Saturday, December 27, 2003

Wings tie Wild 2-2

The Wings' home winning streak was snapped at 8 games, and the Wild extended their unbeaten streak to seven games in the 2-2 tie tonight at Joe Lewis Arena. Henrik Zettterberg and Kris Draper got the goals for the Wings, and Marian Gaborik and Wes Walz notched the Wilds' goals. With 15 seconds left in the second, Gaborik got the first goal of the game on a breakaway, pulling ahead of Lidstrom (fair to say burning him) and putting the puck through Joseph's pads, the puck trickling through and barely crossing the line. Two minutes into the third, Zetterberg got the equalizer on a pass along the boards that was tipped in by the Wilds' Sergei Zholtok, earning him the Paul Coffey Gaffe of the Game Award (in reference to Paul Coffey's attempted pass to behind the Wings net that ended up in our net). Niklas Kronvall was credited with the assist on the play that tied the game at one apiece. Wes Walz scored five minutes later on a neat play where Willie Mitchell sent a pass-shot to Walz who snuck in on the back door, unmolested by the Wings defense, and stuffed it into the wide open net. Truly a weak defensive effort by the Wings. But Kris Draper earned the Hustle Award of the Game when he blocked a Willie Mitchell pass with his shins in the Wild zone, knocked Mitchell to the ice, then blasted the puck into the net for his 14th of this season, just one goal away from a career best 15 goals scored in the 2001-2002 season. The Draper goal was unassisted, if it's not obvious enough from the fact that he single-handedly stole the puck and buried it. The game was then tied at 2-2, and went to overtime. The Wings got a silly too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty with 1:42 remaining in OT, and held on for the 2-2 tie. The Blues tied the Avs 3-3 tonight too, so the Wings failed to widen their division lead and remain four points up on the Blues. One major disappointment from the game was the play of Nick Lidstrom, as he ended up the trailing man on two Wild breakaways, and allowed the breaking man to shoot, and, in one instance, score. Then Jason Woolley missed a wide open net on a rebound off Roloson. So Lidstrom and Woolley shall share the Goat of the Game Award. I'm not going to continue with any more awards, because it's starting to get silly, but Brett Hull certainly was deserving of an award to acknowledge his invisibility on the ice. He really didn't get a clean shot on Roloson all night, and, when Datsyuk or Draper gave him a decent pass, Hullie was often not ready to shoot, or (gasp) not in position to get off his trademark cannon shot. He was pretty nonexistant out there, and I'm wondering whether he's injured or something, because he's been off his game the past week. Joseph played well tonight, but was also lucky, as he was actually beaten four times but the post stopped the other two shots, one shot hitting the post and going behind Joseph along the goal-line and the other hitting the crossbar with the game on the line. Roloson was solid for the Wild, making 38 saves on 40 shots. The Wings ended the game with 40 shots to the Wilds' 24. The Wings' strongest period was the third, notching two goals on 19 shots. The Wings only got one powerplay on the night, but failed to convert. Greg Kimmerly and Dan Marouelli were the referees tonight, and didn't call the game very well, in my opinion, as the Wild really bulldozed some Wings players over in front of the net and got off scott free. A lot of interference went uncalled, for both team might I add. Also, Niklas Kronvall had a strong game for the Wings, assisting on the goofie Zetterberg goal. He was even out on the ice in the last minute of regulation, with an important point on the line. This truly reflects Coach Dave Lewis' confidence in Kronvall, giving him such important ice time. The Wings' next game is Sunday at 7:00 EST in Chicago.


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