Thursday, November 10, 2005

Wings 5, Kings 4 (OT)

The Wings got back on track at the Joe tonight, after dropping games to Edmonton and Phoenix in their last two home games. It wasn't a pretty win, however. They didn't do a very good job of protecting their leads and let the Kings stay in it all the way to the end.

Tomas Holmstrom continued his scoring tear and Manny Legace made his return to the net. He looked somewhat shaky and didn't inspire a lot of confidence but that's to be expected, coming off an injury like that.

First Period

Brendan Shanahan, Jason Williams, Robert Lang, Jiri Fischer and Mathieu Schneider started the game for the Wings. Babcock's second line was Dan Cleary, Kris Draper, and Steve Yzerman, a variation on the new yet-to-be-renamed Grind Line. Kirk Maltby ended up playing with Johan Franzen and Mikael Samuelsson. A little bit of line mixing by the Wings' new coach. It seemed to work out alright.

The Kings got a couple close-in chances a couple minutes in but Manny kept the puck out of the net, though he looked a little sloppy doing it.

At 2:58, Schneider went to the box for hooking. The Kings set up quickly and soon opened the evening's scoring when Mike Cammalleri made it 1-0 Kings. It was a good shot by the young player, who used Chris Chelios as a screen and so caught Manny by surprise.

About a minute later, Sean Avery had a glorious scoring chance when he took a pass off a 2-on-1 but Legace the save at the far post. Avery headed back to the bench shaking his head, knowing he should have scored. FSN showed a graphic not long after that chance showing the shot differential in the period to that point: 6-0 Kings. LA was noticeably quicker and had the Wings playing catch up all over the ice.

At 6:15, the Wings went on the power play but got very little going and the Kings killed it off easily. Immediately after it expired, however, a nice effort by Dan Cleary at the blue line on the far side got the puck in the offensive zone once again. It ended up on Schneider's stick at the near boards. He centered it to Steve Yzerman, who was just coming off the bench and was skating between the circles. Yzerman redirected the pass into the net and got his first goal of the season, tying the game at one.

At 10:58, Datsyuk had a great chance all alone in front but he was hooked on the play and sent the puck wide. The Wings went on the power play as a result and though they got a couple good set-ups, they were unable to convert. As the power play expired, Holmstrom was called for hooking and the Kings went on their own power play. The Wings killed it off easily.

At 18:07, Sean Avery got the jump on the Wings defense and nearly had a full breakaway on Legace. Lebda stuck with him, however, and though Avery got off a good shot, he was probably thrown off by the Wings defenseman on his back. Lebda was called for holding on the play, however, and the Wings went on the penalty kill once again.

The Kings had some good chances on this power play, including one where Jeremy Roenick cut across the net and just couldn't finish, but they were unable to get the puck past Legace before the period ended.

Shots were 16-11 Kings.

Second Period

The Kings started the period on the power play but it was too short to do much. The early stage of the period was just back-and-forth play, though Franzen's line had good pressure leading up to the 4-minute mark.

At 5:01, the Kings got a full-blown 3-on-1 chance that resulted in another Legace save. Sean Avery, on the near side boards, sent the puck to Dustin Brown, on the far side, who instead of sending it back to the middle, took a shot. Not very well executed, really, but I'm not complaining.

About four minutes later, Mike Cammalleri had another great chance on Legace but this time he did not convert, as Manny made the save with his right pad. This came at the end of some solid Kings pressure.

The Wings controlled things after that past mid-period, with chances from players such as Lang, who got a shot off within 5 feet of LaBarbera but had nowhere to put the puck.

The Wings went back on the penalty kill at 11:24. Not long afterwards, they scored short-handed and made it 2-1. Johan Franzen had the puck in the Kings zone and dished it off to Cleary at the near boards. He then skated to the net and received a great centering pass from Cleary as he got there. He redirected this pass into the net and the Wings took the lead at 12:34. The Kings, who were still on the power play, got a penalty of their own a little over a minute later and the teams went to four aside for 20 seconds or so. When they went on the power play, the Wings got a good setup going and were cycling the puck nicely until Schneider flubbed a pass at the blue line and it was cleared. They didn't get anything going after that and it was killed off by LA.

Detroit followed their power play up with some more pressure and it resulted in another LA penalty at 15:27. They got a good initial set up and fired off some shots but Robert Lang took a penalty at 16:54 and their power play was cut short. Both the ensuing stretch of 4-on-4 play and the following Kings power play were relatively uneventful, though Craig Conroy had a good chance immediately following the LA man-advantage, which was followed in turn by a good cross-net chance by Henrik Zetterberg.

Shots were 13-12 Kings.

