Sunday, October 9, 2011

Regular Season Game 2: Thrice as Nice

Colorado 0 Detroit 1; 17:41 2nd period- Franzen (1) from Hudler (1)
Hudler carries the puck into the offensive zone with speed. Colorado has two defensemen back, so there won't be an odd man rush here. Hudler, however, has a wide open Johan Franzen behind and slightly to the right. No one is able to catch up to Franzen, leaving him primed for a one timer. Hudler spots him and drops the puck back, and Franzen puts a wicked snap shot on net.
Filppula creates an unintentional screen by cutting towards the front of the net. Moving right to left draws his defender with him, while the other defender is still skating backwards and watching Hudler. Both Colorado defensemen flow away from the shot. There's a momentary screen where Varlamov likely can't see the puck, and by the time the three guys in front of the net are out of the way the puck's behind him.

Colorado 0 Detroit 2; 11:58 3rd period- Zetterberg (1) from Datsyuk (1) & Cleary (1)
Detroit has a 3-on-2 rush here, and one of Colorado's defenders is in poor position to start. Zetterberg carries in along the right side, and the Colorado defenseman has to rush to try and cover him. Zetterberg sees the defender's approach and drops the puck to Datsyuk, his trailer.
The circled defender drops to one knee to try and block a shot from Datsyuk. Unfortunately for him there's no shot on its way. Instead, Datsyuk reads the defenseman in the box above and passes back to Zetterberg. The boxed in defenseman above can't charge Datsyuk, as that guarantees that Z is left open alone down low. He also can't play too close to Zetterberg, as that allows Datsyuk an open shot at the net and likely an open path if he chooses to drive. His only viable option is to play somewhere in the middle, allowing both room to skate and shoot. He's basically in a brutal Catch-22; he's truly damned is he does and damned if he doesn't. One last thing of note is how far out of his crease Varlamov is playing. He may be trying to cut down the angle, but it doesn't do much when the shot comes from the side and he can't get across laterally to square himself to the shooter.
Zetterberg has time and space to let loose a disgustingly beuatiful slap shot that beats Varlamov high. There's only so much that screnncapping can do here. If you can find a replay of this goal online I highly recommend it as there's just nothing quite like watching the Euro Twins work their magic on a 3-on-2 rush.

Colorado 0 Detroit 3; 17:40 3rd period- EN Datsyuk (1) from Cleary (2) & Conklin (1)
Dan Cleary tips an airborn puck down and settles it near center ice. He carries it into the offensive zone before dropping it to Datsyuk near the blue line.
Datsyuk lifts a shot that somehow arcs over the defense and hits the net.

The Good
Ty Conklin- Any time you get a shutout you'll end up on this list. Any time you get a shutout AND an assist, you'll...well, you'll still make the list but damn that's impressive. Conklin stopped a respectable 29 shots on the way to his first shutout of the year.
Euro Twins- They weren't on the same line the entire game, but when they were it was hockey perfection. Regardless of line combinations, Datsyuk and Zetterberg both look like they're in midseason form, and what's most impressive is they look that way at both ends of the ice. These are clearly two elite players still in their primes, and Detroit is all the better for it.

The Bad
Scheduling- Opening with back-to-back games, and one's on the road? Then having to wait until Thursday to play again? Might as well get used to it, because October's schedule is one of the stranger we've ever seen in terms of consistency. At least the Wings will get a few more days to practice and work on any systems issues that arose in the first two games.

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