So long shoremen, Wings blank Isles 3-0

Winging It In Motown

Wings celebrating the 1998 cup win after beating the Capitals. I’m glad things worked out that way. The pre-game intro from Bally’s Sports Detroit with the narration from Chris Osgood was top notch.

The New York team for dockworkers and foulmouths is in town. They’re good. not great, but good. Husso starts and Oesterle is in for Hägg

We start off with Ken talking about how both of these teams dump the puck in a lot. I’m not keeping count of this, but maybe we’ll see if it plays out like one would expect after hearing that tidbit.

The teams start with some back-and-forth for a while. Detroit gets the first three shots on net, but the Isles just miss a few times. Just over three minutes in, New York takes a too-many-men penalty that sets up our first power play. The first unit gets some good Seider looks and Raymond retrievals then the second unit does that with Chiarot and Zadina but neither unit does anything particularly dangerous. The counterattack shift by the Isles creates their first real dangerous chance that Husso freezes.

Out of the first commercial break, the top line (now mysteriously featuring Pius Suter) creates a good rush but loses their structure and has to rely on Filip Hronek to break up an odd-man rush which HE DOES!

Perron comes on and draws a penalty for a hook from Alexander Romanov. Both units miscue too much either poking around the edges or forcing to covered players and nothing doing. Erne and Rasmussen both have good chances on the bump-up shift that they just miss.

Both teams turn up the heat along the boards and clog up the neutral zone as the 5-on-5 flow settles. New York turns up the pressure inside the last three minutes as a failed neutral zone pass gives a rush that Husso has to come up big on multiple attempts followed up by another key scoring chance for the Isles late. Larkin comes on and settles things down for the Copp line to follow up with some last-minute pressure.

The Score: 0-0
The Shots: 13-7 Detroit
Standout Observations: Kubalik’s wrecking-ball style stood out as did Raymond’s patience and Seider’s composure. Hronek was a pleasant surprise. The third pair was still a bit adventurous but not dreadful.

Fancywise, the Isles had more high-danger chances at 5-on-5. Detroit needed to have come out of that period with a lead.

The Red Wings are definitely going to get the first penalty of the second period.

The first trip through the line rotation goes well for Detroit. Elmer Söderblom just misses a net-side rebound chance off a Hronek point shot and then Michael Rasmussen gets a wraparound chance into the crease.

Five minutes in, we get some ugliness as Lucas Raymond steps up on Matt Barzal in the neutral zone and the Isles immediately start ugliness. Oliver Wahlstrom gets the only penalty out of the scrum and I was wrong about my prediction: Wings to the third PP of the game. 43 seconds into this one, Adam Pelech hooks Lucas Raymond to prevent a goal and we go 5-on-3.

In well-deserved fashion, Lucas Raymond is the one who scores on the advantage after having drawn both penalties.

The second unit comes out for the rest of the PP and has to break up a couple of rush chances against but don’t create anything dangerous themselves.

Husso’s first save of the period comes on a screened fluttershot that almost crawls over his shoulder at 8:30 of the period. The starter jumps on the loose puck to shut that one down. The Isles start smelling blood from there as they take over play for a bit, getting another great chance as a harmless spinaround shot from the half-wall is deflected on net off Hronek.

Detroit gets their next scoring chance stopped, but Zach Parise takes the net-front opportunity to cross-check Lucas Raymond into his own goaltender. Raymond hits his head on Varlamov and both players go down. Varlamov has to leave the game. Ilya Sorokin comes on in relief. Larkin takes a penalty out of this somehow and the Isles get a power play.

PIUS SUTER DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR BAD REFPUCK BULLSHITTERY 2-0 WINGS.

Nice plays by Seider and Erne to get that puck up the boards and out behind the Isles. Wings kill off the remaining PK time just before the most-dangerous Isles chance of the entire period (Husso kicks the puck out of his own crease to disarm the danger).

