*The title of this post was, originally, That. Just. Happened. But after publishing, I saw Chris’ post at Nightmare on Helm Street with the same title, so I had to come back and change it. He beat me to it. Also, go read it. It’s epic.
First of all, condolences to my partner in crime, Rob, whose alma mater lost in the BCS Championship. I didn’t watch much of the game, but I understand Colt McCoy was out with an injury early, but Texas made a game of it, anyway. Sorry bud, that’s a tough one to swallow, I’m sure.
Are you effing kidding me, Jimmy Howard?! What a performance. The best game by a Red Wings goaltender that I can remember. He absolutely stood on his head and stole that game for the Wings. There was a lot of nonsense being spouted on Twitter and elsewhere about how he looked doing it, even using “over-confident” as he kept the first FIFTY Kings shots out of the net. That’s flat out ridiculous. I don’t care how he looks doing it, as long as Howard keeps pucks on the happy side of the red line. No way Detroit deserved to win that game, and they absolutely do not without Jimmy Howard’s gutsy performance. He ended up saving 51 out of 52 shots against him.
Furthermore, do you think that Jimmy Howard came into this game with something to prove to himself and to Jonathan Quick? You may recall that Quick was selected as Team USA’s third goalie for the Olympics, a post that Howard’s numbers suggest he may have been a better selection. I know almost all of Red Wings Nation prefers Howard didn’t go to Vancouver for the Games, but I bet he has a tiny chip on his shoulder and he went into Quick’s barn and kicked over the lantern tonight. Sorry, Brian Burke, you screwed the pooch on that decision.
There was an absolutely crazy flurry at the end of the second period, and Howard stood on his neck, head, hands, knees, wrists, and knuckles. The play ended with a Todd Bertuzzi penalty in the neutral zone (of course it did). At the end of the second period, the Kings already had 35 shots.
Speaking of Retuzzi, anyone care to guess where he was when the game-tying goal was scored by the Kings? If you guessed “in the box because he had another dumbass penalty away from the play and 200 feet from the Wings net,” collect your winnings.
But fear not. For every Todd Bertuzzi, there is a Darren Helm (one each…see what I did there?). On a clear, Jonathan Quick went to play the puck, but it hadn’t made it to the trapezoid yet before Darren Helm threw on the afterburners, and forced Quick to retreat without making a play. Helm then continued his strong play along the boards, eventually coming up with the puck, and burying it with 18 seconds left in the game. Game Winner. All by himself. I love him.
This is one of those games I was talking about when I suggested it’d be great if there was consistency from game to game regarding the officiating. In the first period, especially, there were some non-calls (for the Wings, and against them) that in almost any other game this season would have been penalized. It was insane, the things that the Wings and Kings were getting away with.
REVISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Well I think my thoughts on Jimmy Howard are clear. He rebounded from his worst performance in awhile to give us his best. Unlike last game, where he rarely knew where the puck was, he almost never seemed to lose sight of it tonight. No, it didn’t look pretty, but I never felt like he was struggling, fighting the puck, or unaware of the puck (except on that Smyth wrap-around that almost snuck in). I can’t wait to see who Babcock goes with in net for the Sharks game. It would be insane to go with Osgood after this performance, unless it was his plan all along. Howard could use a rest, I suppose, after seeing more rubber than I assure you he ever did with the ladies.
2. Chief thought it would be Nick’s night for a goal. Not yet.
3. I thought it would be Z’s night for a goal. Not quite.
4. We needed a win in regulation, and – thanks to Darren Helm – we got it. I was 18 seconds away from resigning to the fact that we should have been pleased with one point, but my boy Helm knocked some sense into me, and some rubber into Quick’s net.