Third Period

The Wings came out for the third period and scored immediately (:16). It was a very strange goal, to be sure. Holmstrom got a hold of the puck, which was bouncing behind the net close to the far post and knocked it in LaBarbera's direction. The Kings goalie fumbled the puck and it ended up just barely going over the line. He tried to pull it out but by then the red light was on and the Wings' goal horn was blaring. 3-1 Wings.

Draper was called for hooking at 1:49 and the Wings killed off the ensuing Kings power play. However, the Kings came within one not long after, with a goal by Roenick. He had all kinds of room to take a shot from the point and it sailed past Legace, without being tipped, to make it 3-2 at 4:15.

At 5:12, Robert Lang nearly had his head taken off by Brown, who laid a very good hit on him just inside the blue line. Lang had his head down and is lucky he didn't get a concussion on the play. It won Hit of the Game, needless to say.

The Wings again controlled play near mid-period. Jason Williams sent the puck to a streaking Brendan Shanahan at about 9:33 but the puck was bouncing too much for Shanny to get a handle on it and he missed it at the blue line. It would have been a great scoring chance but it was not to be, apparently.

The next few minutes is describe as "stalemated" in my notes.

Then, at 13:19, Holmstrom scored his second of the night in rather sudden fashion. He had given the puck to Datsyuk at the near boards and then headed to the net. Pavel sent him the obvious centering pass and Homer promptly redirected it into the net to put the Wings ahead 4-2.

Almost immediately after the Holmstrom goal, the Kings answered. Pavol Demitra, who had been almost invisible the whole night, took a shot off the near wing and Manny's rebound went right to Conroy, who flipped it over the Wings goalie, who was frozen and over committed by then, and into the net to make it 4-3 at 13:44.

The Wings generated some good pressure with their Williams-Lang-Shanahan line in the following minute or so but they still ended up allowing another Kings goal. I didn't see all of the play develop (caught me looking down at my notes again) but I did see Legace over-commit on a poke-check attempt and put himself way out of position. That made it easy for Frolov to tie it up at 16:12.

The rest of the period was played fairly conservatively by both teams.

The Wings had a bit of a chance brewing as the clock was winding down but Yzerman went offsides with 2.6 seconds left and there was a faceoff that was purely ceremonial.

Shots were 14-12 Wings.


The extra period was mostly controlled by the Wings. Their first unit, which included Zetterberg and Datsyuk, had a couple great chances but couldn't score.

Lang ended it less than two minutes into it, however, knocking in a rebound from Lilja's close-in shot. Lidstrom's point blast had gone off the backboards and bounced to Lilja next to the net and his shot rebounded to Lang who had an easy time of it putting it into the far side of the net. Wings win 5-4 and escape the shoot-out once again.

Shots in OT were 2-0 Wings and for the game, 41-39 Kings.


... Ken Daniels had a very funny interview with Jeremy Roenick before the game. It included the Quote of the Game: "I hear you're quite the metrosexual, by the way." (Daniels to Roenick) JR responded by putting his arm around Daniels (who suddenly looked very uncomfortable) and gave some excuse about his wife wanting to counter his tough-guy hockey player persona. JR kept his arm around Daniels for the rest of the interview, prompting Ken to ask himself where he was going with that line of questioning (I dunno, Ken, where were you going? Pretty random). At the end, Ken returned the favor by putting his arm around JR and the last thing we saw before the screen switched as JR patting Daniels on the face. I found it pretty hilarious and I would love to have a video of it. Definitely not your typical hockey player interview. ... The Wings have outscored their opponents 25-9 in the first period so far this season ... They have beaten the Kings 8 straight times now ... Brett Lebda did play after all and didn't make any glaring mistakes so I'd say it was a successful night ... With his assist on Holmstrom's second goal, Datsyuk extended his point streak to 10 games. He has 17 points over that stretch ... Holmstrom is on fire. He has 7 goals in the last four games ... Johan Franzen seems to like scoring on LA: he had the game winner versus the Kings on the 13th of October ... I don't know if Sean Avery is really that good but he seems to at least step it up against his old club. His name was said time and time again by Daniels tonight and he seemed to be in on practically every Kings offensive chance (I exaggerate but it seemed an inordinate number for a "thug") ... Today was Ken Holland's birthday. Happy 50th to the best GM in hockey! ... Both teams gave up the most shots either has allowed all season tonight ... Two of JR's four regulation goals have come against the Wings this season ...

The Wings did a passable job of keeping up with a fast-skating LA team tonight. They were able to take advantage of superior offensive ability to pull off the win but they will need to be better defensively if they want to keep up their winning ways. The Wild will not be an easy game on Friday night. Babcock will have a lot to say about their performance tonight, I'm sure.


At 11/09/2005 11:34:00 PM, Blogger Christy Hammond said...

The Wings looked really sloppy towards the end of the third period - I was so scared.

And yes, that was probably one of the best hockey interviews. I was cracking up. Daniels looked so awkward- it was great!


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