Detroit at Minnesota (1/21/10)

The Red Wings and the Wild played tonight in Minnesota for their first meeting of the season. Jimmy Howard was back in net for the Wings and Josh Harding was in for the Wild. This was a very important game for the Wings to win in regulation since both teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot with the Wild trailing the Red Wings in the standings.

The Wings were looking good early in the game. They had a shorthanded breakaway with TWO quality chances. Harding stopped them both but it built some good momentum for the Wings.

In the first period Bertuzzi got in the way of a Wild pass and deflected it towards Datsyuk. As soon as he did that he took off to the other end. Datsyuk made a great pass up the middle to setup Bertuzzi on a breakaway. Bertuzzi fired a beauty and beat Harding for the early goal.

The Red Wings only allowed three shots in the first period. Detroit managed 11 shots on goal. It was definitely all Wings in the first period. They also out-chanced the Wild 5 to 1.

Niklas Backstrom came in to start the second period in place of Harding. There was a play in the first period where Harding seemed to be hurt. He stayed in at that point so I assumed he was fine but he may have been injured after all.

In the second period the puck hit the backboards behind Jimmy Howard and bounced over the net and back to the front. Earl was driving the net with Stuart right on him. The puck hit Earl and went in just as Stuart was riding him into the net and dislodging it. They spent several minutes reviewing it to see if Earl knocked it in with his hand or shoulder and to see if the net was on when the puck crossed the line. It was called a goal on the ice and ultimately that call was upheld. That tied the game at one each. Interestingly, one of the referees tonight was Mike Leggo. That’s the guy who decided from center ice the other night that Steve Ott’s shootout goal was in the net.

Early in the third period Helm was working hard in the corner and he came away with puck. He made a nice move and got it to the front of the net. He shot it but he was in really close and the puck just bounced back into the slot. Eaves was there and he banged it home to give the Wings the lead two to one.

Later in the third period Meech released a bomb from the point and Miller tipped it down and into the net. It was a sweet play and it gave the Wings a two goal lead for the first time in the game.

Later in the third Brodziak was falling down and he swept the puck through the slot towards the net. It bounced off Havlat’s skate and into the net bringing the Wild back to within a goal. The reviewed it to see if it was kicked in but it wasn’t.

Just a few seconds later a Hnidy shot from the blue line. The puck hit a Red Wing stick and bounced high in the air and dropped down in the slot. As soon as it landed Brunette ripped it. He took everyone by surprise and beat Howard tying the game at three.

The game stayed tied until the end of regulation so both teams got a point. Not what we really wanted but so be it.

In the overtime period Minnesota stepped it up. They outshot the Wings and spent most of the time in the Red Wings’ end. Jimmy Howard stayed hot though and the game went to a shootout.

Minnesota decided to shoot first. Their first shooter was Koivu.  He shot and Howard stayed with him and kicked it away. Datsyuk was up next. He went forehand to backhand and put it through Backstrom’s legs. Latendresse went next. He got in behind Howard but didn’t get it into the net. Then Zetterberg was up. He shot and Backstrom got it with his toe. Nolan went next for the Wild and scored to tie it up again. Bertuzzi came up next and Backstrom got it with his glove. Havlat came up and made some head fakes but Howard didn’t buy it and stopped him. Leino went next and tried to put it inside the post but Backstrom held his skate to it and didn’t budge. Burns was up next and he tried to wrap it around Howard but Howard got it. Cleary shot next and Backstrom stopped him. Miettinen was up next. It hit the post and it bounced out. Eaves came up and made a really nice head fake but his shot hit the crossbar. Zidlicky came in with speed, shot and beat Howard. It was up to Filppula to keep it going. He burned Backstrom to keep it tied. Belanger shot and Howard stopped him. It was Drew Miller with a chance to win it. He came up and ripped it by Backstrom giving the Wings the win and the extra point.

The Red Wings played very well in this game. A couple of bad bounces allowed the Wild to tie the game even though they had been pretty well dominated thoughout. It has to be frustrating for the Red Wings to not be earning points in line with how well they’ve been playing lately but at least tonight they got two. It would have been better not to give up the one to Minnesota but we’ll take it. As long as they keep playing well the points will come.

This 4-3 win brings us to:
58 points

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