The Wings came out the right way to start the game with plenty of pressure against Gibson and the Ducks. Nedeljkovic made a big save about 4 minutes in though as the Ducks’ Lundestrom made a nifty pass behind Detroit’s net to tee up a good shot.
Lots of good back and forth play in the first half, but none of the type that’s easily bloggable. One thing that stood out to me was Detroit’s back checking and stick lifting. Another thing was Anaheim’s ability to cycle the puck behind the net. A lot of physicality, too, especially a really nice hit laid by Lindstrom. I think there was about seven minutes of play without a whistle; not a lot of shots, but lots of good play by both teams.
Because of the lack of whistles, we then got three commercials stacked up in about six minutes of play, which had a weird effect on play. Maybe it was just me, but it was like the teams couldn’t get into a groove after that because of the frequent breaks. Detroit for sure tried to get a little too tricky and could have put up more shots if they simplified the game a bit.
Gagner got the best opportunity of the period after Smith won a neutral zone battle and chipped the puck center at the half boards. Gagner just couldn’t get the puck on his stick quite like he wanted to lift the puck or go five-hole, but definitely was the closest opportunity of the period.
Until the next shift. Lindstrom shuffled the puck forward to Zadina at center ice who hit Larkin with the pass just perfectly in stride. Larkin then burned Kevin Shattenkirk through the Ducks’ zone and and when backhander to lift the puck into the corner of the net, 1-0 Red Wings!
The remaining minute or so of the period closed out with Detroit holding Anaheim from any great equalizing opportunity to preserve the lead into the second.
Score: 1-0 Red Wings
Shots: 9-4 Red Wings
Stand Ups: Larkin, Seider, Lindstrom, Back Checking and Physical Play
Sit Downs: The Wings let the Ducks get too many nice passes off under the red line in their zone.
The Ducks got some momentum back early as the scored a goal within the first two minutes to equalize the score. On the drive in transition, Rickard Rakell took a cross-zone feed from Adam Henrique and snapped it past Nedeljkovic to make it a 1-1 tie.
Detroit would get the opportunity to get the lead back when Getzlaf took a penalty for high sticking. Bertuzzi missed the net on two scoring opportunities. Zadina had a beautiful attempt via a feed from Erne, but Gibson read it the entire way and sealed up the crease and Getzlaf would be able to walk out of the box with no damage on the scoreboard.
Detroit’s passing just wasn’t quite as crisp throughout the middle of the period, although the fourth line continued to play well. Gagner especially just held onto the puck multiple shifts and made great space for his team.
The two teams would then go back and forth late in the period as both squads got significant zone time on each other. And AGAIN Gagner set up a great play and a sure-fire goal for Veleno, but Veleno let the puck awkwardly roll off the heel of his stick. ARGH!
So the period would conclude in a tie with Detroit looking to end the deadlock in the third.
Score: 1-1 Tie
Shots: 17-9 Red Wings
Stand Ups: Seider, First and Fourth Line
Sit Downs: Veleno’s gotta bury that
Ken noted early in the period that Leddy was not on the bench for Detroit, potentially from a hit into the boards from everyone’s favorite, Trevor Zegras. It’s a bit scary with Anaheim having such a strong defensive group.
The period stayed fairly even keeled, though, without either team giving up too much to the other. If I had to say, the ice was slightly tilted Detroit’s way. Dylan Larkin and Nicolas Deslauriers got into a bit of a tiff, though, and both got sent to the box to create some 4-on-4 action. Detroit got a great opportunity just as time on the penalty was expiring through a Staal-Bertuzzi combo, but no dice.
Another eight minutes or so and the game marched on as it mostly had all night: a lot of good neutral zone play and movement with shots broken up by strong defensive play. Definitely not beer-and-pretzels hockey, but honestly I love games like this every now and then. There were a couple missed calls, but by now it was obvious that the refs mostly wanted the teams to just skate it and play it. Not a particularly dirty game or anything, but lots of stuff that would have been counted by other refs on other nights.
Late in the period, Seider sparked Larkin with a nifty between-the-legs pass. Larkin fire a powerful shot and Gibson gave up a juicy rebound which redirected off Hronek’s skate. The puck pitched up over Gibson to give Detroit the lead, but the Council of Doom in Toronto argued Hronek made a kicking motion, so no goal. No way he was aware of what he was doing, but that’s the way it goes I guess.
With that we headed to overtime.
Score: 1-1 Tie
Shots: 25-15 Red Wings
Stand Ups: Larkin
Sit Downs: The Shadowy Cabal in Toronto Who Ruled No Goal
Wings started with Larkin, Seider, and Raymond, but get little traction, so Suter and Bertuzzi make their way out and each nearly end it but can’t beat Gibson. A Fabbri shot got the o-zone draw, which Larkin won by diving to the ice and shoveling it out of the circle to Jordan Oesterle in the high slot. The defenseman slammed it home to beat Gibson, 2-1 Red Wings win it!!
Score: 2-1 Red Wings
Shots: 28-15 Red Wings
Stand Ups: Larkin, Oesterle, Seider, Bertuzzi, Suter
Sit Downs: No one. Solid OT period.
Ah man, that was a fun one. It definitely started to get more frustrating toward the end as the Ducks got a bit more physical and the refs still wanted the game to play fast and loose, but overall I didn’t mind the reffing standard too much. The Wings outplayed the Ducks and could have won it 3-1 in regulation if not for an ambiguous no-goal and a fanned Veleno shot, but they still get the result they want. Take em’ however you can.
As an aside, I thought Gagner, Smith, and Veleno had a great game, as did Lindstrom. The third line was really hit or miss, and Staal quietly had a pretty decent game. Great defensive effort overall to limit the Ducks’ shots like they did. Hopefully they can similarly smother LA when they come to the LCA on Wednesday. See you then!