Not Pretty, Mostly: This game in the best of circumstances (read: full health) was a classic trap game. Last night, with Datsyuk and Lidstrom out, and a Quincey-sized hole in the defense filled by Doug Janik/Brendan Smith, it looked even more like one. Then the first and second periods happened and it looked even more like one. By the time Derek McKenzie made it 2-1 Columbus, it was flat out depressing.
Then the Wings said, “Screw this,” and took over. That part was awesome. Doesn’t erase two periods of playing down to the Jackets’ level, but it does move that to the background.
Joey: Looked sharp, though I thought he could have had the McKenzie goal. In the spans where the Jackets were putting on pressure, he held the Wings in it.
Smith: Picked up where he left off looking much better in the NHL than the AHL. Finished +1 and managed 13:15 in ice time.
Janik: Demonstrated that the players we watch are not static. The Janik we remember and joke about is not the Janik we saw last night. He’s gotten better, and did a good job filling in.
Gameplan: I maintain the position I had on the Montreal game: nothing about this was an indication of Life After Lidstrom. It would be nice, though, if they could have a Lidstrom-less gameplan, because while I know they’ll have an off-season to prepare for that eventual day, they now look somewhat leaderless when he happens to be out on short notice.
Hudler: Garth, I think I found the specific need Kyle Quincey addresses. That is, the specific need to not have Jiri Hudler on the point on the power play, ever. Awful showing, Jiri.
Zetterberg: Sick shot on the goal as he continues to heat up. Better late than never.
Franzen: Looked more motivated than usual in this one. Maybe he needs to be banished to the third line more often.
Mursak: Good to see him score a goal. He’s only had 12 games to get one, but hopefully he’ll be able to notch a few more before the end of the season.
Filppula: One reason I’m not so concerned with the lack of a forward acquisition at the deadline. Fil’s having a great year and is oozing confidence. His goal was a great example of that, coupled with patience.
Sometimes what a team needs is just for its own players to get better. Fil’s not static either.
The Race: The win put the Wings ahead of the Blues for at least a night (St. Louis plays in Edmonton tonight), and gave them an opportunity to take first from the Canucks. As of the end of the Wings game, the Canucks were winning the points percentage tie breaker, but a Canucks regulation loss to Phoenix would have put the Wings ahead. Unfortunately, the Canucks lost in a shootout instead and earned a point that puts them on top with no tie breaker involvement.
Next: The Wings get an extra day between games and faceoff against Minnesota on Friday. The Wild are five points out of 8th place, and will play in Montreal tomorrow night.