Well, the Red Wings won the game, but lost another body. Johnny Ericsson’s left knee is going to be the story, but the Wings got past Ilya Bryzgalov and walked away with a 3-2 regulation win against the Coyotes. On to the festivities…
GATHER ‘ROUND CHILDREN, ‘TIS THE STORY OF KRIS NEWBURY
1. Who the hell? Kris Newbury?
2. What the hell, Kris Newbury?
3. WHAT THE HELL? KRIS NEWBURY!
4. What the hell, Kris Newbury?
5. Thanks for playing, Kris Newbury.
1. All joking aside, that was possibly the most awesome first shift imaginable. Kris Newbury gets a penalty immediately – an absolutely ridiculous goalie interference call. I don’t EXACTLY know how it works in the AHL, but I’m pretty sure you can’t hurdle goalies there, either. But before he can get to the bench from the box, he scores on a beautiful tic-tac-toe pass from Draper. He followed up that performance with another penalty. Kyle at BDS may have said it best: “If you thought Justin Abdelkader or Todd Bertuzzi took stupid penalties, wait until Newbury gets into the lineup.”
2. Justin Abdelkader came down the left wing on the penalty kill, ending in a relatively harmless play. Seconds later, Patrick Eaves came down the same wing and snapped a nifty wrist shot past Bryzgalov. It was only the second shorthanded goal of the season (Kirk Maltby had the other). For what it’s worth, my TPL partner-in-crime Rob more or less called the Eaves goal tonight. Via e-mail at 12:05pm, and I quote: “Candidate for breakout player: Eaves…I dunno…something…I love that kid.”
3. A goal didn’t come of it, but the first power play opportunity was absolutely phenomenal. Great passes, clicking at 100mph. If it’s a sign of things to come, perhaps the PP woes (giggity) will be solved, too.
4. Adding insult to injury, the first Coyote goal came while Jonathan Ericsson was clutching his knee on the ice. It looks bad, folks. I’m no doctor, but I do have legs – and mine don’t bend that way. I haven’t heard an update, but if I had to guess, I’m thinking MCL. The hit was clean, it was just unfortunate that Shane Doan’s knee collided with Ericsson’s. Later, Doan would take a puck to the face while on the bench. He stayed in the game, thus winning the Doan/Ericsson free-for-all. For the record, the whistle isn’t blown if Team A’s player is injured and Team B has possession. If all it took to get a whistle was falling to the ice, hockey would look like soccer (however, in defense of soccer, if you had me running for ninety minutes with no breaks and only three exchanges, I’d hit the deck as much as possible, too, to get some oxygen for 15 seconds).
5. Wait a second, Derek Meech scored?
6. Speaking of which, Ilya Bryzgalov looked really shaky. More than once, he was saved by defensemen, or the post, or Vishnu. The Wings got in his head early and stayed there, it seemed. More on that later.
7. Yet another Budd Lynch “Last Minute of Play” Goal against the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard rebounded from the last one, and seemed to rebound from this one, too. I’m mostly concerned for the first couple of minutes following an intermission after a goal like that, and Howard looked solid. Hopefully, he’s over those yips he displayed at the beginning of the season.
8. SURPRISE! Todd Bertuzzi continued his no-look passes to nowhere and spin-o-ramas, although one of the latter almost worked in the first. All in all, a pretty decent game, but I don’t have any curly fries coming, so he’s back on my shit-list. That’s how I roll.
9. Patrick Eaves played a hell of a game. Aside from that shorty, he had a ton of shots, and a lot of great opportunities. He was everywhere all night. I’m a big fan. As is Rob.
10. Brian Rafalski failed to clear the puck of the defensive zone TWICE in the final minute (after Bryzgalov vacated the Phoenix net). Dude. Get it OUT of the damn zone. I couldn’t believe the first one, a weak-wristed dribbler — and seconds later, again. Amazing. He iced the puck a moment later, just to get a second to regain composure. The Yotes won the draw, and had a good scoring chance with two seconds left, and Jimmy Howard bailed everyone out. Ballgame.
REVISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. The winning streak does, indeed, continue. That’s three in a row. This is a busy week for the Wings, with three more games coming up, so taking points where we can get ’em is imperative.
2. Bertuzzi didn’t play bad by any stretch of the imagination. But he didn’t score twice, either. Tease.
3. Zetterberg and Datsyuk were still buzzing, but nothing to show for it – goals came from the unlikeliest of sources.
4. Solving Bryzgalov was key. And solve him the Wings did. Like I mentioned above, he looked rather shaky, and at least a half dozen pucks got BY him – not necessarily into the net obviously, but he was certainly having trouble reigning shots in.
5. Howard played well — well enough to fend off Osgood for now. I feel like (and mentioned the same on the podcast) that he needs to play five perfect games to offset a good game by Osgood. That’s just how it’s done ’round here, and I’m sure he knows it. When all is said and done, he played well and didn’t make it any easier for Chris Osgood to “earn back” that starting role — assuming he lost it.
The Wings host the Lightning on Thursday. I have another holiday party to attend that night, which means Todd Bertuzzi will score 4 times.