Well, the Red Wings looked a little more like the Red Wings last night, as they put together enough of an effort (TWO periods instead of just ONE!) to earn a 5-2 victory over the surprisingly good LA Kings.
I’m hard on Ozzie when he blows, so — to be fair — I’ll admit that he played well in the winning effort, particularly in the first half of the game when he was seeing more rubber than usual. The first LA goal (from Dustin Brown on a rebound) left a little to be desired, but it seemed as if Osgood never even saw the puck as it hit him in the chest and arm before plopping back down to the ice right at the top of the crease. All in all, I’ll take 2 goals against on 26 shots. The fact of the matter is Chris Osgood did what a goaltender is supposed to do: put his team in a position to win – something that hasn’t been automatic this year or last.
Brett Lebda returned to the lineup, and I was expecting fireworks. He’s a fast kid with fairly good offensive instincts and I have to imagine that he was pissed he was in the press box for a spell – but he didn’t do anything overly outstanding, but did finish +1, which – I’m sure – lifted some weight from his shoulders.
Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby also returned after both were healthy scratches on Tuesday (which, by the way, was the first time that had ever happened). Maltby continued to show his scoring touch as he blasted a slapper past Jonathan Quick from about six feet away. Draper went 2-for-8 in the faceoff circle, which was a little odd to see. I think Uncle Mike was onto something when he called out the faceoff specialists, especially since the Dustin Brown goal was a direct result of a clean faceoff loss.
But the night belonged to Nick Lidstrom. Coming into the game with 998 career regular season points, he seemed, right from the beginning, like he wanted to get the milestone out of the way and get back to concentrating on winning hockey games. Two assists and a 90-second ovation later, Nicklas Lidstrom became only the second Swedish player in NHL history to net 1,000 career points – joining Mats Sundin in the uber-exclusive club.
- What happened to Niklas Kronwall? I never thought he was in the elite stratosphere or anything, but he really doesn’t look good at all this season.
- How long should I give Todd Bertuzzi before mocking him for falling down often and launching pucks 75 feet above the net on a clean shot?
- Valtteri Filppula is the best forward on the team. You heard it here first.
- Homer is on pace for 55 goals. Just sayin…
Bertuzzi deserves no time before mocking, in my mind.
Of course, when I say "he wasn't that bad" I mean nothing more than "he didn't actually try to kill anyone in a murderous rage," not that he had a decent game.