Update (6:25 PM): George Malik has posted his wrap-up for the game. – Matt
Update (4:33 PM): I should point out that last night was the first time in the Wings’ history that they had two penalty shots in the same game. – Matt
The Wings notched their eighth win in nine games last night with a 5-2 decision over the Florida Panthers. It was an exciting game, but also a strange one, with two own-goals and two penalty shots to go with continuous action and a good pace. It was definitely a different game than I expected.
Chris Osgood got the start for the Wings and played yet another solid game. He essentially had a shutout, as the Panthers were unable to beat him on their own and required the help of two of the Wings’ defensemen.
The game was not fast-paced and exciting from the start, as the Panthers managed to ice the puck three times in the first four minutes. For their part, the Wings were pretty sloppy in their own end and had trouble linking up passes. They turned the puck over a few times, but the Panthers only manged to lob it toward the net, where it either went wide or was blocked.
Gradually, the Wings got it together, however. Around the 4:20 mark, Dan Cleary had a glorious scoring chance from Pavel Datsyuk while Tomas Vokoun was without his stick. He nearly managed to stuff it in 5-hole, but Vokoun got his right pad in front of the shot and made the save. Following that play, the top line of Datsyuk, Cleary, and Henrik Zetterberg finished out their shift with some solid pressure.
At 5:03, the PanthersÂ took a penalty just after Vokoun made a big save with Johan Franzen right in his face. On the ensuing power play, the Wings set up well while Florida played an aggressive penalty kill. Nick Lidstrom, left wide open and found by Zetterberg, had a great chance to score, but sent it high and wide.
At 5:48, Florida took another penalty and handed the Wings 1:15 in 5-on-3 time. Although the first power play unit had been on the ice 45 seconds already, Babcock chose to keep them out rather than put fresh legs in. After Dan Cleary tipped the puck wide of the net twice, the Wings set up their first goal of the game.
Brian Rafalski, on the right point, sent the puck down to Zetterberg to Vokoun’s left. Hank sent the puck through the crease to Datsyuk, who put it in the net off Vokoun’s left skate. Pavel’s fortunate Vokoun’s skate was there, as the puck would have gone back through the crease rather than into the net without it. 1-0 Wings at 6:18.
Because the goal was scored while the Wings were still on a 5-on-3 power play, they continued to have the man-advantage. The only noteworthy thing that occurred before the Panthers killed off the penalty, however, was a nifty move by Nik Kronwall to fake out a defender at the blueline. It led to a Mikael Samuelsson chance, but not, unfortunately, to a goal.
By 7:30 of the first period, the Wings were leading 13-0 in shots.
Following the 5-on-3, the Wings continued their dominance. Johan Franzen nearly scored around the 9:10 mark when he sent a shot off a rebound through the crease. The fourth line did a great job of holding the Panthers in their own zone as they cycled the puck well and generated a lot of energy. Pavel Datsyuk made a nifty between-the-legs pass to Henrik Zetterberg, who promptly squandered a chance to drive to the net by wheeling around behind it, leading to nothing.
Throughout the first two-thirds of the period, the Panthers had little or no offense. They managedÂ their first shot at 8:14, but did not get a second until five minutes later. Chris Osgood earned cheers for making saves on both, as the fans were happy to see him get some work. Florida did eventually get going in the final 7 minutes of the period, though.
Richard Zednik nearly beat Brett Lebda around the 15:00 mark, but Brett managed to recover and make a nice defensive play at the last minute. That was the Wings’ defensive mode of choice in the final minutes of the period. The Panthers would get a great chance only to be stopped at the last second by the desperate play of a Red Wing, such as Valtteri Filppula, who broke up a sure goal with a well-timed poke-check.
The Panther’s surge came in the midst of an eight minute stretch of play in which there were no whistles. Chris Osgood finally froze it at 2:46, however, but that only led to a couple Florida chances after the faceoff. The last couple minutes of the period were fairly even, though .
Twenty seconds into the second period, Datsyuk stole the puck and somehow got it through to Zetterberg, who ended up running out of real estate, so the chance came to nothing.
At the other end, Olli Jokinen threw the puckÂ out front of the net and Nick Lidstrom, in an effort to clear it, ended up putting it in himself. His first swipe knocked the puck up in the air and when it came down, it bounce toward the net off his shoulder. Nick then tried to knock it out of the air, but only managed to knock it into the net. It looked worse live than it did on the replay, but it was still a shock. I don’t think he’s ever made a mistake like that in his career. 1-1 at :46 of the second period.
After the goal, the Wings’ second line of Jiri Hudler, Valtteri Filppula, and Mikael Samuelsson, together with Chris Chelios and Brett Lebda had a solid pressure shift, until Lebda fanned on the puck at the blueline. Not long after that, Dallas Drake had a couple scoring chances, but couldn’t capitalize. The Wings were looking a bit sloppy at this point.
Chris Chelios put the Panthers up 2-1 at 4:59. Radek Dvorak carried the puck in on a rush and took a shot that was stopped by Osgood. Chelios, following up on the play, took a swipe at the rebound in an effort to clear the front of the net, but he fanned on it a bit and it hit his skate and headed toward the net. He tried to knock it away again, but only managed to stuff it just inside the left post. Needless to say, Cheli was less than impressed with himself. Osgood could only shake his head.
Almost immediately after the Chelios goal, Zetterberg nearly scored on Osgood, too. I missed that one because I was still writing notes on the last own-goal, but it came on a flurry and disaster was only narrowly averted.
At this point, despite not having actually scored a goal, the Panthers were looking quite confident. They took a delay of game penalty at 7:35, however, and ended up giving up a goal as a result.
