Great game for Detroit. Just a well executed win from puck drop to final horn. There really isn't much else to say besides that. I'm sure there will be nay sayers out there who will try to dismiss this win because it was Edmonton, but like I said the last time these two teams met: look at the offensive talent Edmonton has. It's scary how many guys they have on their team who can put up points. I don't know what exactly is preventing these kids from going wild and scoring goals, but as long as they keep doing that when they play Detroit, I'm okay with it.

I'm going to keep this post brief because otherwise I'll just write "THE RED WINGS PLAYED GOOD HOCKEY PUCKS!" over and over again. There are a few major points I want to make before I hand out the awards
  1. This was a team win from top to bottom. Howard was good in net, but let's be honest, he wasn't challenged with big saves tonight the way he has been against Chicago, L.A. and Colorado. The Red Wings defense definitely showed what it's capable of tonight in shutting down serious offensive power. In all fairness, they've been showing that these past few games. Winning or losing by a goal is a tight, hard fought game that is indicative of the skill level of the teams involved. The team seems to be discovering their identity and it looks like their identity is that of a winning hockey team.
  2. The refs actually let the guys play tonight, and it was refreshing. You didn't see too much clutching and grabbing, although there was some. They didn't give anyone an undeserved power play - although I admit I missed the only minor penalty that was called. But there wasn't a bullshit hooking penalty or one of those lame face off violations called. And guess what? Two teams played good hockey, and the team that played better hockey ended up winning.
  3. We learned today that all that was standing between Justin Abdelkader and scoring a goal were NHL goaltenders, apparently. 
  4. How good has Jakub Kindl been playing lately? He's apparently taking a page out of the Ericsson playbook, which is titled If I Live Up to My Potential People Will Get Off My Back. Soft cover should be in your nearby bookstores soon.
Now, I said this a couple of times on Twitter, but I fucking told you so. I've been saying for years that Detroit needed to put forth more effort to get the puck into the slot and stop with the crap shots from bad angles. They got serious scoring chances and two goals from a player jumping up in the play and/or driving into the slot and getting quality chances on net.

If I were other teams, I'd be very frightened that the Red Wings are getting healthy and in sync. Let's do the awards.

The Bret Lebda Game Puck: Henrik Zetterberg - Hold up, sports fans. Before you pelt me with fiery rocks, I'm only saying Z for two reasons. First, because he had a few scoring chances that he NEEDED to bury. Two, there really wasn't anything about the game or the refs I could bitch about. Wings played great, Edmonton was okay, refs weren't idiots. I guess I also give mention to Damien Brunner for icing the puck twice at the end of the game while shooting for the empty net. But I'm just being nitpicky. Oh, and Mike Babcock's voice for abandoning its team.

The Kris Draper Game Puck: Cory Emmerton - It has to be Emmerton! Dude was off his rocker all night. Checking hard, fighting for the puck and winning battles, and generated a ton of chances for his team, including a wicked snap shot from the slot. If he's going to play like this, he's just making it harder for Babcock to decide who to play every night as guys get healthy. 

10 Points to Griffins-dor: Brian Lashoff - Giving this to Lashoff is really just a microcosm of the defense as a whole. He was solid on the blue line, helped shut down the Oilers, and was jumping up in the plays to join the offense. He also seems to be getting more comfortable using his size against the other team, especially speedy skilled forwards.

The Perfect Puck: Patrick Eaves -  Eaves played his ass off tonight, had a ton of opportunities, played great all night and dished a great pass to Kindl for the first goal of the game. That pass is going to earn him the Perfect Puck tonight because it was just such a smart play that turned what should have been a broken, fail of a play into the game winning goal.

O' Captain, My Captain Game Puck: Jakub Kindl - Are you serious? Yes I am. Kindl, as I said, is following Ericsson's example and has started to play the kind of hockey we've expected of him. Maybe he's seen the writing on the wall finally with Lashoff playing so great, but he has obviously stepped up. This goal was such a great individual effort and I was impressed to seem him hang with it and finally bury it. It was a little dirty and fluky as hell, but he earned it.

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