Too Close: This one ended up too close for comfort. The Wings owned the first period, but thanks to 4-5 monster saves by Kari Lehtonen, they only made it to 3-1 after twenty. Then it was a matter of having a two-goal lead halved and extending it back again, only to have it halved again. Then it was 5-4 with just under six left in the game. Uncool.
Zetterberg’s Line: What a first period, eh? They looked completely unstoppable, with Zetterberg leading as playmaker, Filppula doing some playmaking of his own and Hudler benefitting twice from their largesse. Fil in particular had a certain intensity that is awesome to see. Hudler’s a strong complement to the work of the other two and they all seem to have a great sense of what areas of the ice to head toward to maximize the scoring chance. They tapered off a bit as the game went on, but this was their night.
Datsyuk’s Line: Less impressive. A lot of times where the Wings were pinned, however briefly, seemed to be when this unit was out. At least in the first half of the game. They generated some scoring chances throughout the night, and had a strong third period, but they weren’t as good as you’d expect.
Side Note: I’m falling into referring to the four lines as: Pavel’s line, Z’s line, the third line, and the fourth line. The first two don’t get numbers. Even 1A & 1B is assigning rank, when on a given night either line could take over. I like that.
Third Line: I thought Dan Cleary had a really strong night. He was creating most of the chances for this unit through his own hard work and though he had nothing to show for it (his stats line is a bunch of zeros) I liked his game.
Fourth Line: Nyquist is going to be a player in this League, as they say. He already looks like he could hold his own. He’s the glue that holds that line of rookies together with his speed, sense at both ends of the ice and hard work. He’ll be the last one sent down, and I hope this time in Detroit will set him up for a big finish for the Griffins.
Commodore: Still looking okay, though at one point in the game a puck coming off his stick nearly got past Jimmy Howard. I’m not sure if it was redirected or what, but he needs to be more careful about cross-crease passes.
One Penalty: I don’t know if the refs were overloaded with administrative tasks once linesman Steve Miller went down with a possible concussion, but they really did not do their jobs in this one. A super chintzy call on Bertuzzi gets made in the first minute and then they swallow their whistles for the remaining 59:15 of play? Both teams got away with crap throughout the game. I’m not saying I wanted a penalty-fest, but no hockey game is that clean.
Steve Ott and Bertuzzi: Kudos to Todd Bertuzzi for standing up for Pavel Datsyuk, who Steve Ott had the gall to hit into the bench in the waning moments of the game. Bertuzzi’s method, pushing Ott through the bench door, was hilarious and approved. Normally, I’m all for the Wings making guys pay with goals, but that kind ofÂ vengeanceÂ I can take, especially on a guy like Ott.
Next: The Wings are in Toronto on Saturday at 7:00. Which really sucks. Because the Lions are playing in their first playoff game since 1999 that night. Ever since I heard the NFL Playoff schedule for the first round, I thought, “the Wings play that night, right? Meh, Lions playoff football > Regular Season Game #40. Â Hockeytown or not, I’m watching the Lions,” without it dawning on me that the Wings are playing the Leafs. That changes the equation.
I’m going to have to consider this matter.