Well, thanks for a friend of mine, Dan of Detroit Sports
, I got to go to my third Red Wings game this season and got to watch them win for the third time live. This time, though, it wasn't the dregs of the NHL, the Blues or Blue Jackets. This time, it was the league-leading Philadelphia Flyers.
And unlike the other two games, I was sitting one row from the top, with my view obstructed by a long line of heads in front of me. So I stood most of the game but that just meant I was ready beforehand to celebrate all the goals. Because I was standing, I didn't take notes so this won't be so much a summary of events as of impressions.
The story of the game was the Shanahan-Datsyuk-Zetterberg line, which accounted for four Red Wings goals and 12 points (four each). These three were especially potent in the third period, when they lit the lamp three times in 10 minutes. They were magic together
and you could sense the change in the atmosphere of JLA when they were on the ice. I was really hoping for a hat trick from either Pavel or Hank but didn't get it. Don't expect that line to be around long, though, because it's hard for the Wings to spread the wealth offensively with such a high concentration of talent on one line, as A2Y points out
Steve Yzerman notched his 1,050th assist on Robert Lang's third period goal. It came on a 2-on-1 in which The Captain exacted revenge on a borderline dirty hit Sami Kapanen laid on him as he was leaving the ice. Yzerman came back on his next shift and, after he laid a big hit on Randy Jones along the boards, he was sprung on the 2-on-1 and made a great pass to Lang, who scored an easy goal. The goal came so close after Henrik Zetterberg's second that Budd Lynch had to announce them at the same time. When he informed the crowd that the assist put Yzerman one ahead of Gordie Howe on the all-time list, everyone in the Joe stood up and gave The Captain their congratulations. To make it even more special, Mr. Hockey himself was in attendance.
More on Robert Lang. He was pretty useless the whole night and continues to be unimpressive. If he hadn't scored on that 2-on-1, I would have jumped the glass and torn his head off. I don't know what's wrong with the guy but he rarely seems to put in any kind of special effort. Maybe that goal will jumpstart him. I hope so. Am I alone in my assessment of the guy?
One guy who had a great night, though he did not get on the scoreboard, was Mikael Samuelsson. He was involved in the play every time he was on the ice, both offensively and defensively. The puck seemed to heading his way constantly and I really thought it was too bad he did not score.
Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Johan Franzen did a great job of shutting down Peter Forsberg, who seemed hardly noticeable for once. They didn't do such a great job of shutting down Simon Gagne, however. He scored his 30th and 31st goals last night and kept it interesting until the Wings pulled away with their 5th and 6th goals.
I went with a friend who had never been to a game and had really never watched hockey before. She came away not really knowing how to describe it (unusual for an English major, huh?) but did say it was "fast." Yes, it was fast. I like the quote A2Y found
from Flyers center Jeff Carter: "It was definitely the fastest game I've been in." Fast because of the skating speed and fast because of the suddennesss of the goals. The third period was wild and one of the most enjoyable periods of hockey I've seen in a while.
Last night, we saw the Red Wings that can make a strong run for the Cup. The goaltending was a little shaky but as mLive's Ansar Khan points out in his new blog today, it's too early to second-guess Legace
. The skaters played very well as a whole and will need to play like that if they want to accomplish anything significant this season. Whether they will is the question.
Next up, we have the Rangers. It's the first game the Wings will play on NBC this season and starts at 2:00 ET on Saturday.
*compiled by Brian