The game basically started with the Wings misplaying the puck along their boards, allowing Freddy Gaudreau to make a tic-tac-toe pass to Matt Boldy (who scored a hatty against Detroit about a month ago) via Kevin Fiala. 1-0 Wild. Sure, there was a faceoff and stuff before that, but within 90 seconds Detroit found itself down a goal.
Five and a half minutes in, the Wings finally broke lose of the Wild swarm and Robby Fabbri registered Detroit’s first shot on goal. Then on the next shift, Jakub Vrana got a little help from Gagner and Veleno to win a board battle deep in Minnesota’s zone. I don’t think Cam Talbot was expecting Vrana to come away with the puck cleanly, nor snap it as quickly and as high as he did, which was good for Detroit. 1-1 Tie! And the look on Vrana’s face was that sort of grimace when you’ve just come down from a rage and now you’re emotionally emptied.
Detroit would come back a little later on the power play thanks to Nick Bjugstad putting the puck over the glass. The first power play unit got a few whacks in, but it was mostly a squandered opportunity.
From there on it was mostly a fierce neutral zone battle. Then Ned just forehanded a bouncing puck into his own net like a ping pong ball in his parent’s basement. 2-1 Wild. The goal is awarded to Joel Ericksson Ek.
Detroit would prove their mettle, though, with Raymond driving through the neutral zone, then passing back to Nick Leddy at the center of the blue line. Leddy did his best impression of Pavel Datsyuk and spun to shake his defender, then pitched the puck right back to Raymond. Cam Talbot totally misread the spin, leaving enough open net to fit a whole truck stop. Raymond didn’t miss the mark. 2-2 Tie!
Zuccarello got called for tripping, giving the Wings another chance on the power play. With 20 seconds left in that powerplay, Jordan Greenway hit Dylan Larkin in the visor with his stick, giving Detroit a brief 2-man advantage. They couldn’t convert on the Zuccarello call, but holy cats did they ever on the Greenway penalty. A nice little passing action between Leddy and Hronek, then Hronek made a rubbery pass across the slot to a waiting Vrana, down low by the red line. Vrana had to dive to get the shot off, but the sharp angle shot found it’s mark behind Talbot, 3-2 Red Wings!
Score: 3-2 Detroit
Shots: 10-9 Detroit
Stand Outs: When was the last time Detroit scored four goals in a period?
Sit Downs: Detroit was the more consistent team, but when they were bad they were really bad. In particular, Minnesota bullied them at times.
Minnesota started the second like they did the first; swarming Ned and pinning the Wings in their own end. Detroit weathered the storm this time, though. Six minutes in, Lucas Raymond dumped the puck into Minnesota’s boards, then chased the puck down. The puck made it’s way over to Namestnikov, who got the puck to Nick Leddy coming into the circle, back to Raymond, score! 4-2 Red Wings!
Sparks nearly flew between Marcus Foligno and Marc Staal, which probably would have been bad news for Foligno, but it got his team back in the right mindset because once Ras got sent to the box for interference, Minnesota took advantage and Eriksson Ek cut the lead to 1.
Eriksson Ek worked to tie the game up by pushing Suter into Nedeljkovic, allowing Spurgeon to get the puck in the net from far out, but Blash elected to challenge and won, preserving Detroit’s lead.
Detroit finally got some traction after getting hammered for about 8 minutes and got a few more shots on net. Minnesota eventually gained control again late in the period and continued to win battles below Detroit’s net, like they had all night. Minnesota crashed the net for one last attempt as the period closed out, resulting in what gets as close to an actual line brawl in today’s NHL. Eriksson Ek held Larkin and Raymond wrestled Dumba down while the rest of the players kind of moshed in front of Detroit’s net. Even Cam Talbot skated down. Eventually Dumba flipped Raymond to the ice and then punched him twice, leaving blood on the ice. Larkin broke free of Eriksson Ek and tried to peel Dumba away, but the refs wouldn’t allow it. The rest of the skaters converged onto the pile once again, but the refs dispersed the teams more successfully the second time around. Lots of F-bombs thrown all around, lots of penalties to be handed out at the start of the third, I’m sure.
Score: 4-3 Detroit
Stand Outs: About the half the shifts Suter’s line took against Eriksson Ek’s line.
Sit Downs: The other half of those Suter line’s shifts against Eriksson Ek and friends.
When the dust settled, Detroit ended up with the advantage but couldn’t convert. Unfortunately, Minnesota did convert on the following shift because several players looked at Matt Boldy and decided he didn’t need to be covered in the slot. 4-4 Tie.
Nick Bjugstad and Joe Veleno scrummed again (and of course Dumba felt the need to tackle someone again.) So we headed to 4-on-4 play. Rasmussen tried to get Dumba to dance, but Dumba wouldn’t go. The fans even began to boo Dumba when he touched the puck a handful of seconds later. Raymond nearly got the hatty and took the lead with 2 seconds left in the 4-on-4, then things got chippy again.
Despite some harrying, Minnesota would gain the zone and puck control with about 8 minutes left and get the puck to Matt Dumba. He fired a wrister, Ned let up a juicy rebound, and after a couple attempts, Kirill Kaprizov cracked the tie after a relatively quiet night from him. 5-4 Wild.
Ras had a great sequence gaining the zone and nearly tied the game back up; the puck laid in front of Talbot after the shot and he had no idea where it was, but there were too many bodies in the way to find any open net. Afterwards, Ras tried to get Dumba going again, but the refs protected him.
After several more minutes of tight play, Zadina hauled the puck like hell on wheels over 100 feet, wrapped around Talbot’s net, and dished the puck to an open Oesterle. The defenseman made no mistake. I don’t think Talbot even really saw it. 5-5 Tie!
That’s the way regulation would end, so overtime, because that’s the way this one was always going to end.
Score: 5-5 Tie
Shots: 34-33 Detroit
Stand Outs: Zadina, Oesterle, Nedeljkovic
Sit Downs: Ras and Leddy on Minnesota’s fourth goal.
Oh boy. Seider, Larkin, Raymond, versus Eriksson Ek, Kaprizov, and Brodin, but the puck goes out of play. Veleno, Vrana, and Leddy get some more up-beat play, but no budging either way. Couple good saves from Ned. Then a lot of free flow play and it was hard to keep track of who was on the ice. Then to the shootout.
Score: 6-5 Minnesota
Well, can’t say I was overly surprised with the result once it got to a shootout. Minnesota played a heavy, heavy game against Detroit. From that aspect, it was interesting to watch two teams built radically differently go up against each other in such a close game. Dumba’s assault against Raymond makes my blood boil, though. What he did was so profoundly dangerous and unsportsmanlike. Suspend him. He should get five at least. We’ll see what, if anything, the DoPS does, though.