Minnesota at Detroit (3/26/10)

The Minnesota Wild came to Detroit tonight to play the Red Wings. The only lineup change for the Wings was the return of Patrick Eaves after missing three games. That’s good news for him but not so good for Meech who had to sit. Josh Harding was in net for the Wild and Jimmy Howard was the man for the Wings. Tonight was also Jimmy Howard’s 26th birthday so happy birthday to him!

The Red Wings got off to a great start with a really strong first shift that drew an early penalty. The Wild killed it off but the Wings had some sustained pressure.

Shortly afterwards at the Red Wings’ end the puck slid right across the goal line and the referee called it a goal. It did not completely cross the line though so after a review it was disallowed.

The first period ended pretty uneventfully. The Red Wings were outshooting the Wild 13 to 9 but they weren’t able to get one by Josh Harding. The Red Wings had three power plays but were thwarted each time.

Early in the second period Franzen got the puck after a faceoff win. He made a nice move and put the puck around Harding and into the net to give the Wings the one to nothing lead.

A few minutes later the Red Wings were on the power play. Lidstrom fired from the point intentionally wide of the net to set up Holmstrom. He tipped it perfectly and scored the 100th power play goal of his career. That’s quite a milestone! That goal made it two to nothing Detroit.

Later in the second period the Wings were on the penalty kill and were called for too many men on the ice. That gave the Wild a 5 on 3 power play. Detroit killed off the first penalty and then started pressuring offensively even though they were still a man short. Lidstrom fired the puck from the blue line. Ericsson was in front the net and swatted at the puck as it went by. Ericsson tipped it and it got by Harding. It was a shorthanded goal and it made it three to nothing Wings.

Then the Red Wings really caught fire. It was just 1:20 after the Ericsson goal when Datsyuk threw the puck to the front of the net from the corner. It hit the skate of a Minnesota player and bounced right in. The puck luck was certainly with the Wings tonight!

With a little over three minutes left in the period the Wild had a power play. Zidlicky shot down the slot from the blue line with a bunch of traffic in front of the net. Howard couldn’t see the puck. He got a piece of it but it dropped down behind him and Brunette whacked it into the net making it four to one.

Dan Cleary left the game in the second period after apparently re-aggravating a groin injury. That’s not good news. Hopefully, it won’t be long term.

Backstrom came in to start the third period in relief of Josh Harding. It looked like Harding just wasn’t feeling it tonight but they later announced that he had left the game injured.

Early in the third period Nolan shot the puck at the Red Wings’ net. It was a bouncing puck. Howard was trying to direct it away but instead it bounced right over his stick and went in the net bringing the Wild to within two.

Then the Red Wings had another power play when Schultz was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. On the power play Holmstrom passed it from behind the net to Franzen in front. It hit Franzen in the skate and bounced into the net. Franzen had his second goal of the night and the Wings had the three goal lead back.

Then, right off a face off win, Miller took the puck into the Wild’s zone and shot from about the faceoff dot. It hit Zidlicky in front and went in the net making it six to two.

From then on the Red Wings just coasted to the win. They had a few good scoring chances especially during a 5 on 3 power play in the final two minutes, but no additional goals were scored.

The Wings look like a team that’s really come together. They’re all playing well and seem to have a real sense of urgency. The best thing is the consistency. They’re playing solid hockey from start to finish night after night.

Next they face the Predators in Nashville tomorrow night. Let’s hope they can keep this roll going and pull ahead of the Predators for fifth place.

This 2-6 win brings us to:
89 points

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