And with that, the Wings end the first half of the season. After 41 games, the Red Wings are 21-14-6, and are on pace for 96 points. At this point last season, they were 29-7-5 with 63 points.
TPL’S TAKE (Part I – Rob’s post coming soon. Guaranteed Lulz)
On a delayed penalty, and with Jimmy Howard already on the bench, Todd Bertuzzi rifled a pass back to the blueline, which was missed, and it sailed dangerously close to the empty net. I was expecting 75 emails, texts, tweets and phone calls, but apparently that only happens when Todd does something NOT retarded.
Nick Lidstrom ALMOST buried a shot in the first period. It was followed up almost immediately by the first Homer goal, a tip-in. Later, Holmstrom would guide a perfectly redirected Lidstrom shot into the net for his second of the game. It’s been said by folks smarter than I am, but here it goes anyway: Tomas Holmstrom is the best net-front player of all-time (Cue Dino Ciccarelli photoshops… “Yo, I’m real happy for you, and Imma let you finish…).
That third line of Kris Draper, Darren Helm, and Patrick Eaves is simply nasty. The chemistry they have is incredible. I think it’s time to lock up Patrick Eaves on the cheap. I’m thinking four years. Speaking of Eaves, he looked damn good in his first game back from the flu. Didn’t seem to miss a step at all.
There were some weak penalty calls in quick succession in this one. The Lebda slash was pretty weak, but they’ve been making that call all season, so it wasn’t ridiculous. Darren Helm’s roughing call while already on that penalty kill was retarded. Fox Sports Arizona didn’t show many replays, but even the Coyotes announcers (who, aside from Dave Strader, are absolutely mind-numbing) felt it was a dumbass call. I thought hockey was a contact sport, but some of these penalties lately would have me think otherwise.
Jimmy Howard looked great tonight, quietly. He made some rather tough saves, 35 in total, and walks away with yet another victory and only one goal against (he had no shot on the Coyote tic-tac-toe 5-on-3 goal). There was a 2-on-1 save that I promise would have gone in on Osgood. Instead, Jimmy Howard made it look like an easy save. Like, ya know, it was.
Pavel Datsyuk snapped a nifty wrister past Bryzgalov, as it looked like the Coyotes had already given up at that point. Once again, the top line of Datsyuk, Bertuzzi, and Holmstrom was the most noticeable – as they should be – and Pavel is finally kinda-sorta taking the offense over, with his second goal in two games. But….
Darren Helm sealed it with another empty netter: his second in two games — and third goal total in that span. Take THAT, Pavel.
I don’t remember even seeing the following players: Doug Janik, Ville Leino, Derek Meech, Brett Lebda, and Brian Rafalski.
REVISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. A very pleasant start to 2010. I’ll take 4-1 wins through June, thanks.
2. Flip may not have looked as strong as he did on Thursday, but he is a damn good hockey player. He didn’t look NOT strong, he just didn’t stand out in the way I thought maybe he might.
3. I’m hoping for seven or more points on this road trip, and these two points are a great start. Keep it going…
4. Ritola looked fantastic. He started on time tonight, and totally fit in on his line and certain instances of the power play. He’s going to be a good player when he gets up full time, maybe as early as next season.
5. Jimmy Howard. Not quite sure if anyone has any argument anymore. He’s your starter. Even Chris Osgood apologists have to agree that five starts in a row, when Osgood isn’t sick or hurt, means something. Ozzie only played five straight ONCE in the last season and a half (excluding the playoffs), and he was the definite starter for those months.