Sunday, November 13, 2011

Regular Season Game 14: We Gone Done Struck Oil, We Did

This was a swing game. It may seem ridiculous to declare that in early November, but I think we'll look back on this game later in the year and see it as a turning point. The difference between an actual winning streak and a couple of wins in the midst of a losing streak was this game.

Jimmy Howard pitched a shut out at the most opportune time, something that (along with his ridiculous stats) signals his progression from serviceable goaltender to elite netminder. The Wings defense shut down an Edmonton team loaded with young talent in a convincing enough manner that any "this team is too old" comments should be put to bed for good. I truly believe that this team has a perfect mixture of veterans and young guns, guys in their prime and guys with potential, grinders and goalscorers. Sure, this was just one game, but this one game was a momentum shifter and a necessary win to keep in divisional contention.

1st Period:

Detroit 1 Edmonton 0; 10:35- Miller (1) from Eaves (1)
Edmonton makes a mistake in their own zone that will lead to a turnover that Detroit takes advantage of. The mistake occurs with the puck deep in Edmonton's zone. Passing lane 1 could potentially be available, but Miller is close enough that it isn't guaranteed. Passing lane 2 is completely shut down by an oncoming Wings forechecker. Passing lane 3 is dangerous because a mishandled puck means a loose puck in the slot. Passing 4 is the safe choice, moving the puck away from the pressure of an oncoming Wings forechecker. The only problem? Count how many Oilers are on the left side of the ice. 4. That means they're going to have to be damn lucky for that one other Oiler to be in the right place at the right time.
Ok so they're not lucky. The Wings pick it up along the halfboards and Eaves immediately puts one on net. Khabibulin gives up a big rebound right to Drew Miller. Look at how far away anyone is from Miller. No one has a shot at defending him, and he wastes no time in putting it away for his first of the year.

2nd Period:

Detroit 2 Edmonton 0; 2:05- Kronwall (3) from Hudler (4) & Abdelkader (2)
Edmonton tries to go D-to-D but get stood up in the corner. The puck is loose and Abdelkader wins the race for it.
Abdelkader taps it to Hudler, who sees Kronwall at the blue line and nudges a dangerously slow moving pass towards him. All of Edmonton's defenders are low in the zone, so Kronwall is going to have an undefended shot.
Kronwall steps into the shot and absolutely rips it. Khabibulin is square to him, so this is a silky smooth goal. I guess this is what getting offensively Kronwalled looks like.

3rd Period:

Detroit 3 Edmonton 0; 14:52- Filppula (3) from Zetterberg (3) & Franzen (6)
The play starts off of an Edmonton turnover in their offensive zone. Franzen comes up with the puck and starts the breakout with a nice pass to Zetterberg. The Wings have a 2-on-1 and Zetterberg waits for his defender to make a move. The Edmonton player tries to take away the passing lane to Filppula, but Z somehow finds a way to thread it through to Filppula.
The pass is just within Filppula's reach and he taps it in to ice the game and the win for the Wings.

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