Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (SO) Minnesota Wild
The Wild gave up the first goal in the 12th game in their last 13, and didn't score in the first period yet again, though they came out of the chute in the second period, and scored two nice power play goals to take a 2-1 lead. At :35 of the second period, it was Owen Nolan doing what he was brought in to do, deflected a shot from the point, then knocked home his own rebound. 16 seconds later, Antti Miettinen finally got back on the scoresheet with a nice goal off a turnover. From that point on, the Wild played great defensive hockey, turning away every Detroit flurry.
Smart play was the theme of the night for Minnesota. The Wild went until 11:48 of the third without taking a penalty (and against the Red Wings, that's a key to victory). Stephane Veilleux was whistled for a weak highsticking call, but the Wild were able to withstand that power play, until Josh Harding slashed Tomas Holmstrom for parking in his crease as time expired on the Veilleux minor. Andrew Brunette went off to serve the Harding slash, then all hell broke loose. Johan Franzen got away with dumping Veilleux in the low slot, .stood in the crease (should have been a whistle there), and batted in a puck that deflected off the back wall. The puck was at least 6" over the crossbar when Franzen knocked it in. The shaft of Franzen's stick was about even with the crossbar, but he played it with the blade, and the puck came in at such a downward angle that the on-ice official waved it off immediately and vociferously.
The on-ice crew was getting ready to set up the faceoff outside the Wild zone, when the call came in from the replay team in Toronto. They wanted another look at it. The crowd was stunned. The announcing team was stunned. I was shocked. It was clear that the puck was played with a high stick. It was clearly visible on the replay that the puck went in from well above the crossbar, but as the replay team took longer and longer to make a decision, you knew this call was going the way of the NHL darling Red Wings. Apparently the bailout of the industry in Detroit isn't good enough, we need to bail out their hockey team as well.
After the call on the ice was overturned (and remember, since it was called no-goal on the ice, it had to be conclusive that it was a goal, and this was conclusive that it was NOT a goal), the Wild lost the jump in their step. I was assuming that Detroit would put it at least one more and end this in regulation. However, the Wild stood up to the Red Wings onslaught, and Chris Osgood made another great save to keep Nolan off the scoresheet again and we were heading to the shootout.
In the shootout, the Wild had no chance. Krys Kolanos tried to power it through Osgood, and failed. Pavel Datsyuk made a brilliant move and scored on Harding easily. Brent Burns then made an epic fail and barely got a shot off. Harding then made a great play on Henrik Zetterberg and poke-checked the puck away. It was now up to Captain Koivu, who tried to go for his backhand, top-shelf move and Osgood read it perfectly, deflecting it harmlessly to the corner as Detroit celebrated the gift of the 2 points from Toronto.
Jacques Lemaire should be pissed. Mikko Koivu should be pissed. Hell, everyone should be pissed. I hate to blame the refs for anything, and here you can't blame the on-ice crew, as they made the right call, but the NHL in Toronto decided that the Red Wings couldn't be beaten tonight, and robbed the Wild of two deserved points.
Anyway, I'm not happy, nor is the Team of 18,000. And frankly, we shouldn't be. This is not a small market team. This is not a team that can afford to miss the playoffs. We're getting restless here Doug, Jacques and Craig. Do something. Say something. We're waiting!
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- NHL Replay Crew
- Josh Harding (37 shots, 35 saves*)
Chris Osgood (35 shots, 33 saves)
Questions to Answer
- Will the return of the C to Mikko Koivu's sweater matter at all? Who knows, but it's definitely Mikko's team. Nice to see Owen Nolan get the A.
- Does Marian Gaborik's injury situation being identified help the team move on and get past it? Well, if moving on means locking down, playing a good defensive game, smart play (no penalties until the 11:48 mark of the third, and Veilleux's penalty was a bad call), and looking good in transition, then yes. However, they still can't score (and looked beyond horrible in the shootout.)
- Can they build on a nice showing against San Jose and get the new month started on the right foot? Yeah, they played the exact same kind of game against Detroit that they did against San Jose, yet the powers that be in Toronto screwed em.
- Do Lidstrom and Chelios play a bigger role in today's game than they did in the Winter Classic? Lidstrom had 28:21 in TOI, added an assist and was a +1. Great game from the ageless Swede. Chelios was a late scratch.
- With Gaborik going out, is there any way they can make a move? I hope they can do something, because this team needs scoring help (which is no different than any other year).
- Brent Burns played a rock solid 33:33 tonight with 1 assist.
- Nolan’s goal was his 144th career power-play tally, tied for eighth among active players with Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour.
- The Red Wings have only been outshot three times this season. Yet the Wild held a 33-31 advantage in that category heading into overtime before the Wings finished the game ahead 37-35.
The Game In Pictures
Jacques Lemaire Press Conference