Vegas came into this game as beat up as any team I’ve seen since Kent Huskins donned the Winged Wheel. This information isn’t very applicable, though, because the Wings pretty much got dunked on after the opening period. Read on if you enjoy tales of melodrama.
Vegas was aggressive early against the Wings, who, according to Ken and Mick, are the only team to yet lose a game in the Knights’ barn. Vegas swarmed Greiss early and got a couple nice scoring chances, but Detroit held the line. Detroit would respond in kind with a couple chances of their own, but nobody could move the needle early.
Around seven minutes in Vegas fired a shot past Greiss and into the place where the net used to be, but since the net was off its mooring it was ruled as no-goal. Cue a commercial break.
Coming back from the break, Detroit pushed back hard, hard, hard. The Wings racked up several shots; Alex Pietrangelo stopped a sure goal by getting a stick in the way of Raymond while Lehner was wildly out of position. Really unfortunate, that one.
Vegas would get the first power play off a hooking penalty against DeKeyser. The PK would continue to play well and stymie Vegas, preventing any goal or even good scoring chances. It’s been a bright spot during this little swoon the Wings are in, the PK has.
There was a lot of skating back and forth through the remainder of the period as neither team managed to sustain control of the zone and cycle. Made you wonder if the teams would be gassed later from all the early pace pushing.
Also, how about that Trevor Thompson suit?
Vegas would end up on the power play again before the period came to a close, this time because Raymond tripped Nicolas Hague. The PK would do well again, though, with Rasmussen chewing up valuable time by charging the Vegas net after recovering the puck, then, after failing to find a shot, dishing it back to the neutral zone for his own defensemen. Great stuff.
The end of the penalty was basically the end of the period, so going into the locker room the Wings could try to find better ways to keep all five skaters on the ice because they were the better team at even strength.
Score: 0-0 Tie
Shots: 13-7 Red Wings
Stand Ups: The First Line, Hronek, the Penalty Kill
Sit Downs: Team Discipline
Early in the period Ras got caught with his head down; Ben Hutton drilled him, but it was a clean hit. Still, in the modern NHL you fight over that stuff, so Erne went after Hutton. Hutton got a couple good swings in, but Erne won the fight and went to the box alongside Hutton.
Vegas would get the last laugh, though, as they pressed in Detroit’s zone, created chaos in front of the net, and Nicolas Hague got a lucky bounce straight onto his stick. Easy shoot-in, 1-0 Knights.
Fabbri sprang Zadina off a real slick move on the transition and nearly scored. Too bad nearly scoring doesn’t mean a thing in this game. Back in the other direction, Vegas crashed the net, got another rebound, and blasted the puck against Greiss again. This time it was Zach Whitecloud. 2-0 Knights.
At this point, the shot count was 16-14 in favor the Knights. Go ahead and look at the final shot count at the end of the first so you can get a good feel for how poorly Detroit came out in the second frame.
Detroit got a great opportunity to get some momentum back via a Brayden McNabb puck-over-hand penalty, but the Wings did pretty much nothing for 1:50 of the power play.
A half-changed forward corps would end up inching the Wings closer though and give the team a desperate breath of fresh air. Veleno hounded the puck around behind the net. The pressure coughed the puck up to Larkin on Lehner’s doorstep. Larkin couldn’t seal the deal, but Givani Smith got his first point in the season by shuffle boarding the puck past Lehner, 2-1 Knights.
The Knights would strike back again, though, this time off a draw in Detroit’s zone. Zach Whitecloud was waiting for the puck off the draw and fired a quick shot from out by the blue line. The puck got redirected slightly, but Greiss lost track of it and whoops, 3-1 Knights.
The final four minutes of the period really framed the issue with Detroit: tired legs and sloppy passes. The team has got the talent, but they’ve played a lot of games this season thus far, more than anyone else. It was most evident when DeKeyser attempted a clear from along the half boards and had the puck knocked down by Keegan Kolesar. The puck made it’s way over to Paul Cotter in the slot. He went in all alone on Greiss and then it was 4-1 Knights to end the period.
Score: 4-1 Golden Knights
Shots: 22-21 Golden Knights
Stand Ups: Larkin, Zadina, Smith, Leddy
Sit Downs: The Power Play, Greiss, DeKeyser, the Third Line
Nedeljkovic came in for Greiss at the start of the period, which I think was the right call. Greiss hadn’t been totally awful, but he had also let in a few that I’m sure he wanted back. Buuut Nedeljkovic would get scored on by Reilly Smith on a stretch play on his fourth shot against. 5-1 Knights.
To their credit, that top line and top defensive pair just doesn’t quit. Bertuzzi rung one off the cross bar. Detroit actually had out-chanced Vegas through two periods. The problem tonight wasn’t so much the offensive play (besides a bit of bad luck) but how Detroit played when they didn’t have the puck, or they were in transition.
Otherwise, I’ll be honest with you, it wasn’t the most interesting period. One of the worst things is the world is watching your team get pounded in a boring game. I guess I’ve developed an increased respect for Zach Whitecloud’s game. The guy seems to put up points against Detroit every time they play.
Aaaaand of course Seider took a puck to the knee and limped off to the bench. We’ll keep an eye on that. Didn’t look good at all.
Detroit got a little bit of a morale boost on a bad play by Lehner late in the game that led to a Veleno, so 5-2 Knights, which is where the game would end.
Score: 5-2 Golden Knights
Shots: 32-28 Golden Knights
Stand Ups: The Red Wings when they could get the puck into the Vegas zone
Sit Downs: The Red Wings trying to get the puck into the Vegas zone
The Wings switched to the Eastern Conference in my early 20’s, so I never really appreciated how much these late starts suck, and how much worse they suck when the Wings get run through. You knew we’d still have some games like this, but you just wish they weren’t on these late starts. Anyways, I’m going to bed. Later, skaters.