Was that sixty full minutes by the Red Wings? If it wasn’t, it sure looked like it. Marty Turco continued his streak of awful, awful play in Detroit as a pro, and the Wings won 4-1 on the strength of goals from Drew Miller, Darren Helm, Dan Cleary, and Bodd Tertuzzi (I’m not ready to say his name yet, but acknowledging his existence is an important first step).
Everyone was on their game tonight: another strong outing from Jimmy Howard, who had earned a second straight start after defeating the Blues on Saturday; the defense played well top-to-bottom (though, once again, I don’t recall seeing Lebda or Meech); Z and Datsyuk did what they do, and the third and fourth lines grinded (ground?) and drove (drived?) the game their way.
Detroit won back-to-back games for the first time since November 12th and 14th – which doesn’t sound like that long ago, but it was. Trust me. The Wings were 8-5-1 this month, which is actually a significant improvement over October even though it featured a three-game losing streak and back-to-back shutouts at home for the first time since 1977. November was kind of a bitch, but thankfully, she’s gone.
1. Drew Miller. Best free acquisition of all-time? I know there’s some debate about whether or not he actually beat out the icing, but he certainly seemed more willing to play through the whistle than Karlis Strastins. Great job gaining possession after a little joust, and we were all rewarded with a goal. That was a great hockey play.
2. How about those ten minutes in the first period where there were no whistles? It was like pond hockey. Everyone’s legs looked weary – reaching out for something to hold. And it ended in the most glorious of ways: with the Red Wings netting their first goal at home in, like, six years.
3. I don’t care if Kris Draper was passing to Todd Bertuzzi, Darren Helm got the puck that Bertuzzi missed (or wasn’t intended for him, but much more likely missed) and BURIED it. He looked 300 pounds lighter as soon as rubber hit netting.
4. Speaking of Helm, we all know the man-love I have for him. We’ve tossed around the idea of having a 23-man roster of Darren Helms, but our new friends at Red, White and Black-n-Blue would settle for an all-Helm PK unit. I CAN go for that, especially after seeing his minute-long shift on the kill on Monday. He’s just so full of awesome while shorthanded.
5. On the Wings third goal, Danny Cleary just went to the net. It was dirty, it was mucky, it was un-Wings-like. And it was beautiful. It made-a my dreams come true.
6. Did you see that puck trickle through Jimmy Howard’s legs as he nonchalantly attempted to play it? Good lord, can you imagine if that had gone into the net? Notoriously-hard-on-goaltenders Red Wings fans would have run him out of the building. Let’s not get too cocky yet, Howie, we’re watching you. We see your every move.
7. Brett Lebda was +3 tonight. Let that marinate for a second. He led all players. There were only two players in the NHL that were +4 on Monday, meaning BRETT LEBDA had the third highest +/- in the NHL – if only for a day.
8. Jimmy Howard has been in the net for the last six Red Wings wins. He has seven wins on the season, which is one more than Chris Osgood – who has played two more games than Howard.
9. Bert’s goal may have been flukey, but it was a shot he should have taken. Good on him. Here’s hoping that a shootout goal followed by a regulation goal is the tonic he needs to get off his personal schneid.
10. Just a reminder, the Wings Blog-Off is underway at the NHL Arena. Thank you to everyone that’s voted for TPL so far. We’re very thrilled to have you stopping by every day! If you haven’t yet voted for your favorite Wings blogs (and there are plenty of them), click here.
REVISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Fabian Brunnstrom didn’t end up playing after all, but he ALMOST outplayed Ville Leino anyway.
2. Alex Auld did NOT play, and Marty Turco kept up his streak of FAIL at Joe Louis Arena.
3. Well, we straight up called this one. The third and fourth lines were – again – the most noticeable on the ice, but our boy Darren Helm finally flipped the monkey off of his back.
4. Johnny Ericsson once again played well. Aside from his weak penalty (that shouldn’t have been), he was flawless and a +2 on Monday.
5. Whatever the reason he was playing back-to-back games, Jimmy Howard looks like the number one goaltender at the moment. He leads in all of the following categories: wins, goals against average, save percentage, and he’s allowed six fewer goals in only 24 fewer minutes played.
What’s this?! Two whole days off in between games? Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.