With Rostislav Olesz down on the ice after blocking a shot with his ankle, the Wings effectively had a 5-on-3 power play. Kronwall sent a shot/pass to Jiri Hudler to Vokoun’s left, but Jiri’s shot went through the crease and missed the net. Johan Franzen picked it up and stuffed it into the net with Vokoun’s help as the latter fell backward into the net with his hand on the puck.Â 2-2 at 8:58.
At 10:40, Valtteri Filppula took a holding penalty and put the Wings on the penalty kill. Florida’s power play did not last long, however, as Ruslan Salei was called for tripping Dallas Drake at 11:19.Â It was easily the worst call of the night, as Drake was already falling when Salei got mixed up with him at the blueline. For 1:21, the teams skated four-a-side, but nothing much of note happened. Pavel Datsyuk managed a couple shots on the Wings’ abbreviated power play, but that was all.
Chris Osgood made a great save on a dangerous Florida chance following a bad bounce in the Detroit end. Olli Jokinen and Nathan Horton were in on that one. Not long after that, Tomas Kopecky had a solid scoring chance of his own from Johan Franzen. Dan Cleary nearly scored off a feed from Datstyuk at 16:44, but Vokoun made a huge save on the tip.
The Wings went back on the power play at 18:00 after Richard Zednik slashed Datsyuk’s stick in half in the Detroit end. It was an incredibly dangerous play, as it would have easily brokenÂ Pavel’s hand had it landed anywhere other than the stick. Fortunately for the Wings, however, Datsyuk was not injured on the play, though he was bowled over Branislav Mezei before the play was whistled dead.
On the ensuing power play, the Wings’ second unit cycled the puck very well and generated a couple strong chances. The power play was cut short by another Filppula penalty at 19:18, however. It was another weak call, but may be seen as a make-up for the bad call on the Drake trip earlier.
With the teams skating 4-on-4, Pavel Datsyuk had a breakaway, but ran out of real estate and put the puck in Vokoun’s chest. He stayed with the play, however, and fed the puck to Lidstrom, who got off a shot that didn’t go in. The Panthers took it the other way, with Jokinen carrying, and had a great scoring chance developing when Zetterberg made a diving play to knock the puck away from the Florida captain. The play did not stop there, however, Nathan Horton managed to get his stick on the errant puck as it flew across the net and deflected it just wide.
At the start of the third period, the Panthers controlled the play, with Radek Dvorak wrecking havoc in the Detroit end. Gradually, however, play evened out as the Wings regained their feet.
Dan Cleary broke the tie with his 10th of the season at 5:40. Andreas Lilja lobbed the puck at the net and forced Vokoun to make a save, and Cleary picked it up from around his feet, knocking it in 5-hole. Brian Rafalski extended the Wings’ lead a 1:04 later with a blast from the blueline that beat Vokoun high glove side. It may have been deflected by a Panther on the way to the net, but it was not a screened shot at all and probably one Vokoun would like back.
At 7:47, Pavel Datsyuk got a step on the Panther defense and broke in on Vokoun. Although he got a shot off, he was hooked by the Florida defenseman and was awarded a penalty shot as a result. For those wondering whether or not that was the right call, Rule 25.8 says that four conditions must be met in order for a penalty shot to be awarded:
(i) The infraction must have taken place in the neutral zone or attacking
zone, (i.e. over the puck carrierâ€™s own blue line);
(ii) The infraction must have been committed from behind;
(iii) The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the
Referee, clearly would have obtained possession and control of the
puck) must have been denied a reasonable chance to score (the fact
that he got a shot off does not automatically eliminate this play from
the penalty shot consideration criteria. If the foul was from behind and
he was denied a â€œmoreâ€ reasonable scoring opportunity due to the
foul, then the penalty shot should be awarded);
(iv) The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the
Referee, clearly would have obtained possession and control of the
puck) must have had no opposing player between himself and the
Obviously, the play met conditions i, ii, iv. As for condition iii, the official must have decided Pavel would have had a better chance to score had he not been hooked.
So, Pavel Datsyuk got the Wings’ second penalty shot in three games. Unfortunately, he tried the same move he used in the shootout Thursday (backhand to forehand deke) and was stopped by Vokoun.
At 11:14, Valtteri Filppula picked up the puck following a Franzen chance and drew another penalty shot, as Vokoun threw his stick in order to stop another scoring chance. Fil used the same move he used in his first penalty shot, a deke to the backhand, and beat Vokoun over his left pad. Vokoun tried to poke check the puck away, but failed miserably. 5-2 Wings at 11:17.
The Wings took a penalty at 13:14, but put on a good kill as the Panthers managed only a scattered power play.
After the Florida power play, Mark Hartigan rang a shot off the post. Ken Daniels chose that time to inform us that the Wings needed one more shot to set a season high with 46. I thought, “And now they won’t get one.” For the next few minutes, it looked like I would be right, as they stopped forechecking and settled back into a defensive posture. They did finally notch that last shot with 40.6 seconds left , but it was a harmless long shot that Vokoun stopped easily. The game ended with Osgood freezing the puck after a late Florida push.
It was Mike Babcock’s 200th career win, but he won’t get the last game puck as Chris Osgood threw it into the crowd as he left the ice.
Overall, a solid game by the Wings and a much better one than I was expecting. I figured the Panthers would slow things up so much that they’d lull Detroit to sleep and win because of a garbage goal or two. I never dreamed I’d see Lidstrom and Chelios score own-goals like that and I never expected to see two penalty shots in the same game. I was impressed with the pace at which the game was played and enjoyed the long stretches where there were no whistles. I have to say, I like Dan Cleary with the Eurotwins, but I’ll be glad to see Tomas Holmstrom return to that line.
Hopefully the team will be ready to play a similarly active game against Washington on Monday.