Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Wings 6, Jackets 2

Wings win again in Columbus

(I apologize on the delay in getting this published. We had a power outage that lasted from immediately after the game until about 2:15 PM today and this is the first chance I've had to sit and get this down. )

Columbus played hard last night but it wasn't enough to hold off the Wings, who exploded in the second and third periods to notch their league-leading 9th win.

Manny Legace once again put in a strong effort for the Wings and went even further to cement his status as the team's #1 goalie. The Wings offense continued its torrid pace, taking advantage of the opportunities the Jackets presented them.

First Period

Mike Babcock started Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Johan Franzen with Nick Lidstrom and Andreas Lilja. The game began somewhat choppily, with an immediate offsides call and a Wings penalty just a few seconds later (Andreas Lilja for holding). The Blue Jackets had a very inept power play opportunity and the Wings killed it off easily. The Wings had a good, energetic start but it faded out a bit as the period went on.

At 3:00, the Wings got a power play of their own and though two separate units generated solid pressure, they were unable to get the puck past Marc Denis. The Blue Jackets followed this up with some good chances of their own. At this point, they were the more energetic team and it was obvious Gerard Gallant had motivated his players well. By mid-period, shots were 5-5, when they had been 4-0 Detroit before the Wings' power play.

At 10:14, Jiri Fischer went to the box for hooking and the Jackets went to the power play. They promptly scored the first goal of the game, directly off the face-off (10:18). Chris Chelios and his man probably screened Manny, who let in Bryan Berard's shot from the point. 1-0 Columbus.

Less than a minute later, the Wings again went on the power play but they were unable to convert.

It wasn't until 16:37 that the Wings finally got on the scoreboard. Chelios took a shot from the point and missed to Denis left. The puck did what I'll call a "V-bounce" off the back boards and came out front to Denis' left, where Brendan Shanahan was waiting. He didn't get the best shot off since he was going the opposite direction (towards the endboards) but the puck went under Denis' right leg and hit his left, which deflected it into the net. 1-1.

The rest of the period was pretty much back-and-forth hockey, with the Wings looking to have recovered from the lethargy that seemed to plague them from their first power play through Shanny's goal.

Shots in the period were 14-12 Wings.

Second Period

Jiri Fischer took another penalty in the first minute of the period but the Wings killed off the ensuing power play for the Jackets. After the penalty expired, the Wings generated some pressure in the Columbus zone, enough to cause the Blue Jackets to ice the puck three times in about two minutes. Nothing came from it, however.

Shanahan went to the box for interference at 3:40 and the Wings went back on the penalty kill. Nikolai Zherdev had a great chance on Manny but wasn't able to convert. At 4:19, Chelios got an interference penalty of his own and the Wings faced a 5-on-3 penalty kill for about 1:21.

The Blue Jackets called a time-out in order to rest their best players for the effort and it helped. They pinned the Wings deep in their own zone and forced Manny to make some good saves. In the process of killing the penalty, Mathieu Schneider got a cross-checking penalty but play was not stopped until the Wings touched. With the delayed penalty, the Blue Jackets had six players on the ice after pulling their goalie but they couldn't get the puck past Legace. The 5-on-3 opportunity was extended by Schneider's penalty but, again, they could not score. When Shanahan returned to the ice and it became a regular power play, the Jackets got a penalty themselves, making it 4-on-4 for about 20 seconds. Finally, the Wings got a power play chance of their own and they capitalized. Pavel Datsyuk made it 2-1 when he knocked in his own rebound out of the air after taking a pass from Jason Williams.

At 7:20, the Blue Jackets were called for tripping and the Wings again went on the power play. They got set up well and Mikael Samuelsson had a good chance but they did not score until the second unit came out. Pavel Datsyuk, scoring just 1:30 after his last goal, made it 3-1 at 9:08. This time, Andreas Lilja (Correction: it was Jiri Fischer, not Lilja) took a shot from the point and Denis made the save. However, he may have been stunned by the shot, which hit him up high. He went down as though the puck was underneath him and he was waiting for the whistle. The puck had actually bounced off Denis and hit Datsyuk in the chest before falling at his feet. Pavel quickly snapped it into the open net, giving the Wings a two-goal lead.