The wind-down minutes of the second have a lot more chippiness between both squads, but there are a lot of little plays by the Wings that do really well to close gaps and take away space. Matt Barzal is the only person who can regularly make any room and that’s only because he’s really damn good at that. Despite this, Hronek takes a holding penalty with 33 seconds to go with one too many little aggressive grabs of Anders Lee in a behind-the-net battle.

The Score: 2-0 Wings
The Shots: 22-12 Wings (9-5 in the period)
Standout Observations: Lucas Raymond was an absolute force in this period driving the Wings forward and Dylan Larkin did a lot of legwork to keep them from slipping back. I liked the checking of Rasmussen’s line. Despite Seider seemingly taking a lot of big hits, I thought he absorbed the contact pretty well.

Wings start with 1:27 left to kill in Hronek’s penalty and the Isles start with Varlamov back in net. The Woo Crew in the crowd brings the energy to start things off.

Michael Rasmussen makes a late block as the penalty expires and Detroit returns to form at 5-on-5 for at least a few more minutes before Gustav Lindström takes another behind-the-net holding penalty on Lee to give the Isles their third straight opportunity. Husso has to scramble pretty early in this one and his defenders collapse well around him to keep the puck out. Beauvilier gets a great look from the dot that’s also shrugged off, but Lindström escapes the box unscathed.

7+ minutes into the period, Matt Barzal streaks up the wing and makes a great cross-ice pass for a one-time attempt by Wahlstrom that he snaps off quickly only to find Ville Husso already square to the shot for another fantastic save.

At the midway point of the period, Detroit has taken zero shots and the Isles are within one of equaling that measure and then Dominik Kubalik happens and it’s 3-0 Detroit.

Detroit remembers how to play in the other zone after that and nearly get another with Raymond continuing to buzz.

These two also factor in on the next memorable play as Larkin breaks in on a wonderful neutral zone pass from Suter then feeds off to Raymond for a tip-in attempt that Varlamov stones. A minute later Barzal cherry picks up-ice, turns the corner on Chiarot and then gets stoned by Husso sprawling out to take away his room to tuck the biscuit in the far post.

Zadina blocks a shot from Ryan Pulock and has to be helped to the dressing room with just over five minutes left. New York comes out of the commercial break with Varlamov on the bench and create some pressure, but that’s broken up as Anders Lee is penalized for tripping Kubalik in the Detroit zone.

Detroit is happy to let the two minutes come off the clock without pushing. Veleno takes Zadina’s spot on PP2 for a spell but with a stoppage, Lalonde puts a defensive unit out for the last five. This plays out well as Varlamov leaves the crease again as Lee leaves the penalty box.

Husso loses his stick with 1:45 to play as he flails to make a net-side save. Hronek ices it 26 seconds later to at least get the goalie combobulated.

Wings kill off the clock. SHUTOUT.

The Score: 3-0 Wings
The Shots: 26-26 (14-4 for the Isles in this period)
Standout Observations: Ville Husso had to scramble a few times, but the way the defense kept opposition players to the outside of the crease really helped out. Chiarot and Rasmussen were very good defensively.

Zach Parise is being paid more by the Minnesota Wild to stay the hell away from them than the Islanders are paying to keep him around.

There wasn’t enough narrative import to put it in the recap proper, but at one point I get to type “Out of Elmer Söderblom’s reach” and then “not high enough” and that tickles me.

I kept wanting to make jokes about how putting Rasmussen on the ice when it’s the other team’s turn to get a power play is a gamble, but he played exceedingly smart in this one. As a big guy, he’s easier to call penalties on than others. He got decently caved in shot attempt differential but also did pretty well shutting things down where they mattered.

The third period was pretty much all score effects and the Isles were pushing hard to get Matt Barzal on the scoresheet, but I think this was an even better third than against Washington on Thursday. I don’t want them going ten minute stretches between taking shots on net, but I also don’t want them coming out of their posture just to chuck weak wristers at teams pressing.

I honestly don’t know enough about goaltending to tell you whether Ville Husso’s style is going to hold up over the long run, but he was downright fun to watch in this one. As long as the defense supports him like they did then I’m happy.

See you tomorrow for the next game. Wings at Rangers – 5pm.

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