Snap impression: much better, but still got work to do. More below.
King Nicklas: Lidstrom notched his 999th and 1,000th career points last night and became the first European defenseman to hit that number. When he got his 999th on Holmstrom’s goal, you knew 1,000 was coming. Great outing by the captain and one of the game’s true greats.
The Boy Kings: Referencing the Kings’ relative immaturity as evidenced by their repeated trips to the box. They’re a team that could go places, but only if they take care of that tendency to take badly-timed and dumb penalties. I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that they make the playoffs if they can stay out of the box.
Except that part…: The first period, that is. More specifically: their start. It was weak. Zetterberg made up for it later, but that blown faceoff just prior to the Kings’ first goal was bad. As was the coverage on Brown, who won the faceoff and went directly to the net, untouched. The Wings needed a better start than that, and the fact that they ended up pulling the win out doesn’t change anything.
Osgood: Strong game from him. He was helpless on the Kings’ two goals, both of which came either as a direct result of a deflection (#2) or indirectly as a result of one (#1). He was very sharp all night.
One disturbing trend with him: the Kings took every chance they could get to go to the net and bump him (an understatement in many cases). The Wings need to do a better job of protecting him because they really, really, really cannot afford for him to go down. If teams are going to start that crap, the Wings need to be able to discourage them. To that end, I’ll say that May’s presence in the lineup should be more the usual than not.
Two Finns and a Forehead (he’s got a big one, get it? Okay…nevermind): Williams, Fil and Leino were probably the Wings’ best line through two. I thought they fell off in the third and weren’t nearly as noticeable, but for the first 40, they were putting on a good show. You know Fil and Leino are good when they make Williams look like a hockey player.
Bertuzzi: I didn’t notice him a ton, except for his hilarious awkward fumbling of the puck on a nice chance with space just before Maltby swooped in and showed him how to put the puck in the net. Oh, and he was in on a 2-on-1 earlier in the game, but it ended up with him, as Triple Deke put it so well, apparently “trying to snipe a five year old in the stands with a wayward shot.” I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a shot from that close in go as high into the netting as that one did.
Hank: Bad faceoff just prior to the Kings’ first goal aside, I think he stepped his game up in a fairly big way. He notched the game-winner and overall looked better. There were a few spots where he seemed to be skating in quicksand, but the end result was positive. They’ll need more of that from himÂ (can I say that? don’t want to hurt his feelings, calling him out and all).
Lebda: Brett was +1 on the night. Just sayin’.
The penalty kill: … was killer. Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement, but it was much improved. The Kings did a good job generating pressure on most of their power plays, but the Wings did a great job killing them off. Here’s hoping that was the start of something.
Think you’re dedicated? See this:
That part after the “onthewings” link is me saying I’m done livetweeting for the night, soon after the final horn. Aleksey Kovaleich is Lexa1423 and he was watching the game live online up to that point. I’m a huge, huge fan, but I don’t know if I could do that. Awesome show of fanship, Alexsey. If you can read Cyrillic, check out his blog here.
Next up: The Avs are in town on Saturday. They got screwed by the refs last night, but still managed to pull off a win, so they’re not to be overlooked. Our old whiny friend Kyle Quincey is now with Colorado, as I’m sure you know (I still haven’t forgiven him for his attitude problems after he was returned to Grand Rapids for the 07-08 season after playing 13 playoff games the year before, hence “whiny.”). Should be an interesting game.