|Drew Miller(1) from Patrick Eaves(1)|
|Niklas Kronwall(3) from Jiri Hudler(4), Justin Abdelkader(2)|
|Valtteri Filppula(3) from Henrik Zetterberg(3), Johan Franzen(6)|
|Nikolai Khabibulin: 27/30, .900SV%, 3.00GAA|
|Jimmy Howard: 24/24, 1.000SV%, 0.00GAA, Shutout|
I was excited to watch this game as I was very curious to see which Detroit team was on the ice – the strong, veteran-laden team or the lost, lazy one. Luckily it seems that the latter team has gone away, at least for the moment, and the Wings are back to playing how we would expect them to. And the timing is good as they played an Edmonton team that has far, yes far, surpassed expectations so far this season largely thanks to the play of the Bulin wall. Considering a Red hot goalie and the Wings recent offensive struggles tends to make me nervous going in to a game.
Luckily that concern was for naught. The Wings hit the ice and just completely shut down the Errlers from the get go. A lot of talk coming into the game was the spectacular play of super-rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but he was almost a complete non-factor in the game. RNH was able to create what could have been a scoring chance but at every turn a Wings defenseman was there to take it away. RNH was not alone, Edmonton’s offense was denied time after time by solid defense and an outstanding performance by Jimmy Howard.
I still don’t like him fundamentally as a player, but Johan Franzen looked good. He was still pretty lazy, but he kept putting himself in the heat of the action and made some nice plays (the pass to break Z and setup Fil was a dandy)
Was nice to see Drew Miller get some time with Datsyuk to end the game. He certainly earned it tonight.
3rd line was the best line of the game. Every shift they just dominated the Errlers in every aspect of the game.
I think I might be ready to admit I was wrong with my Filppula prediction. I closely watch him every time I see he’s on the ice because I was to see him taking the steps needed to become a more impactful player. It’s becoming pretty clear that he lacks the right mentality to to take that step. He is so unselfish that it is holding him back. Every time the puck hits his stick it seems like something in his head just clicks and he feels a need to get rid of it. When you look at the guys that would be considered “impactful”, like Hossa, Kovalchuk, Ovy, Crosby, etc, they want the puck on their stick. They have moments where they just go “I got this” and take a game over. I honestly think Fil’s skill set on that level but that mental block is going to keep him from ever taking that step.
And that makes me incredibly sad.