At 11:38, Trevor Letowski made it 3-2 off a nice feed from Todd Marchant, who centered it after a battle in the corner. Schneider couldn't get to the wide-open Letowski in time and Legace was left helpless. Easy goal for Columbus.

At 14:00, there was a race for the puck between Andreas Lilja and Steven Goertzen to see whether icing would be called or negated. Lilja got to the puck first but Goertzen was too close behind him to stop without crunching into the boards. He hit Lilja, who went into the boards very awkwardly, twisting his knee in the process. He immediately rolled over, clutching his left knee and he had to be helped off the ice. The refs assessed a five-minute major boarding penalty for the play and the Wings went again to the power play.

The Wings got a good initial setup but it was not sustained for very long. On their next try, Brendan Shanahan took the puck over the line and before he got to the top of the circle, he let off a slap shot that beat Denis just under the crossbar and made it 4-2. The power play continued and at 17:25, Adam Foote went off for hooking and the Wings got 5-on-3 for 1:13. The Wings put on a passing clinic before ending on Schneider, who sent a rocket past Denis to make it 5-2. Columbus had no chance on that power play and Foote should be kicking himself (ha ha) for taking a penalty in that situation. I'm not complaining though! The rest of Foote's penalty was squandered, however, and the Wings even had to defend against a strong Jackets chance on a two-on-one that resulted in a blocked pass.

Columbus finished the period with as strong effort. Shots were 14-11.

Third Period

Andreas Lilja, making a return after that injury scare, got himself a penalty less than a minute into the period and put the Jackets back on the power play. The Wings killed it off and had a chance by Kris Draper, who had a near-breakaway after blocking a shot. He got a shot off in close on Denis but didn't score.

The Wings went on the power play themselves at 3:16 but were pretty inept and didn't get anything going. Letowski had a good chance shorthanded but Manny was there to make the save. They got another power play at 7:03 but gave up a great shorthanded chance to Marchant, who went in on Legace and lost an edge as he approached the net. His skate toe hit Manny in the chin and scared the heck out of all Detroit fans who were watching. Legace lay on the ice for a while but finally got up and seemed to be okay. The rest of the Wings' power play was ineffectual.

The game starred to get more chippy and there appears to have been some sort of fight/scrum at about 11:13 or so but it wasn't shown on the TV coverage due to a very ill-timed commercial break. We were brought back to the game to find that it was a four-on-four situation but weren't given any explanation. Anyway, Henrik Zetterberg made it 6-2 at 11:52 after a nice personal effort through center and in on Denis. He split the defense and deked Denis just enough to get a backhand shot past him. Good goal.

The Wings and Jackets each got one more power play before the end but nothing of note happened.

Shots in the period were 10-9 Columbus and 37-33 Wings for the game.


... OLN coverage sucks. There was a black screen for about 5 minutes before the game and terriblely inbalanced audio for much of the first period. The on-ice sound was much too loud and the commentary much too quiet. I could barely hear the announcers, despite having the volume embarrassingly loud in a public lounge/study room. Things got better as the game went on but I still didn't listen as much as I would have during a FSN broadcast. The cameras were a bit snappy and I noticed them zooming in too much on individual players so that the rest of the play could not be seen. One thing I did like was the rarity of commercials, though it wasn't too exciting to watch the players stand around during the breaks. .... Shanahan hurt his hand in the first period after being taken into the boards by a Columbus player but it didn't seem to interfere with his play for the rest of the game. ... Manny Legace won Defensive Player of the Week Monday .... The Wings' 9-1 start is their best ever ...

A good win for the Wings. They demonstrated that they can stay focused, even on weak opponents and didn't allow themselves to become too complacent. Next, they face Chicago at home, Thursday night at 7:30 ET.


At 10/26/2005 07:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction it was Fischer who took the shot that stunned Denis and that Datsyuk scored on. Not Lilja.

At 10/26/2005 09:33:00 AM, Blogger Matt Saler said...

Correction made. Thank you.

At 10/26/2005 02:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad Datsyuk is finally starting to produce some good numbers. He continues to be one of the most impressive players in the league, altough he seems a bit slower this year than last (understandable due to the lockout though.) His goals this game were nice.


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