Since I didn’t catch the Wings/Blue Jackets game, here are some thoughts on the Griffins/Americans game we attended. It was a 4-3 shootout loss to Rochester.
Smith: He had a huge hit in the first period, running over the Amerk player inside the Rochester blueline. On the power play, he held the role of quarterback and did alright with that
Throughout the game, I tried to keep an eye on his apparent effort level and I’m starting to think he just plays a more leisurely game. Maybe he’s looked at Lidstrom and thinks that leisurely is the path to effortlessness and perfect minimalism of movement, but so far he just looks like he’s coasting at times.
Two other individual Smith highlights: his third period offensive zone penalty that took place below the goalline and his game-losing shootout attempt that got stopped by the Rochester goalie.
Nyquist: Not his best night. Megan says he doesn’t usually look like he did, but as it was, he seemed unalert to the puck offensively and just kinda out of it. I was unimpressed with his offensive game, though defensively he wasn’t bad.
The offensive complaints melted away, though, when he busted out the Zetterberg in the shootout. It was awesome.
Tatar: Tots never disappoints in terms of effort level. The kid’s so much fun to watch, whether he’s stealing the puck out front and setting up a huge solo chance or just taking command in the zone.
He was the lead dude in generating offense all night, and finished with a goal and an assist. They initially credited his goal to Andersson, so when I saw again on the replay how emphatically Â he celebrated, I remarked to Megan that he must have gotten it instead. She said it’s not unusual for him to celebrate a teammates goal like that, which is pretty awesome, even if in this case, it was his goal.
One criticism: too many attempted moves in the shootout, Tomas. None of them fooled the goalie.
Conner: He’s fast. But finished -3. He did score in the shootout, though.
Brunnstrom: He doesn’t play his size. The rest of that note on him is “Brunnstrom is variably good/ungood.” That about sums it up.
Callahan: Had a pretty heavy fight with an Amerk in the 2nd. Started out a little slow, but they both got in some serious head and body shots. I found myself more interested in what those fists were doing to brains than in the entertainment factor of the fight.
Lashoff: A fringe prospect at this point, but nonetheless had a strong night, notching a goal and making some strong defensive plays. Most notably, he recovered very nicely when Aubre coughed up the puck to set up a Rochester chance. Lashoff caught up with the guy and stole the puck back to negate it.
MacDonald: That note on Brunnstrom could apply to Joey, too. He looked bad on the first goal allowed and then was overall sharp the rest of the night as far as regular play. In the shootout, he was beaten easily on the first two shots, and made the third save. Then after Brunnstrom put the puck off the pipe, he made the 4th save initially, and then forgot about it. It trickled into the net. To his credit, he made the fifth save, but by then, the game was on Smith’s stick and it didn’t work out.
Thomas: The new kid, the one they got for Amadio, is not Red Wing property, but I’ll mention him for the absolutely, flat out incredibly glorious chance he had in OT, with a wide open net. He put just about a perfect shot on it, but somehow Rocherster goalie David Leggio got across and absolutely robbed him. Ridiculous.