Wings escape Montreal with shootout win

Oh, hockey gods, why do you hate me so? Back to back overtime games? With my Red Wings notoriously bad in the extra frame and/or shootouts? Thankfully, the Red Wings win this one in a shootout, on the shoulders of skill competition goals from Datsyuk and Zetterberg – and regulation goals from Stuart and Datsyuk. All in all, it was a great game to watch – lots of fun, but plenty of blown opportunities for the Red Wings to blow this game wide open.

The talk of this game will be Georges Laraque’s knee-on-knee with Niklas Kronwall, which was brutal and very intentional. It’s a little strange that it only earned him two (additional) minutes in the penalty box – but he was assessed a total of six minutes in penalties on that shift (after high-sticking Darren Helm a moment earlier). Whatever. Thanks for the two goals, Georges.

They’d be the only Detroit goals in regulation. Mike Cammalleri had both of Montreal’s tallies, and the teams headed to overtime tied at 2. After a fairly eventful overtime, I was admittedly a little nervous to see the shootout with Jimmy Howard in net, but he made a beautiful save on the first shooter (the very same Mike Cammelleri that buried two during the game) and the second shooter put one off the post. There wasn’t a need third shooters, and the Wings earned their eleventh win of the season.

1. Okay, seriously. How many damn jerseys do these people have? It’s starting to look like very minor league hockey with a different gimmick jersey every night.
2. I know Montreal Canadiens fans are notoriously douchy, but I loved hearing that crowd. The oohs, ahhs, boos, and cheers in unison was awesome. It was a sign that everyone in the building was (wait for it…) watching, caring and understanding what was going on. Pay attention, Colorado.
3. I enjoyed the HNIC commentators, too. How old-timey is that one guy who says DETROY-IT? I felt like I could have been watching an Original Six game from 1930. Except I was watching it on television. And in color. And there was a black guy in the game.
4. Either the Montreal penalty kill is exceptional, or Detroit’s power play sucks donkey nards. Yes, the PP had two goals, but with various 5-on-3s and playing the entire first period on the man advantage, it should have been 5-0 heading for the first intermission. They were relatively useless in the first three minutes of the PP and I question Justin Abdelkader on the man advantage at this point in his career. I love the kid, but he looked a tad out place and couldn’t really get a handle on the system. But if you’re on the fifth of a six minute power play, you’re probably running out of bodies to put on the ice. That said, Datsyuk’s goal was a thing of beauty. Absolutely wonderful re-direct. Brad Stuart’s goal was odd because it seemed like it SHOULD have hit all kindsa stuff on the way in, but instead it went straight in. It was a great shot from a guy that was shot-crazy (with 8 in the first period).
5. Was that Brian Rafalski that passed the puck directly to Mike Cammalleri in the defensive zone in the first period? What the hell was that, his Todd Bertuzzi impression? While we’re on him, Bertuzzi truly is useless. Losing the puck during a 5-on-3 because he refuses to pass to anyone – to a guy a foot and a half smaller than him, no less – is absolutely unacceptable. He’s supposed to be the big, dumb, strong kind. Instead he’s just big and dumb. In related news, he’s on pace for 12 goals. Here he comes, Maurice Richard Trophy!
6. I had planned on watching the Satellite Hotstove, but as I was fast-forwarding through it, I didn’t see Pierre LeBrun shoving his fat head into a retarded helmet prototype, so I kept going.
7. Jimmy Howard should have had the first Cammalleri goal a few seconds into the third. A shot from that far away shouldn’t get past you unless it redirects a handful of times. He had no chance, however, on that second goal. Yeah, Nick Lidstrom made an ill-advised pass, but he could do that once a game and I wouldn’t be mad at him because he plays the rest of the game like a robot.
8. Patrick Eaves played a hell of a game. As a matter of fact, everyone on the third and fourth lines played really well. I especially liked Drew Miller jacking up Laraque’s face and then pretending he didn’t know he did it. Attaboy! Eye for an eye. Or in this case, eye for a knee.
9. I’m starting to feel bad for Ville Leino. Homeboy couldn’t buy a goal tonight. And he really did have a few chances – from fairly close in, too. He’s doing a lot of things right, getting to the right spots, and going to the front of the net. He just can’t seem to pot one. But they’ll come, I still have faith that he can find his finishing touch.
10. Really physical game, eh? I feel like Detroit held their own – even without the services of Niklas Kronwall.  Everyone seemed to embrace the physicality of tonight’s game and it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch (minus the Kronwall injury, obviously).

What’s next?
Headin’ to the hotbed of hockey: Tennessee. Nashville Predators on Monday. Yeehaw.

Photo Credit: Graham Hughes, AP/The Canadian Press