Update (11:06 AM): Big fail on my part: not mentioning Pavel’s hitting 700 points last night. Big milestone for a great player. Have another 700 in you, Pavs? Â – Matt
That’s More Like It: The Wings played pretty much exactly the kind of game you’d like to see out of them in their situation: with the Division-leading Blues playing on the same night, they left nothing to chance. They capitalized on Sabre mistakes and put the puck in the net five times to earn an emphatic win. Sure, it was against a weak Eastern opponent rather than a statement made against a Western or Divisional rival, but that’s part of the point. In a game that otherwise meant nothing, the Wings kept themselves from falling further back.
They can now take a one-point lead in the Central with a win tonight.
Jimmy: Wasn’t tested all that much by the Sabres, but acquitted himself well when he was, turning aside all 27 shots he faced. It looks like his little break is paying off.
Datsyuk: Three points on the night, including a beautifully accurate backhanded pass to Franzen to set up the Wings’ second goal. He looked great, and his line was the best of the night.
Zetterberg: Finally got a goal and it was a pretty one: he sniped the top corner back across Miller’s body against the flow of the play. More of that please, Hank.
Bertuzzi: Turning up the heat, and reminding us of his value.
Ryan Miller: I guess it’s probably just a fluke season for him, but it’s hard to watch how far he’s slipped. I hope for his sake he can find his game again. And that the Sabres surround him with competent hockey players.
Mickey Redmond reported that Miller went down the tunnel at the Joe and shattered his stick against something down there. I don’t blame him.
Drew Miller: Pretty cool that he was able to get a point against his brother finally. The two are probably too professional to let it bother them, which is good, or else Drew’s assisting on the goal that got Ryan yanked could make the next family gathering pretty awkward.
15 Consecutive Home Wins: It’s pretty cool when the Wings can break a franchise record. The bar’s pretty high.
One Downer: I have to point out that before the Wings’ outbursts, the Sabres generated a saddening amount of pressure in the Wings’ zone. It was mostly in the form of grinding, but a team in as much trouble as the Sabres shouldn’t be able to do that against the Wings, even if it wasn’t for much of the game.
Leino: I don’t think it lasted, but early in the game, I heard fans booing Leino. Which is stupid. He’s not worth it, particularly because the Wings’ separation from him wasn’t acrimonious.
Next: The Wings face off against a Stars team that lost to a tight game to the Blues last night. They’ve won just two of their last five and are third in the Pacific, but they’re 13-8-1 at home. So, the Wings need to replicate last night’s effort if they can.